We, Other Utopians is the first book to analyze the topics of genome editing/recombinant DNA on the basis of ethnographic research in the post-communist context. The book focuses on the topics of human DNA editing and genome repair on two levels. First, inspired by texts analyzing the concept of life and the body in general, it conceptually and analytically works with various approaches to engineered life and embodiments from the perspective of anthropology, sociology, and science and technology studies. Second, it presents an analysis of artificial life, and biotechnological embodiments on concrete technologies – genome editing, recombinant DNA, and biological computing.
The book explores the theme of genome editing based on ethnographic research conducted at a biochemical laboratory in the Czech Republic. The fieldwork was carried out from 2017 to 2019, mainly in a lab focusing on DNA damages and genomic risk of complex diseases or genetic vulnerabilities like breast cancer, infertility, and ageing. Recombinant DNA is understood here as the exchange of DNA strands to produce and design new nucleotide sequence arrangements to heal or enhance human bodies and health in the future. The book analyzes various economies of hope, hype, expectations, politics, and poetics of false promises and better or worse predictions from the point of view of sociology, anthropology, and science and technology studies.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Introduction, Chapter 2 The Lab, Chapter 3 Genome editing and recombinant DNA today: Cheap enough, easy enough, accurate enough, Chapter 4 Biotechnological Corporeality: Heterotopias and Utopias in the Lab, Chapter 5 Dreaming about Living Matter: A Matter of Art, Chapter 6 We, Other Utopians…: Biopolitics Recombined, Chapter 7 Conclusions
Eva Šlesingerová is an anthropologist and sociologist. She has focused on different areas of research and academic interest: body, genomics, AI technologies, robots and biotechnological art and experiments. She teaches courses like Anthropology and Technology, Kinship or Research in Art. Her publications include texts in journals like Social Science Information, Body & Society or Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy.