EpiCenter publication: "Epigenetics in the Public Sphere"
This article aims to promote an open-minded and interdisciplinary dialogue between the public discourse on epigenetics and the current scientific state of the art. It raises three main questions: Are there any specific modes of circulation of epigenetics in the general public? Why does epigenetics seem so appealing to the public? Within the public repertoire of epigenetics, is it possible to identify some specific knowledge claims and, if so, given the current state of the art, what is their degree of accuracy? Using an original database focusing on ‘everyday’ epigenetics from 2013 to 2017, this article argues, not surprisingly, that the social diffusion of epigenetics findings frequently carries beliefs and misconceptions. It fuels a collective illusion of control and empowerment on the basis of which new markets expand. More unexpectedly, our database also comprises a wide range of accurate knowledge claims which unveil a new scientific culture in the making.