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ERIC Number: EJ890631
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2077-2327
Genetic Determinism in School Textbooks: A Comparative Study Conducted among Sixteen Countries
Castera, Jeremy; Clement, Pierre; Abrougui, Mondher; Nisiforou, Olympia; Valanides, Nicos; Turcinaviciene, Jurga; Sarapuu, Tago; Agorram, Boujemaa; Calado, Florbela; Bogner, Franz; Carvalho, Graca
Science Education International, v19 n2 p163-184 Jun 2008
Genetic concepts have significantly evolved over the last ten years, and are now less connected to innate ideas and reductionism. Unique reference to genetic determinism has been replaced by the interaction between the genes and their environment (epigenetics). Our analyses relate to how current school biology textbooks present this new paradigm in 16 different countries (12 from Europe, and Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, and Lebanon). Two precise criteria were used to analyse and compare the chapters dealing with the topic Human Genetics. The first criterion was the occurrence of the expression "genetic program" (which is typical of innate values). This was present in the textbooks of some countries, but were totally missing in some others. The existing differences seem to support the following: (i) in Eastern European countries, the absence is long-standing, and it is possibly linked to a previous influence of Lyssenko, (ii) in some other countries, the absence could be linked to various reactions during the Nazi period, (iii) in other cases, the observed diminution might be due to a modernisation of the scientific content, and, finally, (iv) in several countries, the notion of "genetic program" is still present, without any attempt for change. In contrast, there were no differences between countries with relation to the second criterion, that is, the twins' pictures present in the textbooks. The monozygotic twins were always dressed identically, and had the same hairstyle and body posture, as if these features could be genetically determined, providing thus evidence of a persistent implicit deterministic ideology. These results are discussed as interactions between implicit values and taught scientific knowledge. (Contains 2 figures and 3 tables.)
International Council of Associations for Science Education. Dokuz Eylul University Faculty of Education, Buca, Izmir 35150, Turkey. Tel: +90-532-4267927; Fax: +90-232-4204895; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Lebanon; Morocco; Senegal; Tunisia