Conquest of Body: Biopower with Biotechnology

Springer
Free sample

This book reflects on the phenomenon of biotechnology and how it affects the body and discusses a number of related issues, including visualization, mediation, and epistemology.

The author offers a compelling thesis, arguing that the exploration of the human body has one ultimate aim: to gain knowledge of it and to conquer it. Exploration of body has an intrinsic link to power, since knowledge is constitutive for the power over the body. Ultimately the conquest of body means the power to intervene into life processes.

The book breaks new ground with its study of body visualizations, from the Renaissance drawings to the medical imaging. In particular, it investigates their complex mediality. It also considers the extension and the reach of biopower that is now possible thanks to a wide range of engineering applications.

The author originally questions the research approach by rethinking the relationship between mental and sensual examination. She takes into consideration the epistemological problem of the two modes of exploration: obtaining knowledge from empirical exploration and projecting that knowledge to the object of exploration.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer
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Published on
May 26, 2017
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Pages
100
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ISBN
9783319573243
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Aesthetics
Philosophy / Epistemology
Philosophy / General
Science / General
Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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New biotechnologies have propelled the question of what it means to be human – or posthuman – to the forefront of societal and scientific consideration. This volume provides an accessible, critical overview of the main approaches in the debate on posthumanism, and argues that they do not adequately address the question of what it means to be human in an age of biotechnology. Not because they belong to rival political camps, but because they are grounded in a humanist ontology that presupposes a radical separation between human subjects and technological objects.

The volume offers a comprehensive mapping of posthumanist discourse divided into four broad approaches—two humanist-based approaches: dystopic and liberal posthumanism, and two non-humanist approaches: radical and methodological posthumanism. The author compares and contrasts these models via an exploration of key issues, from human enhancement, to eugenics, to new configurations of biopower, questioning what role technology plays in defining the boundaries of the human, the subject and nature for each.

Building on the contributions and limitations of radical and methodological posthumanism, the author develops a novel perspective, mediated posthumanism, that brings together insights in the philosophy of technology, the sociology of biomedicine, and Michel Foucault’s work on ethical subject constitution. In this framework, technology is neither a neutral tool nor a force that alienates humanity from itself, but something that is always already part of the experience of being human, and subjectivity is viewed as an emergent property that is constantly being shaped and transformed by its engagements with biotechnologies. Mediated posthumanism becomes a tool for identifying novel ethical modes of human experience that are richer and more multifaceted than current posthumanist perspectives allow for.

The book will be essential reading for students and scholars working on ethics and technology, philosophy of technology, poststructuralism, technology and the body, and medical ethics.

Nuclear energy, stem cell technology, GMOs: the more science advances, the more society seems to resist. But are we really watching a death struggle between opposing forces, as so many would have it? Can today’s complex technical policy decisions coincide with the needs of a participatory democracy? Are the two sides even equipped to talk to each other?

Beyond Technocracy: Science, Politics and Citizens answers these questions with clarity and vision. Drawing upon a broad range of data and events from the United States and Europe, and noting the blurring of the expert/lay divide in the knowledge base, the book argues that these conflicts should not be dismissed as episodic, or the outbursts of irrationality and ignorance, but recognized as a critical opportunity to discuss the future in which we want to live. Massimiano Bucchi’s analysis covers the complex realities of post-academic science as he:

Explores the widely debated theme of science and democracy across a broad range of technological controversies.

Overviews issues raised by the current relationship among scientists, policymakers, business interests, and the public.

Dispels stereotypes of the detached scientific community versus the uninformed general public.

Examines the role of the media in framing scientific debate.

Addresses the question of how to move beyond technocracy to a more fruitful collaboration between scientists and citizens.

Offers a bold vision for a future in which the scientific and public spheres regard each other as partners working toward a shared purpose.

Beyond Technocracy: Science, Politics and Citizens has great value as a postgraduate text for courses in technology and society, political science, and science policy. It will also find an interested audience among scientists, policymakers, managers in the technological sector, and concerned lay readers.

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