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Changing Life

Genomes, Ecologies, Bodies, Commodities

1997

Peter J. Taylor, Saul E. Halfon, and Paul N. Edwards, editors

Changing Life

A fascinating look at how the culture of today’s life sciences affects our culture.

Drawn from disciplines within science and technology studies and from geography, ecology, and developmental biology, the contributors offer a close look at how the mutable forms and concepts of life link the processes of science to those of information, finance, and commodities.

Contributors: Simon Cole, Scott Gilbert, Herbert Gottweis, Yrjö Haila, Rosaleen Love, and Richard A. Schroeder.

Changing Life is the strongest collective bid to date to make science and technology studies a politically relevant academic practice. The unmistakable vision of Donna Haraway, very much in evidence in these pages, serves notice to those who still doubt that science, politics, and STS can be mutually enhancing activities. General readers will be especially provoked by Scott Gilbert's reasoned defense of biology as not merely the new queen of the sciences but the very centerpiece of liberal education in the 21st century.

Steve Fuller, Founding editor, Social Epistemology, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy,University of Durham, UK

In laboratories all over the world, life—even the idea of life—is changing. And with these changes, whether they result in square tomatoes or cyborgs, come transformations in our social order-sometimes welcome, sometimes troubling, depending on where we stand. Changing Life offers a close look at how the mutable forms and concepts of life link the processes of science to those of information, finance, and commodities.

The contributors, drawn from disciplines within science and technology studies and from geography, ecology, and developmental biology, provide a range of interpretive angles on the metaphors, narratives, models, and practices of the life sciences. Their essays—about planetary management and genome sequencing, ecologies and cyborgs—address actual and imagined transformations at the center and at the margins of transnational relations, during the post-Cold War era and in times to come. They consider such topics as the declining regulatory state, ascendant transnational networks, and capital’s legal reign over intellectual property, life-form patents, and marketable pollution licenses.

Changing Life argues that we cannot understand the power of the life sciences in modern society without exploring the intersections of science and technology with other cultural realms. To that end, this book represents a collective attempt to join the insights of science and technology studies and cultural studies. As a work of cultural politics, it makes a contribution to changing life in a context of changing social order.

Contributors: Simon Cole, Cornell U; Scott Gilbert, Swarthmore College; Herbert Gottweis, U of Salzburg; Yrjö Haila, U of Tampere, Finland; Rosaleen Love, Victoria U of Technology, Melbourne, Australia; and Richard A. Schroeder, Rutgers.

Changing Life

Peter J. Taylor is Eugene Lang Professor of Social Change at Swarthmore College. Saul E. Halfon is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University. Paul N. Edwards is acting assistant professor in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at Stanford University.

Changing Life

Changing Life is the strongest collective bid to date to make science and technology studies a politically relevant academic practice. The unmistakable vision of Donna Haraway, very much in evidence in these pages, serves notice to those who still doubt that science, politics, and STS can be mutually enhancing activities. General readers will be especially provoked by Scott Gilbert's reasoned defense of biology as not merely the new queen of the sciences but the very centerpiece of liberal education in the 21st century.

Steve Fuller, Founding editor, Social Epistemology, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy,University of Durham, UK

Changing Life

Contents

Introduction: Changing Life in the New World Dis/Order Paul N. Edwards, Peter J. Taylor, and Saul E. Halfon

The Terminator Meets Commander Data: Cyborg Identity in the New World Order Paul N. Edwards
Bodies of Knowledge: Biology and the Intercultural University Scott F. Gilbert
Genetic Engineering, Discourses of Deficiency, and the New Politics of Population Herbert Gottweis
Contradictions along the Commodity Road to Environmental Stabilization: Foresting Gambian Gardens Richard A. Schroeder
Discipline or Solidarity? Ecology as Politics Yrjo Haila
Over populating the World: Notes toward a Discursive Reading Saul E. Halfon
How Do We Know We Have Global Environmental Problems? Undifferentiated Science-Politics and Its Potential Reconstruction Peter J. Taylor
Do Androids Pulverize Tiger Bones to Use as Aphrodisiacs? Simon A. Cole
Bubbles in the Cosmic Saucepan Rosaleen Love

Afterword: Shifting Positions for Knowing and Intervening in the Cultural Politics of the Life Sciences Peter J. Taylor

Contributors

Index