Im-partial science: gender ideology in molecular biology by Bonnie B. Spanier

By Bonnie B. Spanier

... this is often a superb publication. heavily argued and obviously written, it deals extraordinary insights into the alchemy during which ideology will get transmuted into medical truth. —Women and Health"... an important contribution for these situated on the nexus of rhetoric, feminism, and science....richly precise research that demonstrates how ideological underpinnings form either the development of technology and a self-discipline that says to carry solutions to the mysteries of life." —Quarterly magazine of Speech"As a molecular biologist and women's reports director, Spanier's services and expertise of those fields converge in her an expert dialogue of the formal representations of molecular biology and their inherent gender ideology." —Choice"Spanier's critique brings the strengths of feminist technology idea to the center of latest technology. Spanier speaks to normal scientists and to feminist students as a scientist." —Sandra Harding"... an eye-opening intrduction to the way in which philosophical perspectives impression biology. Physicians should still sit up straight and take specific discover of Spanier's paintings. If destructive, unexamined social assumptions penetrate the center of biology, it really is uncertain that the remainder of biology is untouched via them." —Journal of the yank scientific AssociationExploring the discourse of scientists and scientist-educators, Spanier illuminates distortions and implicit values: from male-female stereotypes imposed onto micro organism to singling out one molecule, DNA, because the controlling molecule of lifestyles. Defining molecular biology as molecular genetics may end up in a slender method of the idea that of lifestyles and to the examine of illnesses similar to melanoma. She demands a rethinking of technological know-how within the social, monetary, and political contexts during which it truly is enmeshed.

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How does the call by eminent scientists for a "reformulation of a body of related information formerly classified under the separate headings of genetics, biochemistry, and cell biology" affect the predominant approach to the study of life and, more broadly, scientific epistemology? Chapter 3 describes the methodology and sources I use for the analysis of the current state of molecular biology with regard to masculinist ideology. I discuss the limits and problematics of my study. This chapter also includes a series of "ingredients" or approaches to guide a feminist analysis of any field of science.

26Western dualistic thinking defines "the other'' variously as woman, negro, Jew, homosexual, colonized, etc. And in that sense, sexism, racism, and classism have characteristics and origins in common, while the specificity of the meaning of a particular "other'' at a particular moment in a particular society creates a spectrum of different experiences of oppression. What histories of sexism and racism share, among other things, is the use of biological determinist beliefs and claims to justify the lower status of women and people of color.

Some readers may want to start with the second part (chapter 4) and simply refer to the foundations set in preceding chapters. Chapter 2 places this study into the context of general critiques of gender beliefs, feminist perspectives on the natural sciences and molecular and cell biology in particular, and radical critiques concerning ideologies other than gender that have been identified as problematic for science and for society. This chapter also maps the geography of the biological sciences and provides definitions of molecular biology and related fields.

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