1932

Abstract

As an empirical concept, biolegality emerged at the height of biotechnological advances in Euro-American societies when rapid changes in the life sciences (including molecular biology, immunology, and the neurosciences) and their attendant techniques (including reproductive technologies and gene editing) started to challenge ethical norms, legal decisions, and legal forms. As a theoretical concept, biolegality deepens the Foucauldian notion of biopolitics with an operation of legality that emphasizes how biology and its attendant technologies alter legal form, knowledge, practice, and experience. These empirical and theoretical developments affect how we understand sociality. While public discourse remains preoccupied with the call for more regulation—thereby underscoring law's lag in its dealings with technology—the social science scholarship describes instead how bioscience and biotechnology are fragmenting and rearranging legal knowledge about property, personhood, parenthood, and collective identity. As it opens broader anthropological debates around exchange, self, kinship, and community, the study of biolegality brings a novel currency to the discipline, addressing how biology and law inform new ways of relating and knowing.

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2022-10-24
2024-06-15
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