October 21, 2020
New book: Biosocial Worlds (UCL Press)

Read more at UCL Press. From the website:

‘Biosocial Worlds’ presents state-of-the-art contributions to anthropological reflections on the porous boundaries between human and non-human life – biosocial worlds. Based on changing understandings of biology and the social, it explores what it means to be human in these worlds. Growing separation of scientific disciplines for more than a century has maintained a separation of the ‘natural’ and the ‘social’ that has created a space for projections between the two. Such projections carry a directional causality and so constitute powerful means to establish discursive authority.

While arguing against the separation of the biological and the social in the study of human and non-human life, it remains important to unfold the consequences of their discursive separation. Based on examples from Botswana, Denmark, Mexico, the Netherlands, Uganda, the UK and USA, the volume explores what has been created in the space between ‘the social’ and ‘the natural’, with a view to rethink ‘the biosocial’. Health topics in the book include diabetes, trauma, cancer, HIV, tuberculosis, prevention of neonatal disease and wider issues of epigenetics. Many of the chapters engage with constructions of health and disease in a wide range of environments, and engage with analysis of the concept of ‘environment’. Anthropological reflection and ethnographic case studies explore how ‘health’ and ‘environment’ are entangled in ways that move their relation beyond interdependence to one of inseparability. The subtitle of this volume captures these insights through the concept of ‘health environment’, seeking to move the engagement of anthropology and biology beyond deterministic projections.