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Race and genomics

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Abstract

In light of contemporary scientific developments in genomics, one question that has occupied scholars is whether today we are seeing the revival of discredited biological notions of racial difference, or something quite different – a refashioning of race and the emergence of novel forms of politics and identity formation that supersede or redefine older notions of biology and race. The article provides an overview of conceptual debates about the meaning of race and identifies four principal ways in which scholars have understood the implications for developments in science for our understanding of race today. These are characterized in the following terms: (1) revival, (2) refashioning, (3) alignment, and (4) ambivalence. The article shows how these conceptual debates also impinge on normative questions about health inequalities in society.