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Life as Surplus

Biotechnology and Capitalism in the Neoliberal Era

by Melinda Cooper

Publication Year: 2008

Published by: University of Washington Press



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p. ix

I would like to thank Fran├žoise Duroux, for being such a generous, provocative doctoral supervisor; Brian Salter, for being a mover and shaker and for providing me with such an enabling environment at the University of East Anglia; Brian Massumi, for being so inspiring; Mick Dillon, Elspeth Probyn, Rosi Braidotti, and Joseph Dumit, for their professional and intellectual...

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pp. 3-14

The early 1980s inaugurated an era of intense conceptual, institutional, and technological creativity in the life sciences and its allied disciplines. Not only did discoveries in molecular biology, cell biology, and microbiology promise to deliver new technological possibilities, they also called into question many of the founding assumptions of the twentieth-century life sciences...

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1. Life Beyond the Limits: Inventing the Bioeconomy

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pp. 15-50

The contemporary biotech industry was born in a context of intense speculation about the future of U.S. science and technology. After acting as the motor of international economic growth in the decades following World War II, the United States was traversing a period of decline, whose effects on world economic relations had yet to become clear. This...

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2. On Pharmaceutical Empire: AIDS, Security, and Exorcism

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pp. 51-73

Throughout the 1980s a new consensus gradually took hold of the international political community. The AIDS epidemic was no longer a global public health issue (as UNAIDS had tried to establish under the leadership of Jonathan Mann) but rather the preeminent security threat of the twenty-first century. In all its sexual and social complexities, AIDS was to be...

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3. Preempting Emergence: The Biological Turn in the War on Terror

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pp. 74-100

In 2004, three years after the sporadic and still unresolved anthrax attacks that followed September 11, the Bush administration became the first in U.S. history to implement a national defense strategy against biological threats. In the same year the U.S. Congress also approved the largest ever funding project for biodefense research, to be carried out over the following decade. The...

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pp. 101-102

The first three chapters of this book were concerned with the disciplines of molecular biology, microbiology, and infectious disease research. There I was primarily interested in biotechnologies that mobilize the productive capacities of microbial life...

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4. Contortions: Tissue Engineering and the Topological Body

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pp. 103-128

The field of regenerative medicine, which combines stem cell science and tissue engineering, has been hailed as a second-generation model of earlier biomedical technologies, such as prosthetics and organ transplantation. It has also been associated with a return to "mechanistic" or "architectural" theories of biology in which the engineering of forces and relations (stress...

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5. Labors of Regeneration: Stem Cells and the Embryoid Bodies of Capital

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pp. 129-151

The field of stem cell research has a complex history that can be traced back to multiple sites of origin. One of these is certainly the field of human reproductive medicine. In a 2001 article on the subject, R. G. Edwards, one of the biologists responsible for the first successful experiments in in vitro fertilization, argues that the first attempts to culture embryonic stem (ES) cells...

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6. The Unborn Born Again: Neo-Imperialism, the Evangelical Right, and the Culture of Life

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pp. 152-173

In early 2002, George W. Bush issued a press release proclaiming January 22 as National Sanctity of Human Life Day (White House 2002). In the speech he delivered for the occasion, Bush reminded the public that the American nation was founded on certain inalienable rights, chief among them being the right to life. The speech is remarkable in that it assiduously duplicates...

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pp. 175-176

The first chapter of this book began in the atmosphere of intense paranoia and speculation that accompanied the American economic crisis of the 1970s. At this time the object of its paranoia was Japan, whose newly energized economy was credited with having invented the methods of post- Fordism and flexible accumulation. And although most analyses of the time...


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pp. 177-194


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pp. 195-211


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pp. 212-222

E-ISBN-13: 9780295990316
E-ISBN-10: 0295990317
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295987910
Print-ISBN-10: 029598791X

Publication Year: 2008

Series Editor Byline: Edited by PHILLIP THURTLE, Associate Professor, Comparative History of Ideas Program, University of Washington, and ROBERT MITCHELL, Professor of English and Director, Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Science and Cultural Theory, Duke University. See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 701103973
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Life as Surplus

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Subject Headings

  • Capitalism -- Health aspects -- United States.
  • Biotechnology -- Political aspects -- United States.
  • Life sciences -- Political aspects -- United States.
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