Kean Birch: Theorizing the Bioeconomy: Biovalue, Biocapital, Bioeconomics, or what?

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Tue., Mar. 19, 2013, 12:30pm - , 2:00pm

Theorizing the Bioeconomy: Biovalue, Biocapital, Bioeconomics, or what?
Kean Birch, from York University (Social Science).
Tues. March 19, 2013 12:30pm
203A Bethune College, York University, Toronto.

In the policy discourses of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and European Commission (EC), modern biotechnology and the life sciences are represented as an emerging "bioeconomy" in which the latent value underpinning biological materials and products offers the opportunity for sustainable economic growth. This articulation of modern biotechnology and economic development is an emerging scholarly field producing numerous "bio-concepts." Over the last decade or so, there have been a number of attempts to theorize this relationship between biotechnologies and their capitalization. This article highlights some of the underlying ambiguities in these conceptualizations, especially in the fetishization of everything "bio." We offer an alternative view of the bioeconomy by rethinking the theoretical importance of several key economic and financial processes.

Kean Birch is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Science (Business and Society Program) at York University, Toronto. He is also a faculty member of the Graduate Program in Science and Technology Studies at York University. His current research interests range from the emerging bioeconomy to varieties of neoliberal restructuring. He recently co-edited the Rise and Fall of Neoliberalism (Zed, 2010) with Vlad Mykhnenko.

Research Seminar Series in Science & Technology Studies. The series features bi-weekly seminars on a wide range of STS-related topics, and is sponsored by the Division of Natural Science, the Office of the Vice-President Academic, and the York University Bookstore.