[artinfo] CFP: Culture Machine 7 - Biopolitics

gary hall gary.hall at connectfree.co.uk
Mon Jun 14 10:17:04 CEST 2004


February, 2005


Editors for this issue: Melinda Cooper and Andrew Goffey

The last two decades have witnessed an unprecedented economic, social and
cultural valorisation of the life sciences and its technologies. While
the integration of 'biological life' into the strategies of capital
accumulation is far from new, the scale, scope and modalities of the
current endeavour surpass any previous attempts. The language of
molecular biology has not only brought all the branches of the applied
life sciences (agricultural, pharmaceutical, biomedical) under one
genetic standard, it has also provided a pervasive set of tropes for the
organisation and understanding of social relations and cultural
exchange. At the same time, the extension of patent law to cover the
generative elements of biological life is transforming our legal
conceptions of invention, property and life itself. It is not surprising,
then, that the same period has been one of intense theoretical debate
within the life sciences, opposing the champions of genetic determinism
to various anti-reductionist critiques, including the new perspectives
opened up by chaos and complexity theory.

In the wake of the Human Genome Project, it could be argued that the
'biotechnological revolution' is already entering its second
'post-genomic' phase, embarking on new experiments in stem cell and
tissue engineering as well as investing in the field of bioterrorism. It
is all the more important, at this point, then, to take stock of both the
recent past and emerging futures of the life sciences.

It is in the context of these events that the Foucauldian concept of
'biopolitics' has acquired a renewed signficance within the humanities.
Theorists such as Giorgio Agamben and Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri
have extended the concept of 'biopolitics' far beyond the original
context in which Foucault deployed it, but with what effect? The
indiscriminate use of the term  'biopolitics' and its cognate 'biopower'
as it is currently encountered in the humanities tends to remain
abstracted from the scientific, cultural and political complexities of
the life sciences per se.

The aim of the Biopolitics issue of Culture Machine is to create a
discursive space in which the life sciences and the humanities are open
to mutual encounter and challenge. It is hoped that this will stimulate
the development of a more productive and more focused theoretical
framework for thinking through the question of 'biopolitics'.

Contributions concerned with the contemporary social, cultural,
techno-scientific, economic and political issues in and around the life
sciences are currently sought. Interdisciplinary contributions are
especially welcome.
Anyone with material they would like to submit for inclusion is invited
to contact the editors for this issue:

Melinda Cooper  Melinda.Cooper at scmp.mq.edu.au
Andrew Goffey   a.goffey at mdx.ac.uk

Final deadline for accepted articles: 15 October 2004

Dr Gary Hall
Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies, Middlesex University
Co-editor of Culture Machine http://www.culturemachine.net
My website http://www.garyhall.info

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