Accepted Paper:

Renaming, redefining and remaking: Emergence of genopolitics and homo politicus   


Kaya Akyuz (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

The emergence of the research field genopolitics coincides with the developments in biotechnologies and data practices after the Human Genome Project. This paper provides an analysis of the genopolitics literature to reproduce the conflicting static and dynamic imaginaries of the new homo politicus.

Paper long abstract:

Recently, "genopolitics" emerged as a new name for an interdisciplinary research field that unites genetics with political science. Under the banner of empirical biopolitics, similar research has been conducted even before the beginning of Human Genome Project (HGP) using twin-studies approach. However, in the post-HGP era, with the decreasing costs of genotyping, increasing availability of survey-based genetics data and improving bioinformatics tools, research on the genetic basis of political behavior gained a momentum. With this paper, I aim to shed light on the efforts of making 'genopolitics' by following the post-HGP empirical research that can be classified under this domain. In so doing, the imaginaries of an evolved political species, homo politicus, will be reproduced through the accounts of genopoliticians in peer-reviewed research articles. Rather than considering a future human, genopolitics traces the political human of today in the evolutionary dynamics of the past. In this regard, the relatively static genes as unimportant factors in social science analyses are starting to attract more attention from the social scientists with the onset of epigenetics as a potential tool to explain the dynamics of social processes in more convenient terms by linking genes to the environment. In this paper, 'the genopolitics project' is analyzed through considering the effects of survey-based genotyping and epigenetics on the explanations of political behavior at the genetic level in order to shed light on the conflicting imaginaries of static and dynamic homo politicuses.

Panel T110
What does it mean to be Human in the 21st Century?