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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational encyclopedia of human geography
EditorsRob Kitchin, Nigel Thrift
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780080449104
StatePublished - 2009


Stimulated by a series of biotechnological developments, human geographers have begun a research engagement with genetic science. Through its transformation of the relationship between nature and society, genetics connects to the core disciplinary concern of geography. Drawing on theories that attempt to bridge the embedded natural–social binary, geographers have begun to build conceptualizations of genetics as networks of bodies, people, animals, plants, institutions, technologies, corporations, and governments that produce and maintain new hybrid entities that mix the natural and the social in ever more fantastical ways. Geographers across the discipline have developed studies of the exploitation and trade in plant and human genetic ‘resources’; the reconfiguration of the causation and treatment of illness; the mapping of the human genome; the tracing of family and population genealogies; and the ethical challenges presented by the blurring of the edges between the realms of the natural and the social. Through this array of approaches, there is an emerging distinctive ‘geography of genetics’ that is concerned with mapping the uneven and unequal contexts, networks, and relations within which the natural–social hybrid entities and technologies of genetics are made and applied.



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