Against the backdrop of unprecedented convergence between the digital and the corporeal in the life sciences, this book examines the ‘meta-code of life’: the conditions under which life is not only known or decoded, but also remade (or recoded) or rematerialised through bioinformatics and material biotechnologies.
Based on a series of STS-style ethnographies and interviews on the development of human biobanks and genomic open data initiatives in plant and animal engineering, the book begins by exploring what is ‘known’, examining the theories about life’s informatic nature and demonstrating how current social theories fail to develop a coherent account of how knowledge about living is configured today. The authors then move to consider the inadequacy of contemporary theory in explaining practices surrounding the value and exchange of engineered bio-objects and the emergence of different kinds of bio-economies.
Exploring the shifting configurations of living materiality in ways that cut across conventional boundaries between the natural and artificial, the living and non-living, this book unsettles the established and familiar ordering of the material world and ways of thinking and acting politically. As such, it will appeal to scholars of science and technology studies and the sociology, philosophy and anthropology of science.
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