Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series
Edited by Kees van der Pijl
Chapter 26: Molecular biotechnologies: insights on production through the lens of reproduction
In recent years, the life processes of various organisms, rationalized through molecular engineering, have acquired a new and increasingly important role in production. In the social sciences these transformations have been captured, on the one hand, by analyses that speculate on large-scale social transformations claimed to entail ‘a new face and a new phase of capitalism’ (Sunder Rajan 2006: 3); and on the other, by a number of studies of intellectual property regimes and resource appropriation – that is, essentially of political relations and institutions (Kinchy 2012; McAffee 2003; Pechlander and Otero 2008; Zeller 2008). Existing studies of production based on molecular biotechnologies tend to focus on economic sectors and the rise of new capitals (Cooper 2008; Parry 2004; Sunder Rajan 2006; Zeller 2010), but have largely left unaddressed how the materiality of production has been transformed, that is, how we produce differently as a result of the molecular transformation of living organisms.
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