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Julia Rothenberg and Andreas Heinz

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Meddling with Monkey Metaphors — Capitalism and the Threat of Impulsive Desires

This essay should help progressives assess the social implications of the Pandora’s box opened by genetic engineering, by the capability to create “designer babies” via genetic screening of the human embryo before implantation. Preventing certain cancers in vitro has obvious humanistic appeal. Yet there is the related danger of giving impetus to sociobiological theories on the origin of crime that prevailed in American scientific theories until the confrontation with Nazi Germany discredited both biological reductionism and its proposed agenda, eugenicism. Authors Julia Rothenberg and Andreas Heinz address the resurgence in right-wing discourse that frames the problems of the “underclass” in sociobiological terms in reference to the origin of, and the “cure” for, crime and deviance. The article attempts to bridge the sociological and neurobiological components of this issue and to dissect the way in which neurobiological knowledge is used by neoconservatives to advance their social agenda.

crime and criminals — poor, crime and criminals — sociobiology, poor — crime and criminals, social classes — underclass, sociobiology — crime and criminals, eugenics, sociobiology, underclass

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 25, No. 2 (1998): 44-64