Experiencing the New Genetics: Family and Kinship on the Medical Frontier by Kaja Finkler
Over the past several decades there has been an explosion of interest in genetics and genetic inheritance within both the research community and the mass media. The science of genetics now forecasts great advances in alleviating disease and prolonging human life, placing the family and kin group under the spotlight.
In Experiencing the New Genetics, Kaja Finkler argues that the often uncritical presentation of research on genetic inheritance as well as the attitudes of some in the biomedical establishment contribute to a "genetic essentialism," a new genetic determinism, and the medicalization of kinship in American society. She explores some of the social and cultural consequences of this phenomenon. Finkler discovers that the new genetics can turn a healthy person into a perpetual patient, complicate the redefinition of the family that has been occurring in American society for the past few decades, and lead to the abdication of responsibility for addressing the problem of unhealthy environmental conditions. Experiencing the New Genetics will assist scholars and general readers alike in making sense of this timely and multifaceted issue.