9 November 2010
Tuesday 9 November 2010, 17:15 - 18:30 - Banton Lecture Theatre (2D3), Social Sciences Complex, Priory Road. Wine reception to follow.
New biotechnologies, together with a neo-liberal global regulatory climate, have given rise to free markets in human eggs, private umbilical cord blood banking, commercial surrogacy arrangements between wealthy Westerners and women from the Asian subcontinent, and the wholesale patenting of the human genome.Traditional bioethics, with its emphasis on autonomy of the individual patient, is ill-equipped to deal with the ensuing dilemmas about commodification, exploitation and justice.
Two alternative concepts will be explored in this lecture: first, ‘biocapital’—the accumulation of capital through the commodification of human tissue, in an economic situation where ‘promissory technologies’ constitute the principal but speculative source of value for commercial firms. The second concept, ‘the feminisation of all bodies’, concerns the way in which all bodies, whether or not biologically female, have become potential objects of commodification and capital accumulation for the globalised biotechnology industry.