We aim to explore the intersections between the use of genetic technologies in criminal investigation, disaster victim identification and commercial uses. Our goal is to stimulate a debate on the mutable social, political and commercial meanings attributed to genetic technologies.
Genetic technologies are playing a pivotal role about identity, how someone may look or where someone originate from. Such applications have been deployed in inter alia practices of disaster victim identification, criminal investigation and in commercial genealogy testing. Despite the similarity of deployed genetic technologies in these three domains, so far, their implications have been framed differently.
The current academic debate on the use of genetic technologies in the field of criminal identification tends to emphasize the risks of disproportionate citizens' surveillance, and threats to privacy and presumption of innocence. The uses of genetic technologies in disaster victim identification tends to be associated with a humanitarian rationale and a form of respecting and honouring victims and their families' rights to 'know the truth'. Lastly, commercial genealogy testing has been framed within a 'economy of hope' that allegedly allows to 'find your roots'.
In this panel we welcome contributions that draw on diverse case studies to critically engage with the mutable social, political and commercial meanings attributed to genetic technologies in these three domains of practice. Our aims are twofold: first, to scrutinize the development, stabilization and politicization of genetic technologies in particular case scenarios; secondly, to critically discuss the values and infrastructures they carry.
o How is expertise constructed and assembled in daily practices?
o What are the moral economies and commercial interests played out?
o How and what can we learn by juxtaposing the practices?
o What is made (in)visible?
o How is power embedded in those practices?