Edited by Steven A. Peterson and Albert Somit
Chapter 27: Engineering the future: new frontiers for biopolitics
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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