Handbook of Biology and Politics
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Handbook of Biology and Politics

Edited by Steven A. Peterson and Albert Somit

The study of biology and politics (or biopolitics) has gained considerable currency in recent years, as articles on the subject have appeared in mainstream journals and books on the subject have been well received. The literature has increased greatly since the 1960s and 1970s, when this specialization first made an appearance. This volume assesses the contributions of biology to political science. Chapters focus on general biological approaches to politics, biopolitical contributions to mainstream areas within political science, and linkages between biology and public policy. The volume provides readers with a comprehensive introduction to the subject.
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Chapter 27: Engineering the future: new frontiers for biopolitics

Amy L. Fletcher


Against the backdrop of rapid incremental and disruptive technological change, this chapter introduces three key issues whose analysis is crucial to the future of biopolitics as a scholarly field: de-extinction, geo-engineering, and the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI). These issues emerge from the disparate fields of molecular biology, civil and environmental engineering, and astrobiology, respectively, but also converge with social scientific research agendas in the anticipatory governance of science and technology, the analysis of risk and uncertainty, and public engagement with science. They also collide with the controversial concept of the Anthropocene, which holds that mankind has entered a new geological era, distinct from the Holocene, in which our technologies now drive evolution and our human impact on Earth’s natural processes is unprecedented and irreversible. I discuss the major challenges and opportunities each of these issues poses for biopolitical analysis, then conclude by highlighting major themes that work across the three issues in order to suggest productive research avenues for the future of the biopolitics.

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