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Estudos Feministas

Print version ISSN 0104-026X


FONSECA, Claudia. The certainty that engendered doubt: paternity and DNA.Translated byJeffrey Holff. Estud. fem. [online]. 2006, vol.1Selected edition, pp. 0-0. ISSN 0104-026X.

There has been a surge in the use of DNA paternity tests in Brazil in both private and government laboratories. This raises interesting questions about the influence of the medical and legal spheres on gender and kinship relations in contemporary society. To analyze this phenomenon, we conducted research and observations in various government agencies in Porto Alegre (the Public Defender's office, Mediation Hearings, Family Court and the Court's Medical Service) of people involved in legal disputes over paternal identification. We also studied how recent changes in the laws concerning paternal recognition are applied by the different personalities on the scene. Based on this data, we present the hypothesis that far from inspiring greater tranquility, the simple existence of the test instigates doubt. This has profound repercussions on our form of "knowing" who is the father. The situation described in this paper raises new challenges for an anthropology of knowledge, which focuses on an analysis of Western beliefs - including scientific ones.

Keywords : paternity; reproduction; family law; DNA technology; gender relations.

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