“Newgenics”: A Comparison Study of Parents of Children with Down Syndrome in Denmark and The United States

Name: Lauren Ganson
Major: Sociology
Minor: Psychology
Advisor: Tom Tierney, Heather Fitz Gibbon

This study analyzes and compares the experiences and choices of parents with children with Down Syndrome in the United States and Denmark. I am studying how these experiences and choices are formed by societal norms and professional opinions and how this has led to a rise in eugenics against individuals with Down Syndrome. I use Foucault’s and Agamben’s theories of biopolitics and biopower, Agamben’s theory of bare life, Canguilhem’s theory of normal to pathological, and Gilman’s theory of feminist eugenics to explain how eugenics has come back into acceptance in the form of Newgenics. To do this, I conducted six interviews with parents in the United States and used previous research on mothers in Denmark as a comparison. I found that mothers in the United States and Denmark are faced with negative and stressful experiences caused by societal norms and professional opinions, and this has worked together to make Newgenics not only possible but acceptable. It is important to reflect on how societal norms, pressures, and opinions shape not only other people’s decisions but also liberate movements such as Newgenics that put entire populations at risk.


Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2023 on April 14, 2023.

3 responses to ““Newgenics”: A Comparison Study of Parents of Children with Down Syndrome in Denmark and The United States”

  1. Zoe Seymore says:

    So cool! Congrats Lauren!!

  2. Prof. Claire Eager says:

    This is a fascinating project, Lauren–congratulations! And I note the interdisciplinary crossover on the “How I Got Here” slide: I’m so glad we got to learn about the camp from an English-ENVS perspective this semester in our Green Shade: Poems in Place class.

  3. Prof Cowing says:

    I’m so impressed that you’re bringing in Foucault and Agamben to talk about eugenics. This is a super cool way to build on you camp experience. Congratulations, Lauren!

Related Posts

Alix Printup '23

I.S. research explores psychology’s approach to historical trauma within Indigenous community

Audrey Klosterman '23

Theatre student examines and executes stage adaptation

Zoe Seymour '23

‘Overlooked Adoptees’ I.S. research earns Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Award at the Senior Research Symposium

Related Areas of Study


Closely affiliated with the Anthropology program, sociology majors at The College of Wooster take core courses in research methods and theory.

Major Minor


Do research, work with faculty mentors, and tailor a psychology program to your interests

Major Minor

Connect with Wooster