Humanity pending: Californian genomics and the politics of biology /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Jabloner, Anna, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (300 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Joseph P. Masco Committee members: Jean Comaroff; Michael Fisch; Charis Thompson.
This item is not available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-05(E), Section: A.
Summary:At a moment in the early 21st century when ever-new genomic and molecular data infrastructure projects are emerging---projecting human biology as computational project---the state of California endorses its high scientific-industrial productivity and rapid economic growth. Simultaneously, the defunding and deprioritizing of non-molecular and non-technological projects and the state's intensifying stratifications of race, gender, and class mark the current local moment. As new technological capacities to understand humanity bio-logically through molecular data are envisioned, developed, and ubiquitously anticipated, the expanding molecular data sciences deflect attention away from the unequal socio-histories on top of which they are being built. This dissertation examines genomic culture in Northern California, tracing techno-scientific imaginaries and their lived realities. It situates genomics as American scientific project within concrete political realities entwined with the histories of nation, racism, and capitalism. It investigates genomics as a culturally situated phenomenon of knowledge production and consumption, a new biometric and biomedical infrastructure in U.S. society imagined as a revolution for health and the future. Assessing how genomics emerges in practices of use alongside visions and imaginaries of its meanings, capacities, and potentials, this project thus analyzes ethnographically how a range of experts---geneticists, genetic counselors, biotech industrialists, bioethicists---utilize genomics, and imagine it as useful, to understand health, risk, biology, and identity.
The project finds that efforts to understand humanity molecularly render visible territorializing and future-making processes in American life. From intensified attention to health risks and prevention, to nostalgic desires to trace European heritages, and the liberal-democratic project of genetic representation of minorities, genomics' uses mirror its producers' cultural and political worlds. Yet rather than argue that culture determines science, the thesis shows how genomics becomes constituted relationally in practices of use at a frontier site of its emergence. This new set of bio- and information-technologies is, in practices and discourses, interpreted, communicated, governed, and anticipated as future infrastructure. At a scientific frontier, the project traces genomics' emergence, material and imaginative, from converged socio-technical and bio-political practices and discourses. It illustrates how slow accruals of confidence in genomic practices take place in an interpretive field outside of scientific production. While the ultimate data representation of molecular humanity remains pending, it shows how modalities of political subjectivity and collectivity are being envisioned and negotiated locally along the way. The thesis argues that genomics, while aiming to move U.S. society forward, naturalizes inequality, and thus destabilizes a presumed simultaneity of technological and social progress.