How does the financialization of life itself figure as a new means of producing value in modern technoscience? That is the question that motivated Kirk Fiereck to convene the panel “Biofinance: Speculation, Risk, Debt, and Value from Bios” at the 2016 American Anthropological Association meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota last November.
This panel, organized by the Science, Technology and Medicine special interest group of the Society for Medical Anthropology, builds on recent efforts in science studies and anthropology to open up the “black box” of valuation processes in technoscientific domains.
Recent work in science studies has identified the use of “drugs for life” (Dumit 2012) – drugs which are necessary to sustain life and which also must be taken for the duration of life to have the desired effect – as a dominant trend in today’s biomedical toolkit. What has sometimes been overlooked are the everyday technologies of the self that coexist with these novel pharmaceutical regimens, like eating. The 4S panel, “Eating For Life: When Food Is the Best Medicine,” seeks to explore the intentional and incidental ways that dietary management is used to augment or stand in for pharmaceutical approaches to the maintenance of the human body.