Political Biology

Science and Social Values in Human Heredity from Eugenics to Epigenetics

  • Maurizio┬áMeloni

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Maurizio Meloni
    Pages 64-92
  3. Maurizio Meloni
    Pages 93-135
  4. Maurizio Meloni
    Pages 159-187
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 224-284

About this book


This book explores the socio-political implications of human heredity from the second half of the nineteenth century to the present postgenomic moment. It addresses three main phases in the politicization of heredity: the peak of radical eugenics (1900-1945), characterized by an aggressive ethos of supporting the transformation of human society via biological knowledge; the repositioning, after 1945, of biological thinking into a liberal-democratic, human rights framework; and the present postgenomic crisis in which the genome can no longer be understood as insulated from environmental signals.
In Political Biology, Maurizio Meloni argues that thanks to the ascendancy of epigenetics we may be witnessing a return to soft heredity - the idea that these signals can cause changes in biology that are themselves transferable to succeeding generations. This book will be of great interest to scholars across science and technology studies, the philosophy and history of science, and political and social theory.


Eugenics epigenetics postgenomics genomics STS sociology political theory history of biology philosophy of science history of science biology environment Generation philosophy politics science social theory society transformation

Authors and affiliations

  • Maurizio┬áMeloni
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociological StudiesUniversity of SheffieldUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences
  • Print ISBN 978-1-137-37771-5
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-37772-2
  • Buy this book on publisher's site