Advertisement

Species of Biocapital, 2008, and Speciating Biocapital, 2017

  • Stefan Helmreich
  • Nicole Labruto

Abstract

Many scholars in science studies have sought to theorize the conjunction of capitalism and biotechnology. A variety of terms have been forwarded to name how ‘life’ in the age of genomics, stem cell research, and reproductive technology has become enmeshed in market dynamics, and no term has become so prominent as biocapital. In this chapter, we classify articulations of this concept, arguing that definitions center on two transformations: in biotic substance and in economic speculation and sentiment. In experimenting with ways of representing diverse species of biocapital, we offer a timeline of intellectual history and a genealogy of scholarship. We conclude with an update on where biocapital conversations have headed since 2008, when the body of this chapter was originally composed.

Notes

Acknowledgments

Thanks to Samer Alatout, Kean Birch, Joseph Dumit, Sarah Franklin, Hannah Landecker, Vincent Lépinay, Bill Maurer, Heather Paxson, Ramya Rajagopalan, Sophia Roosth, and Michael Rossi for comments. Nicole Labruto and Stefan Helmreich thank Maurizio Meloni for soliciting this revision of the original ‘Species of Biocapital.’

References

  1. Acero, Liliana. 2012. Biocapital, Biopolitics and Biosocialities, Reframing Health, Livelihoods and Environments with New Genetics and Biotechnology. In Women Reclaiming Sustainable Livelihoods, ed. W. Harcourt, 221–237. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Almond, Doglas, and Currie Janet. 2011. Killing Me Softly: The Fetal Origins Hypothesis. Journal of Economic Perspectives 25 (3): 153–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aristotle. 1981. The Politics. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  4. Balzano, Angela. 2015. Biocapitale e potenza generativa postumana. Per una critica delle biotecnologie riproduttive transpecie. La camera blu 11 (12): 29–46.Google Scholar
  5. Bataille, Georges. 1967. The Accursed Share, Volume I: Consumption. New York: Zone.Google Scholar
  6. Beer, Gillian. 2000. Darwin’s Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Birch, Kean. 2016. Rethinking Value in the Bio-economy: Finance, Assetization, and the Management of Value. Science, Technology and Human Values, August 10. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0162243916661633
  8. Birch, Kean, and David Tyfield. 2013. Theorizing the Bioeconomy: Biovalue, Biocapital, Bioeconomics or … What? Science, Technology, and Human Values 38 (3): 299–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1991 [1982]. Language and Symbolic Power. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Boyd, William. 2003. Wonderful Potencies? Deep Structure and the Problem of Monopoly in Agricultural Biotechnology. In Engineering Trouble: Biotechnology and its Discontents, ed. R.A. Schurman and D.D.T. Kelso, 24–62. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  11. Cohen, Lawrence. 2005. Operability, Bioavailability, and Exception. In Global Assemblages: Technology, Politics, and Ethics as Anthropological Problems, ed. A. Ong and S. Collier, 124–143. Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  12. Comaroff, Jean, and John L. Comaroff. 2000. Millennial Capitalism: First Thoughts on a Second Coming. Public Culture 12 (2): 291–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cambrosio, Alberto, C. Limoges, J.P. Courtial, and F. Laville. 1993. Historical Scientometrics? Mapping Over 70 Years of Biological Safety Research with Coword Analysis. Scientometrics 27 (2): 119–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cooper, Melinda. 2007. Life, Autopoiesis, Debt: Inventing the Bioeconomy. Distinktion 14: 25–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. ———. 2008. Life as Surplus: Biotechnology and Capitalism in the Neoliberal Era. Seattle: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
  16. David, Pierre-Marie, G. Girard, and V-K. Nguyen. 2015. AIDS & biocapitalisation. Books & Ideas.net. http://www.booksandideas.net/AIDS-Biocapitalisation.html
  17. de Chadarevian, Soraya. 2002. Designs for Life: Molecular Biology after World War II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Derry, Margaret. 2003. Bred for Perfection: Shorthorn Cattle, Collies, and Arabian Horses since 1800. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Dumit, Joe. 2012. Prescription Maximization and the Accumulation of Surplus Health in the Pharmaceutical Industry: The_Biomarx_Experiment. In Lively Capital, ed. K. Sunder Rajan, 45–92. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Engels, Friedrich. 1884. The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State in the Light of the Researches of Lewis Henry Morgan. New York: International Publishers, 1972.Google Scholar
  21. Fischer, Michael. 2013. Biopolis: Asian Science in the Global Circuitry. Science, Technology & Society 18 (3): 381–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fitzgerald, Deborah. 1990. The Business of Breeding: Hybrid Corn in Illinois, 1890-1940. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Fortun, Michael. 1999. Projecting Speed Genomics. In The Practices of Human Genetics. Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook 21, ed. M. Fortun and E. Mendelsohn, 25–48. Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. ———. 2001. Mediated Speculations in the Genomics Futures Markets. New Genetics and Society 20 (2): 139–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. ———. 2002. The Human Genome Project: Past, Present, and Future Anterior. In Science, History, and Social Activism: A Tribute to Everett Mendelsohn, ed. E.A. Garland and R.M. MacLeod, 339–362. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  26. ———. 2008. Promising Genomics: Iceland and deCODE Genetics in a World of Speculation. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  27. Foucault, Michel. 1978. The History of Sexuality, Volume 1. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  28. Franklin, Sarah. 1997. Dolly: A New Form of Genetic Breedwealth. Environmental Values 6: 427–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. ———. 2003. Ethical Biocapital. In Remaking Life and Death: Toward an Anthropology of the Biosciences, ed. S. Franklin and M. Lock, 97–127. Santa Fe: SAR Press.Google Scholar
  30. ———. 2006. Bio-economies: Biowealth from the Inside Out. Development 49 (4): 97–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. ———. 2007. Dolly Mixtures: The Remaking of Genealogy. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Franklin, Sarah, and Margaret Lock. 2003. Animation and Cessation. In Remaking Life and Death: Toward an Anthropology of the Biosciences, ed. S. Franklin and M. Lock, 3–22. Santa Fe: SAR Press.Google Scholar
  33. Franklin, Sarah, and H. Ragoné. 1998. Introduction. In Reproducing Reproduction: Kinship, Power, and Technological Innovation, ed. S. Franklin and H. Ragoné, 1–14. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  34. Fullwiley, Duana. 2007. The Molecularization of Race: Institutionalizing Human Difference in Pharmacogenetics Research. Science as Culture 16 (1): 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Gaudillière, Jean-Paul. 2014. An Indian Path to Biocapital? The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library, Drug Patents, and the Reformulation Regime of Contemporary Ayurveda. East Asian Science, Technology and Society 8 (4): 391–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Gibson-Graham, J.K. 1996. The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  37. Happe, Kelly. 2015. Capital, Gender, and Politics: Toward a Marxist Feminist Theory of Convergence. Media Tropes 5 (1): 25–57.Google Scholar
  38. Haraway, Donna. 1997. Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium.FemaleMan©_Meets_OncoMouse™: Feminism and Technoscience. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  39. ———. 2008. When Species Meet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  40. Harris, Olivia, and Kate Young. 1981. Engendered Structures: Some Problems in the Analysis of Reproduction. In The Anthropology of Pre-capitalist Societies, ed. J.S. Kahn and J.R. Llobera, 109–147. London: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Harvey, David. 1989. The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  42. Hauskeller, Christine, and Lorenzo Beltrame. 2016. The Hybrid Bioeconomy of Umbilical Cord Blood Banking: Re-examining the Narrative of Opposition between Public and Private Services. BioSocieties 11 (4): 415–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hayden, Cori. 2003. When Nature Goes Public: The Making and Unmaking of Bioprospecting in Mexico. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Heckman, James J. 2007. The Economics, Technology, and Neuroscience of Human Capability Formation. PNAS 104 (33): 13250–13255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Heller, C. 2001. McDonalds, MTV, and Monsanto: Resisting Biotechnology in the Age of Informational Capital. In Redesigning Life? The Worldwide Challenge to Genetic Engineering, ed. B. Tokar, 405–419. London: Zed Books. http://www.social-ecology.org/article.php?story=20031028150738895.Google Scholar
  46. Helmreich, Stefan. 2007. Blue-green Capital, Biotechnological Circulation and An Oceanic Imaginary: A Critique of Biopolitical Economy. BioSocieties 2 (3): 287–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Hogle, Linda. 1999. Recovering the Nation’s Body: Cultural Memory, Medicine, and the Politics of Redemption. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Idrus, N., and A. Hardon. 2015. Chemicals, Biocapital and the Everyday Lives of Sex Workers in South Sulawesi. In Sex and Sexualities in Contemporary Indonesia: Sexual Politics, Health, Diversity and Representations, ed. L.R. Bennett and S.G. Davies. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  49. Isaac, B. 1993. Retrospective on the Formalist-substantivist Debate. In Research in Economic Anthropology, ed. B. Isaac, 213–233. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  50. Jasanoff, Sheila. 2005. Designs on Nature: Science and Democracy in Europe and the United States. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Kay, Lily. 1993. The Molecular Vision of Life: Caltech, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Rise of the New Biology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Keller, Evelyn Fox. 1995. Refiguring Life: Changing Metaphors of Twentieth-century Biology. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Kirksey, Eben. 2015. The CRISPR Hack: Better, Faster, Stronger. Anthropology Now, April 26. http://anthronow.com/print/the-crispr-hack-better-faster-stronger
  54. Kloppenburg, J.R. 1988. First the Seed: The Political Economy of Plant Biotechnology, 1492–2000. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Lakoff, Andrew. 2005. Pharmaceutical Reason: Knowledge and Value in Global Psychiatry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Landecker, Hannah. 1999. Between Beneficence and Chattel: The Human Biological in Law and Science. Science in Context 12 (1): 203–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. ———. 2016. Antibiotic Resistance and the Biology of History. Body & Society 22 (4): 19–52.Google Scholar
  58. Landecker, Hannah. 2000. Immortality, In Vitro: A History of the HeLa Cell Line. In Biotechnology and Culture: Bodies, Anxieties, Ethics, ed. Paul Brodwin, 53–72. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  59. Landecker, Hannah, and Aron Panofsky. 2013. From Social Structure to Gene Regulation and Back: A Critical Introduction to Environmental Epigenetics for Sociology. Annual Review of Sociology 39: 333–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Larsen, L.T. 2005. Speaking Truth to Biopower: On the Genealogy of Bioeconomy. Distinktion 14: 9–24.Google Scholar
  61. Latour, Bruno, and Steve Woolgar. 1986. Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts, 2nd ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 1st ed. Beverly Hills: Sage, 1979.Google Scholar
  62. Lépinay, Vincent-Antonin. 2007a. Parasitic Formulae: The Case of Capital Guarantee Products. Sociological Review 55: 261–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. ———. 2007b. Economy of the Germ: Capital, Accumulation and Vibration. Economics and Society 36 (4): 526–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Lock, Margaret. 2001. The Alienation of Body Tissue and the Biopolitics of Immortalized Cell Lines. Body & Society 7 (2-3): 63–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. ———. 2002. Twice Dead: Organ Transplants and the Reinvention of Death. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  66. Luther, Martin. 1520. An Appeal to the Ruling Class of German Nationality as to the Amelioration of the State of Christendom. In Martin Luther: Selections from His Writings, ed. J. Dillenberger, 403–488. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1961.Google Scholar
  67. Marco, M., F. Tirado, E. Baleriola, and P. Torrejón. 2015. Biocapitalismo y suspensión de la norma. Nomadas 43: 39–55.Google Scholar
  68. Marx, Karl. 1857–58. The Grundrisse. Excerpted in The Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd ed, R.C. Tucker, (ed.), 221–293. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1978.Google Scholar
  69. ———. 1867. Capital, Volume 1. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  70. Maurer, Bill. 2000. A Fish Story: Rethinking Globalization on Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands. American Ethnologist 27 (3): 670–701.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Meloni, Maurizio, and Giuseppe Testa. 2014. Scrutinizing the Epigenetics Revolution. BioSocieties 9 (4): 431–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Mintz, Sidney. 1985. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  73. Montoya, Michael. 2007. Bioethnic Conscription: Genes, Race, and Mexicana/o Ethnicity in Diabetes Research. Cultural Anthropology 22 (1): 94–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Murphy, Michelle. 2017. The Economization of Life. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Ong, Aiwha. 2016. Fungible Life: Experiment in the Asian City of Life. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Pentecost, Michelle. 2016. Introduction: The First Thousand Days of Life. Somatosphere. http://somatosphere.net/2016/04/introduction-the-first-thousand-days-of-life.html
  77. Petryna, Adriana, A. Lakoff, and A. Kleinman. 2006. Global Pharmaceuticals: Ethics, Markets, Practices. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Rabinow, Paul. 1992. Artificiality and Enlightenment: From Sociobiology to Biosociality. In Incorporations, ed. J. Crary and S. Kwinter, 234–252. New York: Zone.Google Scholar
  79. Raffles, Hugh. 2007. Jews, Lice, and History. Public Culture 19 (3): 521–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Reid, W.V. 1993. Bioprospecting: A Force for Sustainable Development. Environmental Science Technology 27 (9): 1730–1732.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Richardson, Sarah, and Hallam Stevens. 2015. Postgenomics: Perspectives on Biology after the Genome. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Ritvo, Harriet. 1995. Possessing Mother Nature: Genetic Capital in Eighteenth-century Britain. In Early Modern Conceptions of Property, ed. J. Brewer and S. Staves, 413–426. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  83. Rodrigues, R., D. Galindo, F. Lemos, M. Nalli, and D. Santos. 2015. Governo das condutas e subjetividades contemporâneas: o biocapital em questão. Revisa de Ciencias Humanas 49 (2): 41–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Roosth, Sophia. 2013. Biobricks and Crocheted Coral: Dispatches from the Life Sciences in the Age of Fabrication. Science in Context 26 (1): 153–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Rose, Nikolas. 2001. The Politics of Life Itself. Theory, Culture & Society 18 (6): 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. ———. 2007. The Politics of Life Itself: Biomedicine, Power, and Subjectivity in the Twenty-First Century. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. 2001. Commodity Fetishism in Organs Trafficking. Body and Society 7 (2-3): 31–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Sharp, Lesley. 2006. Strange Harvest: Organ Transplants, Denatured Bodies, and the Transformed Self. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  89. Shiva, Vandana. 1997. Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge. Zed.Google Scholar
  90. Shukin, Nicole. 2016. The Biocapital of Living–and the Art of Dying–After Fukushima. Postmodern Culture 29 (2).Google Scholar
  91. Spillers, Hortense. 1987. Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book. Diacritics 17 (2): 65–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Stassart, Pierre. 2003. Metabolizing Risk: Food Scares and the Un/re-making of Belgian Beef. Environment and Planning A 35: 449–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Strathern, Margaret. 1992a. After Nature: English Kinship in the Late Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  94. ———. 1992b. Reproducing the Future: Anthropology, Kinship, and the New Reproductive Technologies. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  95. Sunder Rajan, Kaushik. 2003. Genomic Capital: Public Cultures and Market Logics of Corporate Biotechnology. Science as Culture 12 (1): 87–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. ———. 2006. Biocapital: The Constitution of Postgenomic Life. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. ———. 2012. Lively Capital : Biotechnologies, Ethics, and Governance in Global Markets. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  98. ———. 2007. Experimental values: Indian clinical trials and surplus health. New Left Review 45: 67–88.Google Scholar
  99. TallBear, Kim. 2008. Native-American-DNA.com: In Search of Native American Race and Tribe. In Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age, ed. B. Koenig, S.-J. Lee, and S. Richardson. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  100. Taussig, Karen-Sue, Klaus Hoeyer, and Stefan Helmreich. 2013. The Anthropology of Potentiality in Biomedicine. Current Anthropology 54 (7): 3–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Thacker, Eugene. 2005. The Global Genome: Biotechnology, Politics, and Culture. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  102. Thompson, Charis. 2005. Making Parents: The Ontological Choreography of Reproductive Technologies. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  103. Tsing, Anna. 2015. The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Turrini, Mauro. 2011. Biocapitale: Vita e corpi nell’era del controllo biologico. Verona: Ombre Corte.Google Scholar
  105. Vermeulen, Niki, S. Tamminen, and A. Webster, eds. 2012. Bio-Objects: Life in the 21st Century. Surrey, UK: Ashgate Publishing.Google Scholar
  106. Vora, Kalindi. 2015. Life Support: Biocapital and the New History of Outsourced Labor. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. Waldby, Catherine. 2000. The Visible Human Project: Informatic Bodies and Posthuman Medicine. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  108. ———. 2009. Singapore Biopolis: Bare Life in the City-State. East Asian Science, Technology and Society 3 (2-3): 367–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  109. Weber, Max. 2001 [1905]. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  110. Wright, Susan. 1994. Molecular Politics: Developing American and British Regulatory Policy for Genetic Engineering, 1972–1982. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  111. Yoxen, Edward. 1981. Life As a Productive Force: Capitalizing Upon Research in Molecular Biology. In Science, Technology, and the Labour Process, ed. L. Levidow and R. Young, 66–122. London: Blackrose Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Helmreich
    • 1
  • Nicole Labruto
    • 1
  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations