Reading maps of the genes: interpreting the spatiality of genetic knowledge

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    26 Citations (Scopus)


    Genetics has become the pre-eminent interpretation of the body and health and illness. This paper engages with a central technique and metaphor of the new genetics—gene mapping. Through an exploration of the process of gene mapping, the paper argues that the genetic material of the body is spatialised and transformed into a knowable and manipulable entity. Three interpretations of this spatial transformation of the body's materiality are discussed, in turn drawing on Foucault's notion of the construction of medical knowledge, the deconstruction of geographical maps and Haraway's ‘fetishised’ conception of the gene map. The paper concludes by considering contestations to this dominant discourse, and begins to construct an alternative spatialisation of the body that attempts to ‘place’ the gene more appropriately in a socially-embedded body and health.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)151-161
    Number of pages11
    JournalHealth & Place
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003


    • Genetics
    • Maps
    • Body
    • Health
    • Spatialisation


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