Sergei Yu. Shevchenko
Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences
Biocapitalism and the ‘temporal infrastructure’ of biotechnologies
Abstract. The concept of biocapitalism was proposed to study specific forms of social dynamics arising from the perception of human biology in the logic of investment. The author shows that the phenomenon of biocapitalism advances due to the difference in social, biological, and other “local times” considered in the article from the viewpoint of the “time studies” program proposed by Helga Nowotny. Both social time and biological time can lose unity, breaking up into the duration of the disease, the epidemiologic cycles, the duration of pregnancy or maturation. On the other hand, one “local time” can serve as a point of unification, a mediator for the other two. In addition, our research perspective corresponds to the post-ELSI view on the role of philosophy. In this regard, the second approach is the constructive philosophy of technology, developed by Philip Brey (Netherlands) to achieve the objectives of responsible research and innovation. Through the use of these two approaches, we make an attempt of transdisciplinary examination of modern technological cases and some aspects of the genealogy of technology. “Local time” areas are constructed and connected along with development and distribution of new technologies – biotechnologies, as a rule. The author suggests naming this process the creation of a “temporal infrastructure” of biotechnologies. He proposes a preliminary model of such infrastructure, which ensures the development of biocapitalism: biotechnologies create local times for biological objects; the biotechnology market opens up the possibility of gluing these local times to social ones. Through the study of these processes, we can use the concept of biocapitalism not only for external criticism of the social consequences of new technologies, but also for a humanitarian expert’s participation in the value-sensitive design of their “temporal infrastructure”.
Keywords: biocapitalism, social expectations, post-ELSI approaches, constructive philosophy of technology, time studies, ‘temporal infrastructure’, humanitarian expertise
The reported study was funded by RFBR and BRFBR according to the research project № 19–511-04003
- Afonasin, E.V., Afonasina, A.S. Ocherki istorii antichnoi meditsiny [Essays on the History of Ancient Medicine]. Saint Petersburg: Publishing House RSAH, 2017. 339 pp. (In Russian)
- Balmer, A.S., Bulpin, K. Left to Their Own Devices: Post-ELSI, Ethical Equipment and the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition, BioSocieties, 2013, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 311–335. DOI: 10.1057/biosoc.2013.13.
- Balmer, A.S., Calvert, J., Marris, C., Molyneux-Hodgson, S., Frow, E., Kearnes, M., Bulpin, K., Schyfter, P., Mackenzie, A., Martin, P. Taking Roles in Interdisciplinary Collaborations: Reflections on Working in Post-ELSI Spaces, Science and Technology Studies, 2015, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 3–25.
- Bedini, S.A. The Pulse of Time: Galileo Galilei, the Determination of Longitude, and the Pendulum Clock. Firenze: L.S. Olschki, 1991. 132 pp.
- Brey, P.A.E. Constructive Philosophy of Technology and Responsible Innovation. In: Franssen, M, Vermaas, P.E., Kroesand, P., Meijers, A.W.M. (eds.), Philosophy of Technology after the Empirical Turn. Philosophy of Engineering and Technology, no. 23. Cham: Springer, 2016, pp. 127–143. DOI: 10.1007/978–3-319–33717-3_8.
- Brey, P. The Strategic Role of Technology in a Good Society, Technology in Society, 2018, vol. 52, pp. 39–45. DOI: 10.1016/j.techsoc.2017.02.002.
- Elias, N. Time: An Essay. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 1993.200 pp.
- Eshuis, J., van Buuren, A. Innovations in Water Governance: The Importance of Time, International Review of Administrative Sciences, 2014, vol. 80, no. 2, pp. 401–420. DOI: 10.1177/0020852313514518.
- Helmreich, S. Species of Biocapital, Science as Culture, 2008, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 463–478.
- Nowotny, H. Time and Social Theory: Towards a Social Theory of Time, Time & Society, 1992, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 421–454. DOI: 10.1177/0961463X92001003006.
- Pescosolido, B.A., Martin, J.K., McLeod, J.D., Rogers, A. Handbook of the Sociology of Health, Illness, and Healing: A Blueprint for the 21st Century. New York: Springer Science & Business Media, 2010. 571 pp.
- Rabinow, P., Bennett, G. Designing Human Practices: An Experiment with Synthetic Biology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. 200 pp.
- Tishchenko, P.D. Biovlast v epokhu biotekhnologii [Biopower in the Era of Biotechnology]. Moscow: IPHRAS Publ., 2001. 182 pp. (In Russian)
- Valleriani, M. Galileo Engineer. Dordrecht: Springer Science & Business Media, 2010. 320 pp.