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Biopolitics and the Governance of Genetic Capital in GATTACA

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Abstract

Andrew Niccol’s (1997) GATTACA is a provocative film that can be “read” on at least two levels: that of “society” and social organization and that of the “individual” (self-regulation and social interaction). GATTACA is a tale of authoritarian rule, the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, and social injustice. At the interactionist level, GATTACA is a case study in what Erving Goffman called the “management of spoiled identity” (1963). Jerome Morrow is Navigator First Class at Gattaca Aerospace Corporation. He is a member of an elite class. Jerome’s daily ritual consists of vigorous exfoliating of his entire body; rigorous vacuuming of his workstation and home; and very careful disposal of skin, hair, and other traces of his existence. Jerome needs to avoid contamination; he must limit the amount of his “in-valid self left in the valid world.” Jerome is not a man possessed by an obsessive-compulsive impulse for cleanliness. He is engaged in the very careful management of what Goffman (1963) called a “virtual social identity,” carefully manipulating “social information” in the presentation of himself to others.

Keywords

Eighteenth Century Liberal Democracy Social Medicine Social Management Disciplinary Technique 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Jon Frauley 2010

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