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Naked GenesReinventing the Human in the Molecular Age$
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Helga Nowotny and Giuseppe Testa

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014939

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014939.001.0001

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Contested Futures: Everyday Experience and the Values Discourse

Contested Futures: Everyday Experience and the Values Discourse

(p.49) 4 Contested Futures: Everyday Experience and the Values Discourse
Naked Genes

Helga Nowotny

Giuseppe Testa

The MIT Press

Against the backdrop of the lines of friction outlined in the previous chapter, we ask how the forms of life that the molecular gaze brings to salience are integrated into the existing social order. From the wealth of technoscientific potential, what can and should be realized? Three discourses articulate partial and contradictory answers to this question—the innovation discourse, risk discourse, and value discourse. All three, and the latter in particular, are moulded by a flood of uncontrollable and unforeseeable images and associations that inject the new forms of life into people’s everyday experience. Many of these images challenge the centuries-old perception of Nature as an immutable source of moral authority, revealing it instead as palimpsest of options for manipulation. In turn this viewpoint provokes counterforces that reassert the notion and value of an unmodifiable nature. In this fissured moral landscape, the genetic visibility of life encounters the visibility of a - reenergized – value discourse. But in a pluralistic society, values are and remain heterogeneous. They change and stand in contradiction to each other. The struggle to shape the future has begun, but however open and uncertain it may be, it must be pursued in a way that makes living together in a pluralistic society possible.

Keywords:   value discourse, innovation, risk, technoscientific life experience, imaginaries of nature, religion, pluralistic democracies

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