[16] Introduction
to the judicialization of phar maceutical politics, which describes the playing
out of politics of access to essential medicines in the courts (see Biehl and
Petryna 2011).19 I situate these in relation to a third, everyday use of trial to
describe any kind of prob lem, difficulty, or trou ble, in the sense of the struc-
ture of constitutive crisis under which both the Euro- American r&d-driven
phar maceutical industry and the Indian generic industry operate. Taken
together, the hpv and Gleevec cases become emblematic of and signify a
broader po litical terrain in their own right, and are therefore events that
function beyond themselves.20 They demand conceptualization that goes
beyond just pointing to the contingency of their own happening, and allow for
a thicker insight into the structural trajectories informing the legislative mo-
ment of 2005 while also signifying this moment as a site for the theorization
of value, politics, and knowledge. But what do these terms mean, and what
are these structural trajectories? I next discuss how I analyze value, politics,
and knowledge in this book. This involves disaggregating them into multiple
registers through which they operate, and thinking about the articulations
and contradictions between these registers.
Ele ments of Pharmocracy (2): Theorizing Value, Politics, and Knowledge
This book traces the hegemonic structures and operations of pharmocracy.
One of the nuances of Gramsci’s notion of hegemony is that while it refers
to a state of (naturalized or legitimated) domination, it is fluid. Hegemonies
can be established, contested, overturned, or reconfigured. Battles over he-
gemony constitute politics, while politics comes to be the means of estab-
lishing hegemony. I argue that the establishment of regimes of value becomes
a means through which hegemonies can be naturalized or reconfigured,
such that value itself becomes the ground upon which further politics plays
out. Value and politics become mutually constituting and reinforcing. Further,
questions of knowledge often come to be at stake or mediate vari ous articu-
lations of value and politics. Yet none of value, politics, or knowledge is a
singular thing, and each requires disaggregation and conceptualization in its
own right.
Certain ele ments of value, politics, and knowledge have emerged as con-
stitutive to con temporary global biomedical economies as they have materi-
alized in India. I consider value in four registers: as an abstraction that has
material consequences; as surplus value for capital; in terms of norms and
ethics; and as an antinomy, something that is in contradictory relationship
Previous Page Next Page