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Impressionable biologies : from the archaeology of plasticity to the sociology of epigenetics

Author: Maurizio Meloni
Publisher: New York : Routledge, 2019.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
During thetwentieth century, genes were considered the controlling force of life processes, and the transfer of DNA the definitive explanation for biological heredity. Such views shaped the politics of human heredity: in the eugenic era, controlling heredity meant intervening in the distribution of "good" and "bad" genes. However, since the turn of thetwenty-first century, this centrality of genes has been  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Print version :
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Maurizio Meloni
ISBN: 9781315169583 1315169584 9781351689397 1351689398 9781351689373 1351689371 9781351689380 135168938X 9781351569583 1351569589
OCLC Number: 1082136178
Description: 1 online resource.
Contents: Preface and Acknowledgements:Problematizing the Turn to PlasticityChapter One An Archaeology of PlasticityChapter TwoPlasticity before Plasticity: The Humoralist BodyChapter ThreeTaming Plasticity: Darwin, Selectionism, and Modern AgencyChapter FourEpigenetics or How Matter Returned to the GenomeChapter FiveA Sociology of the Body After the GenomeReferencesIndex
Responsibility: Maurizio Meloni.

Abstract:

During thetwentieth century, genes were considered the controlling force of life processes, and the transfer of DNA the definitive explanation for biological heredity. Such views shaped the politics of human heredity: in the eugenic era, controlling heredity meant intervening in the distribution of "good" and "bad" genes. However, since the turn of thetwenty-first century, this centrality of genes has been challenged by a number of "postgenomic" disciplines. The rise of epigenetics in particular signals a shift from notions of biological fixedness to ideas of plasticity and "impressionability" of biological material. This book investigates a long history of the beliefs about the plasticity of human biology, starting with ancient medicine, and analyses the biopolitical techniques required to govern such permeability. It looks at the emergence of the modern body of biomedicine as a necessary displacement or possibly reconfiguration of earlier plastic views. Finally, it analyses the returning of plasticityto contemporary postgenomic views and argues that postgenomic plasticity is neither a modernistic plasticity of instrumental management of the body nor a postmodernist celebration of potentialities. It is instead a plasticity that disrupts clear boundaries between openness and determination, individual and community, with important implications for notions of risk, responsibility and intervention.

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With this impressive genealogy of the thinking that underwrites current interest in epigenetics, Meloni provides us with a much-needed frame for one of the most compelling ideas in contemporary Read more...

 
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