, Volume 99, Issue 2, pp 173-184

First online:

Biopolitics: the newest synthesis?

  • Ira H. CarmenAffiliated withDepartment of Political Science, University of Illinois

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On first impression, the disciplines of genetics and political science would appear to be unrelated. And yet, commencing more than 30 years ago, the interdisciplinary field known as Biopolitics has now taken hold. This essay traces the central thrust of the biopolitical research agenda. It describes, analyzes, and assesses how political scientists have sought to show connections between our species' genetic constitution and our species' political behavior. Important bridges between the two are the neurophysiology of the human brain and the role of evolutionary theory in charting man's adaptational political profile. The parameters of the emerging biopolitical literature raise profound policy questions, some of which are also characterized.

Key words

evolution genetics neurophysiology philosophy politics