Advances in genetic testing and research have led to a proliferation of studies of indigenous people in an attempt to understand issues of ancestry, migration, susceptibility to specific diseases and predictability of behaviours. This paper questions the assumption that the ‘new genetics’ is value free and argues that this science is subject to a range of social constructions as part of the post-colonial discourse. In this paper I wish to discuss the selection of Polynesians as exemplars of the ‘Warrior’ or ‘Violent’ gene. A small study of seventeen Maori men has become the centre of an international controversy regarding the application and evaluation of genetic studies which seek to attribute determinist conclusions in the absence of other sociological data. This paper focuses on the genetic debate concerning Polynesians, and explores the extent to which the interpretation of these findings may be ethnocentrically formed.
Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association, 2009 (TASA 2009). The Future of Sociology: the Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association 2009 (Canberra, A.C.T. 1-4 December, 2009)