The DNA Mystique: The Gene as a Cultural Icon

What explains society's fascination with the gene? DNA in popular culture has been granted extraordinary powers of agency and control, appearing as an explanation of personality, a source of crime and other social problems, the cause of academic failure, and the basis of financial success. It appears as a scientific guide to social policy, a way to locate responsibility, and to delegate blame: "it's all in the genes."
In The DNA Mystique, Nelkin and Lindee explore the striking presence of the gene in popular culture, where DNA has become a powerful, deterministic - even magical - entity, the essence of life, and the secular equivalent of the soul. Drawing on stories and metaphors from film, television, news reports, comic books, ads, and even cartoons, the authors reveal how science and culture intersect to shape the social meaning of the gene.
Nelkin and Lindee describe how the gene is appropriated to define the proper family, predict future behavior, and advance common stereotypes of gender and race. They show how social problems and opportunities have disappeared behind the image of the double helix, which looms so large in the popular imagination. And they show how cultural interpretations of the gene influence individual expectations, institutional practices, and social policies. Their analysis then addresses a critical issue: What does this fascination with genetics mean for reproductive practices? Does the DNA mystique portend a "new eugenics" - a dangerous science that locates solutions to social problems in biological controls?

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LibraryThing Review

Comentário do usuário  - DarthDeverell - LibraryThing

In The DNA Mystique: The Gene as a Cultural Icon, Dorothy Nelkin and M. Susan Lindee write, “Three related themes underly [sic] the metaphors geneticists and other biologists use to describe work on ... Ler resenha completa

THE DNA MYSTIQUE: The Gene as a Cultural Icon

Comentário do usuário  - Kirkus

Policy, popular culture, and genetics meet in this intelligent critique of our society's search for easy answers. Genetic essentialism is on the rise, contend Nelkin (Sociology/New York Univ.; The ... Ler resenha completa

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Sobre o autor (1995)

Dorothy Nelkin is a University Professor at New York University, teaching in the Department of Sociology and the School of Law.

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