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Profiling the DNA databank : individual identification and power in late modernity

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Profiling the DNA databank : individual identification and power in late modernity

Rayfield, Sarah Janet (2005) Profiling the DNA databank : individual identification and power in late modernity. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores some features of the relationship between power and knowledge as it is currently taking shape in the discourse and practice of forensic DNA data banking and addresses the limits of the existing theoretical discourse on power in capturing the kind of power effects that are emerging. The first chapter explores the social, political and historical context in which forensic DNA data banking has emerged. The second chapter examines relevant socio-cultural transformations in the nature of power that have been taking place since the Nineteenth Century, bringing together Foucault's concept of surveillance with more recent analysis of surveillance that suggests, that as a technology of power, surveillance is in the process of changing. Risk is considered as a major force in shaping surveillance practice and discourse, specifically its influence on crime control strategies is discussed. Chapter three first contends that modern themes, which were instrumental in legitimating the development of older identification technologies, continue to play a central role in the discourse legitimating the use of DNA data banking. It also reveals that DNA data banking is premised on an ambivalent notion of crime and 'criminality'. Foucault's theory on bio-power and Baudrillard's simulation theory are considered and it is suggested that these theoretical perspectives can elucidate the relationship between DNA data banking and the changing nature of power.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Rayfield, Sarah Janet
Pagination:v, 133 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Sociology and Anthropology
Date:2005
Thesis Supervisor(s):Simon, Bart
ID Code:8464
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 14:26
Last Modified:18 Aug 2011 14:26
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