Giovanetti, Silvia (2009) Eugenetica e SocietĂ .
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The aim of this dissertation is to explore the ways in which biomedical practices, scientific knowledge, and institutional settings are linked together in a process of co-production of science and society. Public debates surrounding biomedical topics are indeed sites of co-production, since the actors involved in the debate create discursive repertoires in which scientific and socio-cultural elements (such as values, norms, identity claims, and worldviews) are linked together in coherent images of science and society, which the actors try to make binding in the juridical and political arenas. Such dissertation focuses on the case of eugenics in Italy. By analyzing the public discourse on eugenics in the first decades of Twentieth Century and on the so-called new eugenics in the last fifteen years in the most important Italian newspapers, this work would show the ways in which the relation between science and society is discursively constructed in an interactive manner, in which social and scientific element are mutually translated and produced. The choice of eugenics as case study is justified by the fact that, on one hand, eugenics is the most paradigmatic example of biopolitical programs of the latest century and, on the other hand, the new technology of assisted fertilization and genetic screening, such as prenatal and preimplantation diagnosis (usually labelled as new eugenics practices) are become controversial and problematic objects. Technically acting on the private sphere of human reproduction, such practices tend to call into question some fundamental cultural and cognitive categories, which preserve the moral and social order of any given society. The discourses on eugenics are means by which the actors try to frame and regulate such practices. In such discourses, moreover, actors tend to delineate visions of society, through claiming identities, values, ethical orientations and negotiating the social role of science and religion. This dissertation compares the public discourses on eugenics and new eugenics, showing how the differences between the two practices could be related to two different biopolitical arrangements and forms of life. In a co-production approach, it is showed that the two form of eugenics are determined by two different ways of organizing social life (i.e. a collectivistic versus an individualistic model) and, at the same time, eugenics partakes â€“ by providing a legitimating scientific discourse â€“ in the production of the collective conscience and representations of such two social settings. In other words, the evolution of eugenics follows the so-called process of individualization of society and provides a (contested) ground in which such process could be made concrete. Finally, by analyzing the peculiarities of Italian eugenics movements, such work shows also how eugenics, which was seen as a beneficial practice, is nowadays considered the icon of evil medicine and a rhetoric device that spreads a negative shadow on any debate on biomedical topics.
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Questo lavoro di ricerca si pone lâ€™obbiettivo di indagare, attraverso lo studio di una particolare pratica bio-medica, come sapere scientifico, pratiche bio-mediche, orientamenti istituzionali e dibattito pubblico vadano a legarsi e allo stesso tempo influenzarsi reciprocamente, dando luogo ad un rapporto di co-produzione tra scienza e societĂ . La tesi mira dunque allâ€™analisi del discorso pubblico attorno ad una specifica pratica scientifica, individuata appunto nellâ€™eugenetica, per analizzare le modalitĂ attraverso cui si configura il rapporto tra scienza e societĂ , al fine di individuare, inoltre, come allâ€™interno dei processi discorsivi vengano tradotti elementi propri del contesto sociale.
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