Ulrich Beck's best selling Risk Society established risk on the sociological agenda. It brought together a wide range of issues centering on environmental, health and personal risk, provided a rallying ground for researchers and activists in a variety of social movements and acted as a reference point for state and local policies in risk management. The Risk Society and Beyond charts the progress of Beck's ideas and traces their evolution. It demonstrates why the issues raised by Beck reverberate widely throughout social theory and covers the new risks that Beck did not foresee, associated with the emergence of new technologies, genetic and cybernetic. The book is unique because it offers both an introduction to the main arg
Chapter 5: Genotechnology: Three Challenges to Risk Legitimation
Genotechnology: Three Challenges to Risk Legitimation
According to Jacob (1974), somewhere near the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century the science of biology fractured into several sub-disciplines -each focusing on distinct objects of study and adopting clearly differentiated strategies of investigation. Of the emergent objects, two in particular came to dominate twentieth century scientific discourse; the gene and the molecule. Clearly, it was in relation to these objects that the modem sciences of genetics and biochemistry developed.
Genetics, of course, focused mainly on the study of populations or species. The attendant technology was pivoted on the practices of selective breeding and its theory was underpinned by statistics. So much was this the case that ...