jeremy hunsinger on Fri, 10 Oct 2008 19:34:18 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime-ann> Towards Humane Technologies: Biotechnology, New Media and Ethics

Sorry for the x-posting

I wrote the series introduction for this volume, this is the series  
'Transdisciplinary Studies' which I edit with Jason Nolan.  We are  
still looking for good book proposals.

Towards Humane Technologies: Biotechnology, New Media and Ethics
Naomi Sunderland, Phil Graham, Peter Isaacs

What are the ethical and political implications when the very  
foundations of life -things of awe and spiritual significance - are  
translated into products accessible to few people? This book  
critically analyses this historic recontextualisation. Through  
mediation - when meaning moves ‘from one text to another, from one  
discourse to another’ - biotechnology is transformed into analysable  
data and into public discourses. The unique book links biotechnology  
with media and citizenship. As with any ‘commodity’, biological  
products have been commodified. Because enormous speculative  
investment rests on this, risk will be understated and benefit will be  
overstated. Benefits will be unfairly distributed. Already, the  
bioprospecting of Southern megadiverse nations, legally sanctioned by  
U.S. property rights conventions, has led to wealth and health  
benefits in the North. Crucial to this development are  
biotechnological discourses that shift meanings from a “language of  
life” into technocratic discourses, infused with neo-liberal economic  
assumptions that promise progress and benefits for all. Crucial in  
this is the mass media’s representation of biotechnology for an  
audience with poor scientific literacy. Yet, even apparently benign  
biotechnology spawned by the Human Genome Project such as prenatal  
screening has eugenic possibilities, and genetic codes for illness are  
eagerly sought by insurance companies seeking to exclude certain  
people. These issues raise important questions about a citizenship  
that is founded on moral responsibility for the wellbeing of society  
now and into the future. After all, biotechnology is very much  
concerned with the essence of life itself. This book provides a space  
for alternative and dissident voices beyond the hype that surrounds  
The first book in transdisciplinary studies is:
Making a Difference: Science, Action and Integrated Environmental  
Research by Lorrae Van Kerkhoff
Which has a forward by Geoffrey Bowker

Jeremy Hunsinger
Center for Digital Discourse and Culture
Virginia Tech
Information Ethics Fellow, Center for Information Policy Research,  
School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Whoever ceases to be a student has never been a student.
-George Iles

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