Genes and the Bioimaginary: Science, Spectacle, Culture by Deborah Lynn Steinberg

By Deborah Lynn Steinberg

Genes and the Bioimaginary examines the dramatic upward push and modern cultural apotheosis of 'the gene'. The e-book lines not just the genetification of contemporary lifestyles yet can be a trip during the complicated dating among technology and tradition. on the middle of this e-book are 3 interlinked questions. the 1st issues the paradigmatic ameliorations of the 'genetics revolution': how will we comprehend the effect of 'genes' on social arenas as varied as legislations and agriculture, politics and drugs, family tree and jurisprudence? moment, how has the language of genes come to pervade public discourse - as a lot a trope of non-public narrative as of the preferred imaginary? And 3rd, how will we achieve severe buy not just at the stipulations and outcomes of a selected technological know-how, yet on its projective seductions, the phrases of its persuasion, and the dilemmas and anxieties provoked in its wake? via a chain of illuminating case stories starting from 'gay genes' to 'Jew's genes', to genes for 'crime'; from CSI to the Innocence venture, from genetics' (post)racial imaginary to its phantasies of redemption, the e-book examines the emergence of the gene as a pre-eminent locus of either clinical and social clarification, and as a strong item of spectacle, projective phantasy and attachment. Genes and the Bioimaginary makes a particular contribution to our knowing of ways wisdom involves be not just strong, yet believable.

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Extra info for Genes and the Bioimaginary: Science, Spectacle, Culture

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23) The ‘genetics report card’ story both leads off and encapsulates Kitcher’s utopian imaginings of a world where genetics is the centre-point around which social life is to be rationally re-ordered. As this excerpt suggests, there are a number of key assumptions underpinning the diagnostic logic of a world defined by genetic testing. First is the unilateral investment in scientific expertise, whose assumptions can be summarised in a neat narrative arc: genetic science produces accurate facts; doctors explain these facts to patients, who are in turn grateful; and ‘rational steps’ can then be (and are) taken to accommodate the genetic propensities revealed.

Genetics has constituted not only novel molecular interjections, but a process of grand narrative. In this context, the gene has become at once a point of reference and of projective 2 Haraway (1989) argues that ‘fiction is inescapably implicated in a dialectic of the true (natural) and the counterfeit (artifactual) … [both] rooted in an epistemology that appeals to experience’ (p. 4) and linked through processes of scientific and extrascientific story-telling. 26 Metaphor, Materiality and the Gene identification, (re)constituted as both a tool and a symbol, taken up in both literary and literal senses as a rogue or domesticated body, a territory, a weapon, a library, a laboratory.

The maternal body emerges as the primary vector for the transmission of ‘bad’ genes whether the origins of those genes are male or female. In this sense, the female body becomes the dangerous carrier of dangerous carriers. The ‘bad’ seed of men, the ‘bad gene’ itself, the ‘defective’ embryo and the ‘damaged’ generational heritage become incorporated materially and symbolically within the maternal body. Finally, insofar as genetic screening involves the policing of the reproduction of ‘abnormality’, it resonates with broader conceptualisations of reproductive ‘fitness’, even as these are more likely to be deployed in terms of ‘health’.

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