Biocultural Creatures: Toward a New Theory of the Human
Samantha Frost is Associate Professor of Political Science and Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the coeditor of New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics, also published by Duke University Press, and the author of Lessons from a Materialist Thinker: Hobbesian Reflections on Ethics and Politics.
Chapter 3 broaches anxieties about biological reductionism that often motivate a cautionary orientation toward biology or lurk beneath a reluctance to draw on aspects of the biological sciences for thinking about cultural and political phenomena. The chapter refigures the nature of biological matter and biological agency by tracing the composition and activity of the proteins that facilitate and regulate the cross-membrane traffic of biochemicals. The chapter explains the enabling and limiting conditions that make possible the construction of proteins by reference to genes. It proposes that these conditions allow us to account for the precision and directedness of biological activity...