A Foucauldian Foray into the New Genetics

Journal of Medical Humanities 24 (3-4):279-289 (2003)
A Foucauldian assessment of the common presumption that genetic information is potent and thus oppressive demonstrates that the concern may be misplaced. Foucault's concept of “technologies of self” reveals that genetic power originates not only from the potency of genetic information but from the penchant of individuals to victimize themselves in the name of optimal health, enhanced intelligence, perfect babies, or would-be immortality. Rather than seeking liberation from the power of the new genetics, Foucault's reinterpretation of the ancient understanding of concern for the self offers the possibility to avoid control by the scientific discourse. His ethical response calls for resistance rather than opposition and places responsibility for resistance in the hands of the subject. Characteristically, he avoids a generalizable form of morality but clarifies that resistance includes acknowledging the human appetite for perfection and subordinating science to ethical and aesthetic matters
Keywords genetics  technology (technologies)  medical gaze  power  freedom  self
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DOI 10.1023/A:1026014605122
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