Genomics as Power

in Genomes and What to Make of Them

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780226172958
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226172965 | DOI:
Genomics as Power

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This chapter discusses genomics and genetics as power. It shifts the discussion from genomics as knowledge to genomics as people doing things, and offers a picture of a field in which powers are accumulating at an unprecedented rate as the skills and techniques of the physical sciences flood into it and fruitfully combine with its existing practices. It discusses intervention and control involving human and nonhuman genomes, and argues that feature of genomic powers that currently needs the most urgent consideration is arguably the way that they facilitate the application of other powers and capacities. The new genomic technologies are currently amplifying the existing powers of bureaucrats and administrators to a worrying degree, the more so as the IT increasingly central to both genomics and bureaucracy proliferates and becomes ever more powerful The commercialization of genetically modified organisms, especially as food crops, continues to arouse passionate controversy in Europe and is being strongly resisted by a number of activist groups. And insofar as the human genome is concerned, the possibilities of cloning, of biological parentage by both members of a homosexual couple, or even by multiple “parents,” of gene therapy, of replacement tissue and organ manufacture, of DNA-specific biological weapons, of individual humans or even entire human populations modified to produce a eugenic Utopia, are just a few of the scenarios debated in anticipation of what might lie just around the corner genomically.

Keywords: genetics; genomes; social powers; genomic powers; bureaucracy

Chapter.  14700 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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