Popular Culture and Genetics: Genetics and Biotechnologies in the Movies
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Poznan University of Medical Sciences
Submission date: 2021-01-18
Acceptance date: 2021-04-12
Publication date: 2021-09-20
Polish Sociological Review 2021;215(3):281–310
Although the past few decades have been marked by a rapid development of biotechnologies, it significantly precedes the social understanding of genetic phenomena. At the same time, as biotechnologies have become an object of public interest, popular culture, particularly movies, plays an increasingly important role in shaping the public attitudes towards biotechnologies. Thus, by stressing the impact of popular culture on the social understanding of science, this paper aims to describe the dominant genetic tropes portrayed in the cinema. By analysing 175 movies that relate to biotechnologies produced between 1953 and 2018, it analyses seven main themes: 1) the general image of genetics, 2) genetic procedures 3) mutations, 4) DNA, 5) genetic essentialism, 6) the nature versus nurture debate, and 7) biofears generated in the movies.