The aim of this article is to use the episode of the baby allegedly cloned by the Raelians and born on the day after Christmas 2002 in order to analyse what is threatened by the prospect of cloning as a reproductive method, and why it is a matter of such importance as to provoke immediate and general condemnation. The announcement made by the Raelians provoked public debate in the media. Therefore, analysis of the articles published in the main Italian newspapers during that period allows exploration of the hypothesis that the Raelians' attempt of cloning was generally interpreted as a threat against the basis of our conception of human identity, not only at the individual level - which defines each of us as a balance between difference and continuity - but also at the social level, where human identity is the result of a classification system in which human beings are identified in contrast to other living beings. For these reasons, the case of the Raelians is of particular interest because it strains the reproduction/identity nexus in an extreme way which highlights what otherwise may lie buried beneath a thick layer of taken-for-granted beliefs.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Sociology, University of Padua, Padova, Italy
Publication date: August 1, 2007