Handbook of Biology and Politics
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Handbook of Biology and Politics

Edited by Steven A. Peterson and Albert Somit

The study of biology and politics (or biopolitics) has gained considerable currency in recent years, as articles on the subject have appeared in mainstream journals and books on the subject have been well received. The literature has increased greatly since the 1960s and 1970s, when this specialization first made an appearance. This volume assesses the contributions of biology to political science. Chapters focus on general biological approaches to politics, biopolitical contributions to mainstream areas within political science, and linkages between biology and public policy. The volume provides readers with a comprehensive introduction to the subject.
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Chapter 2: The organizational structure of biology in politics

Robert Hunt Sprinkle


Biological thought entered political thought in classical antiquity, re-entered during the Scientific Revolution, and in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries proved transformative intellectually and culturally. Yet ‘biology in politics’ came to be seen less as explaining than as excusing, even endorsing, political behavior’s worst outcomes. Scholars committed to building a biologically informed understanding of political behavior and to applying that understanding to the improvement of outcomes were for decades few in number, persisting as small networks of scattered colleagues. In the early twenty-first century, in parallel with the rise of molecular genetics and the neurosciences, conditions began to improve. Instructive in these respects is the history of one particular scholarly association and its journal.

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