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Publishers Weekly, 1995-02-13 Nelkin and Lindee, sociologists and historians of science at New York Univ. and at the Univ. of Pennsylvania, respectively, have assembled a compendium of ``folklore'' documenting images of the ``gene'' in contemporary American popular culture. They utilize this material to examine diverse intersections between current social issues and ideas about genetic determinism. The main chapters are informative surveys of such topics as eugenics, gender, sexuality, familial relations and social behaviors (criminal genes). The authors show how malleable arguments concerning genetic determinism can be and the ways popular images may channel public perception and influence courses of research. The nontechnical text avoids scientific errors. Although overviews in the initial and final pages are less coherent and although they are marred by the occasional opaque buzzword (essentialism, secular soul, supergene), the body of this work offers valuable insights. Illustrations. (Apr.)
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