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Type: Journal article
Title: 'Race' and the Human Genome Project: constructions of scientific legitimacy
Author: McCann Mortimer, P.
Augoustinos, M.
Le Couteur, A.
Citation: Discourse and Society: an international journal for the study of discourse and communication in their social, political and cultural contexts, 2004; 15(4):409-432
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd
Issue Date: 2004
ISSN: 0957-9265
Statement of
Patricia Mccann-Mortimer; Martha Augoustinos; Amanda Lecouteur
Abstract: At the public announcement of the completion of a draft map of the human genome (June 2000), Craig Venter, Head of Celera Genomics and chief private scientist involved with the Human Genome Project, claimed that ‘race’ was not a scientifically valid construct. This statement, based on an analysis of the genomes of five people of different ethnicities, has not served to end the considerable discussion and debate surrounding the concept of ‘race’. Using a social constructionist and critical discursive approach, this study analyses text and talk associated with the debate on the scientific validity of the concept ‘race’. Given the problematic and highly contested nature of this concept, the present research examines, closely and in detail, a range of ways in which constructions of truth are worked up in scientific discourse. In particular, we analyse the ways in which empiricist and contingent repertoires within scientific discourse are mobilized to establish and contest claims of objectivity and facticity. We also examinea range of rhetorical devices deployed by protagonists in the debate to warrant particular truth claims including quantification rhetoric and the ‘Truth Will Out Device’ (TWOD). We conclude that despite the promissory representation of the Human Genome Project as having produced scientific evidence to discredit the biological legitimacy of ‘race’, the concept is likely to persist in both popular and scientific usage.
Description: Copyright © 2004 SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0957926504043707
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest
Psychology publications

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