Human Genes and Neoliberal Governance: A Foucauldian Critique

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Drawing on the work of Michel Foucault, among others, Human Genes and Neoliberal Governance shows how the privileging of genetic explanations about individual risks, over environmental and socioeconomic factors, reflects both a metaphysical and a political complicity between 'geneticisation' and neoliberalism. The 'new human genetics' does not transform what it is to be human as much as shift the place we look at when we try to characterise commonalities and variations among the human species. The 'genetic revolution' is above all a perceptual revolution, and in the first part of this book Antoinette Rouvroy explores the social, political and economic conditions and consequences of this new 'perceptual regime'.

In the second part of this book she pursues her analysis through a consideration of the impact of 'geneticisation' on political support of the welfare state, and on the operation of private health and life insurance. Genetics and neoliberalism, she argues, are complicit in fostering the belief that social and economic patterns have a fixed nature beyond the reach of democratic deliberation, and that the characteristics of individuals are unusually plastic, and within the scope of individual choice and responsibility. 'Geneticisation', it is concluded, has come to provide a questionable and largely unacknowledged support for neoliberal governance.

About the Author:
Antoinette Rouvroy is now assistant professor of Law and Language, and research fellow in Information Technology Law at the University of Namur, in Belgium

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415444330
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 2/9/2008
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Antoinette Rouvroy belongs to the growing community of 'academic nomads’. The interdisciplinary tone of her work has oriented - and has been oriented by — her fellowships at the Center for Philosophy of Law at the Université catholique de Louvain, at the European University Institute in Florence, at the Science and Technology Studies Unit of the University of York, and at the Faculty of Law of Law of McGill University in Montreal. She is now assistant professor of Law and Language, and research fellow in information technology law at the University of Namur, in Belgium.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1: The Production of Genetic Knowledge and the Rise of Genetics as New Perceptual Regime 1. The Production of Genetic Knowledge 2. Scientific and Economic Strength of Genetic Reductionism 3. Policy Implications: Discourses of Genetic Enlightenment as New Disciplinary Devices 4. Genetic Conceptualisations of ‘Normality’ and the Idea of Genetic Justice 5. Beyond Genetic Universality and Authenticity, the Lure of the ‘Genetic Underclass’ Part 2: The Socio-Economic Life of Genes - Genetic Risks and Insurance 6. Commonalties and Variations in Regulation of Genetic Information Flows 7. Previews of the Future as Background 8. Economic and Actuarial Perspectives on Genetics and Insurance 9. Practical and Normative Arguments Against ‘Genetic Exceptionalist’ Legislation 10. The Changing Social Role of Private Insurance: ‘Risk’ as a New Representational Regime. Conclusions. References

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