Journal Article A controversial idea as a cultural resource : The Lysenko controversy and discussions of genetics as a 'democratic' science in postwar Japan.
A controversial idea as a cultural resource : The Lysenko controversy and discussions of genetics as a 'democratic' science in postwar Japan.

IIDA, Kaori

45 ( 4 )  , pp.546 - 569 , 2015-08-12 , Sage Publications / Beverly Hills Ca
ISSN:0306-31271460-3659
NCID:http://ci.nii.ac.jp/ncid/AA00431052
Description
The Japanese discussion of the theory of Soviet agronomist Trofim D. Lysenko began in the postwar years under the American occupation. Leftists introduced Lysenko's theory immediately after the war as part of a postwar scientists' movement. Unlike many American geneticists, who sharply criticized the theory, Japanese geneticists initially participated in the discussion in an even-handed way; their scientific interests in the roles of cytoplasm and the environment in heredity shaped their initial sympathetic reaction. As the Cold War divide deepened, however, Japanese scientists began expressing sharp anti-Lysenko criticisms that resembled the American criticisms. Interestingly, throughout the period, Japanese geneticists' overall aim in the discussion remained largely unchanged: to effectively reconstruct their discipline and maintain its proper image and authority. However, the shift in their reaction occurred due to an evolving sociopolitical context, especially the shift in the meaning of 'democratic' science from a science that employed democratic processes to a science of a liberal-democratic state. Regarding Lysenko's idea as a cultural resource could help to explain how and why it was treated differently in different places, and why a controversy emerged in certain contexts but not in others.

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