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Political Biology: New Book by Maurizio Meloni

20 February 2017

A new book on political biology by Dr Maurizio Meloni

Science and Social Values in Human Heredity from Eugenics to Epigenetics

About the book

Political Biology: Science and Social Values in Human Heredity from Eugenics to Epigenetics by Dr Maurizio Meloni explores the socio-political implications of human heredity from the second half of the nineteenth century to the present postgenomic moment. It addresses three main phases in the politicization of heredity:

  • the peak of radical eugenics (1900-1945), characterized by an aggressive ethos of supporting the transformation of human society via biological knowledge
  • the repositioning, after 1945, of biological thinking into a liberal-democratic, human rights framework
  • the present postgenomic crisis in which the genome can no longer be understood as insulated from environmental signals. 

Maurizio Meloni argues that thanks to the ascendancy of epigenetics we may be witnessing a return to soft heredity - the idea that these signals can cause changes in biology that are themselves transferable to succeeding generations. This book will be of great interest to scholars across science and technology studies, the philosophy and history of science, and political and social theory.

About the author

Maurizio Meloni is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield, UK. He is a social theorist working on the historical, conceptual, and political implications of the life sciences. He is also an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter, UK, and has held two EU Marie Curie Fellowships, a Fulbright scholarship, and an Annual Membership (2014–2015) at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA.


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