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Studies of the Biosocial Society
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Identity Politics and the New Genetics
Re/Creating Categories of Difference and Belonging
Edited by Katharina Schramm, David Skinner and Richard Rottenburg
230 pages, 4 tables & figs, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-0-85745-253-5 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (January 2012)
ISBN 978-1-78238-682-7 $29.95/£21.00 Pb Published (November 2014)
eISBN 978-0-85745-254-2 eBook
“This wide-ranging, international collection considers many of the practical, ethical and political questions raised by the proliferation of genetic research and testing around the world…Almost all of the chapters deal in a sophisticated way with questions about how ideas of identity, race, and kinship are being shaped by their interaction with genetic technologies and the way those technologies are being interpreted.” · Contemporary Sociology. A Journal of Reviews
“Overall, the book successfully highlights the complex and often contradictory nature of the relationship between politics and science…[It]offers an original contribution to debates on identity, race and genetics…The overall strength of the collection (as the editors argue) lies in its use of a range of rich and illuminating case studies from locations across the globe.” · Ethnic and Racial Studies
“This is an important and extremely timely collection that will inform ongoing and evolving discussions within the social sciences and beyond about the changing relationship between identity and genomics. It captures and contributes to an emerging moment in social science engagement with genomics and issues of identity and the politics of difference.” · Sahra Gibbon, University College London
Racial and ethnic categories have appeared in recent scientific work in novel ways and in relation to a variety of disciplines: medicine, forensics, population genetics and also developments in popular genealogy. Once again, biology is foregrounded in the discussion of human identity. Of particular importance is the preoccupation with origins and personal discovery and the increasing use of racial and ethnic categories in social policy. This new genetic knowledge, expressed in technology and practice, has the potential to disrupt how race and ethnicity are debated, managed and lived. As such, this volume investigates the ways in which existing social categories are both maintained and transformed at the intersection of the natural (sciences) and the cultural (politics). The contributors include medical researchers, anthropologists, historians of science and sociologists of race relations; together, they explore the new and challenging landscape where biology becomes the stuff of identity.
Katharina Schramm is Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Social Anthropology at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg and Research Associate at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. Her publications include African Homecoming: Pan-African Ideology and Contested Heritage (2010) and Remembering Violence: Anthropological Perspectives on Intergenerational Transmission (co-editor, 2009).
David Skinner is Reader in Sociology at Anglia Ruskin University, UK. His publications on the politics of race and science include ‘Racialised Futures: Biologism and the Changing Politics of Identity’ in Social Studies of Science (2006); and ‘Groundhog Day? The Strange Case of Sociology, Science and Race’ in Sociology (2007).
Richard Rottenburg holds a chair in Social Anthropology at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg and is Max Planck Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. He has written and edited books on the Sudan, economic anthropology, the transcultural production of objectivity and theorizing postneoliberal governance. Among these is Far-Fetched Facts: A Parable of Development Aid (2009).
Subject: Medical Anthropology Sociology
List of Illustrations and Tables
Introduction: Ideas in Motion: Making Sense of Identity After DNA
Katharina Schramm, David Skinner, Richard Rottenburg
Chapter 1. ‘Race’ as a Social Construction in Genetics
Andrew Smart, Richard Tutton, Paul Martin, George Ellison
Chapter 2. Mobile Identities and Fixed Categories: Forensic DNA and the Politics of Racialised Data
Chapter 3. Race, Kinship and the Ambivalence of Identity
Chapter 4. Identity, DNA, and the State in Post-Dictatorship Argentina
Chapter 5. ‘Do You Have Celtic, Jewish, Germanic Roots?’ – Applied Swiss History Before and After DNA
Chapter 6. Irish DNA: Making Connections and Making Distinctions in Y-Chromosome Surname Studies
Chapter 7. Genomics en route: Ancestry, Heritage, and the Politics of Identity Across the Black Atlantic
Chapter 8. Biotechnological Cults of Affliction? Race, Rationality, and Enchantment in Personal Genomic Histories
Notes on Contributors
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