KAuShIK SuNDer rAjAN
The Capitalization of Life and
the Liveliness of Capital
The objective of the workshop that resulted in this volume was to investigate
how new legal, social, cultural, and institutional mechanisms are emerg-
ing to regulate the global emergence of biotechnologies, and, building on
that, to consider the relationship of biotechnology to ethics, governance,
The assumption underlying the workshop from the outset was that the
relationship between the science in question—the life sciences and biotech-
nologies—and “society”—as expressed in its laws, norms, cultures, insti-
tutions, discourses, and practices—is not unidirectional. Our contempo-
rary social realities are not simply adaptations to inexorable technological
advance, as suggested by popular media renderings of science and tech-
nology. Nor can science be regulated simply by submitting it to an assumed
social order, as if the latter were without history or preexisted the science.
Rather the emergence of technoscience and the emergence of “the social”
are simultaneous, historically constituted events.
This introduction engages some of the problem- spaces this volume in-
habits, outlines intellectual trajectories within which it can be situated, and
describes the particularities of individual contributions.