9 December 2005, EMBL Monterotondo (Rome)

Biosociality: The genetic way to a culture of life

Karin Knorr Cetina, University of Konstanz and Chicago

In this argument, I will distinguish between several major ways in which genetics and associated biological factors mapped and articulated by the life sciences influence and redefine society. These include recategorization, the rise of genealogy, population politics and 'biostyle'. These venues of influence make more concrete the long accepted view that biology and the environment, or biological and social factors somehow 'interact' in producing individual features and collective outcomes, or that they 'jointly influence'and co-construct these features. These venues point to a potential replacement of enlightenment ideas and of human-centered and synchronizing notions of sociality. I will also look at the rise or moral debates and traditional arguments as signature features of such a transition.