Viruses and genomes have become the subjects of sovereign claims in contemporary biomedical research. These claims invest biological materials with geopolitical attachments to both nation-states and continental regions and seek to alter the property regimes that characterize global biological economies. As rhetorical and juridical devices, sovereign claims over viruses and genomes seek to establish new kinds of enclosures to control biological life. The recasting of sovereignty over biological parts, we argue, gains purchase by tethering biological materials to constructed origin points as they travel through global research and commodity networks.
Genomic and Viral Sovereignty: Tethering the Materials of Global Biomedicine
Amy Hinterberger is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Warwick and associate fellow at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford. She has published in the journals Theory, Culture and Society (2012) and Science as Culture (2012) on the politics of population, ancestry, and exchange in genome biology.
Natalie Porter is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of New Hampshire and associate fellow at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford. She has published articles in American Ethnologist (2013) and Social Science and Medicine (2014) on global health interventions for avian flu.
Amy Hinterberger, Natalie Porter; Genomic and Viral Sovereignty: Tethering the Materials of Global Biomedicine. Public Culture 1 May 2015; 27 (2 (76)): 361–386. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-2841904
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