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  • Comparative Studies in Society and History, Volume 51, Issue 2
  • April 2009, pp. 288-313

Biosocial Relations of Production

  • Gísli Pálsson (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 2009

Nowadays, life itself is one of the most active zones of capitalist production. Not only has biology been upgraded to Big Science, biological material and information are increasingly the subject of engineering, banking, reproduction, and exchange. The description and broad implications of the refiguring of life itself and its intrusion into economics and politics represent some of the most important issues on the academic agenda at the beginning of the twenty-first century (Pálsson 2007). Foucault's works on biopolitics (see, for instance, Foucault 1994) have obviously contributed critical insights with respect to the current refashioning of the human body, illuminating the political and governmental dimensions of these developments (Inda 2005; Rose 2006; Gottweis and Peterson 2008; Nowotny and Testa 2009; Lock and Nguyen 2009). Recently, a series of scholars have revisited the early writings of Marx, sometimes in combination with Foucauldian perspectives, in their attempt to make sense of the political economy of modern biotechnology, including the fragmenting of body parts and the labor process involved. One of the emerging themes in current discussions relates to the conception and role of labor in the reproduction of bodies and body parts. While Marx may not be an obvious source of innovative perspectives on the modern production of human biovalue, a somewhat unique industry that had not arrived in his time, his early works offer useful insights into contemporary developments.

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Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
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