© 2018

Population Genetics and Belonging

A Cultural Analysis of Genetic Ancestry

  • Introduces readers to population genetics in an accessible and engaging style

  • Highlights the mutual entanglement of genetic science and society

  • Identifies and characterises different aspects of popular engagement with population genetics, and shows how these are implicated in discourses of gender, sexuality, race and class


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Venla Oikkonen
    Pages 1-21
  3. Venla Oikkonen
    Pages 73-130
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 231-240

About this book


This book explores how human population genetics has emerged as a means of imagining and enacting belonging in contemporary society. Venla Oikkonen approaches population genetics as an evolving set of technological, material, narrative and affective practices, arguing that these practices are engaged in multiple forms of belonging that are often mutually contradictory. Considering scientific, popular and fictional texts, with several carefully selected case studies spanning three decades, the author traces shifts in the affective, material and gendered preconditions of population genetic visions of belonging. Topics encompass the debate about Mitochondrial Eve, ancient human DNA, temporality and nostalgia, commercial genetic ancestry tests, and tensions between continental and national genetic inheritance. The book will be of particular interest to scholars and students of science and technology studies, cultural studies, sociology, and gender studies.


Genomics Popular Science Gender studies Queer Studies Technoscience Cultural Studies Temporality Mitochondrial Eve Parasite Eve Y-chromosome Adam evolutionary origins Kennewick Man evolution Cheddar Man evolution genetic temporality collective memory Finnish genetic inheritance

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Helsinki Collegium for Advanced StudiesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

About the authors

Venla Oikkonen is Research Fellow at Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Finland. Her research explores cultural aspects of genetics, evolutionary theory, and vaccine controversies. She is the author of Gender, Sexuality and Reproduction in Evolutionary Narratives, and received the 2015 Catharine Stimpson Prize for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship.

Bibliographic information