Grounding his analysis in a multi-sited ethnography of genomic research and drug development marketplaces in the United States and India, Kaushik Sunder Rajan argues that contemporary biotechnologies such as genomics can only be understood in relation to the economic markets within which they emerge. Sunder Rajan conducted fieldwork in biotechnology labs and in small start-up companies in the United States mostly in the San Francisco Bay area and India mainly in New Delhi, Hyderabad, and Bombay over a five-year period spanning to He draws on his research with scientists, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and policymakers to compare drug development in the two countries, examining the practices and goals of research, the financing mechanisms, the relevant government regulations, and the hype and marketing surrounding promising new technologies. In the process, he illuminates the global flow of ideas, information, capital, and people connected to biotech initiatives. Bringing Marxian theories of value into conversation with Foucaultian notions of biopolitics, he traces how the life sciences came to be significant producers of both economic and epistemic value in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first.
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Show full item record Abstract cont. In the process, this thesis intervenes in social theoretical debates not simply around the nature and production of knowledge and value, but also around the place of larger belief-systems - relating to religion, nation and ethics - in such productive enterprises. It simultaneously intervenes in conceptual debates within cultural anthropology regarding methodological questions that surround the undertaking of comparative ethnographic projects of powerful sites of knowledge production and value generation in a globalized world.
This thesis is concerned with tracking and theorizing the co-production of an emergent technoscientific regime - that of biotechnology in the context of drug development - with an emergent political economic regime that sees the increased prevalence of such research in corporate locales, with corporate agendas and practices.
Hence biocapital, which asks questions of the implications for life sciences when performed in corporations, and for capitalism, when biotechnology becomes a key source of market value.
The methodology followed in this dissertation is multi-sited ethnography. I study a range of actors - including academic and industrial scientists, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and policy makers - in two distinct national environments, the United States and India, as they shape and come to terms with these emergent technologies and emergent political economies.
I attempt, through such a study, to theorize biocapital, drawing primarily upon Marxian and Foucauldian understandings of life, labor and value, and upon literature in Science and Technology Studies, that has constantly drawn attention to the constructed, contingent and politically consequent nature of technoscientific activity. Thesis Ph. Includes bibliographical references p.
Biocapital: The Constitution of Postgenomic Life