The Genetic Re-inscription of Race

Posted: 4 Dec 2007


Critics have debated for the past decade or more whether race is dead or alive in the new genetics: Is genomics opening up novel terrains for social identities or is it reauthorizing race? I explore the relationship between race and the new genetics by considering whether this race is the same scientific object as that produced by race science and whether these race-making practices are animated by similar social and political logics. I consider the styles of reasoning characteristic of the scientific work together with the economic and political rationalities of neo-liberalism, including identity politics as it meets biological citizenship. I seek to understand why and how group-based diversity emerges as an object of value - something to be studied and specified, something to be fought for and embraced, and something that is profitable - in the networks that sustain the world of (post)genomics today.

Keywords: biological citizenship, risk, identity politics, neo-liberalism, postgenomics, genomics

Suggested Citation

Abu El-Haj, Nadia, The Genetic Re-inscription of Race. Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 36, October 2007, Available at SSRN:

Nadia Abu El-Haj (Contact Author)

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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