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    Introduction: Eugenics old and new

    Burdett, Carolyn (2007) Introduction: Eugenics old and new. New Formations 60 , pp. 7-12. ISSN 0950-2378.

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    Eugenics Old and New. new formations 60The twenty-first century is seeing a continuous, and increasingly bold, biotechnological revolution with the potential to do away with one of humankind's most basic expectations - the expectation of an unmodified genetic inheritance. In wealthy parts of the world, the processes of human reproduction are being radically transformed, while some of our most serious diseases are increasingly seen as predictable and manipulable. But do such technical innovations also risk bringing a new approach to eugenics into being? Today those with the ability to pay the price are discovering that genes are a highly desirable commodity in a new type of consumer culture. The new eugenics is no longer the state eugenics of the first half of the twentieth century, which sought public policies that encouraged the 'fittest' to breed, or laws that segregated the 'feebleminded'. Instead, twenty-first century eugenics is the domain of informed, wealthy private consumers, looking to maximise their individual life chances and those of their offspring. This issue re-examines the complex history of eugenics and explores the extent to which the contemporary focus on genetics and biotechnology is ushering in a new eugenic future in which the category of the human is itself fundamentally at risk.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Nineteenth-Century Studies, Centre for
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2014 08:55
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:35


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