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Title: Essays on the Anthropology of Reason
Authors: Rabinow, Paul
Date: 1996
Source: Essays on the Anthropology of Reason. Princeton University Press. 190 p.
Abstract: This collection of essays explains and encourages new reflection on Paul Rabinow's pioneering project to anthropologize the West. His goal is to exoticize the Western constitution of reality, emphasize those domains most taken for granted as universal, and show how their claims to truth are linked to particular social practices, hence becoming effective social forces. He has recently begun to focus on the core of Western rationality, in particular the practices of molecular biology as they apply to our understanding of human nature. This book moves in new directions by posing questions about how scientific practice can be understood in terms of ethics as well as in terms of power. The topics include how French socialist urban planning in the 1930s engineered the transition from city planning to life planning; how the discursive and nondiscursive practices of the Human Genome Project and biotechnology have refigured life, labor, and language; and how a debate over patenting cell lines and over the dignity of life required secular courts to invoke medieval notions of the sacred. Building on an ethnographic study of the invention of the polymerase chain reaction--which enables the rapid production of specific sequences of DNA in millions of copies Rabinow, in the final essay, reflects in dialogue with biochemist Tom White on the place of science in modernity, on science as a vocation, and on the differences between the human and natural sciences.
Reviews: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 20(3): 369-370
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 4(2): 377-378
Annales-Histoire Sciences Sociales 53(2): 408-410
Homme 37(144):155-157
Leonardo 31(1): 76-77
Sociologie du Travail 45(1): 146-148
Alberta Journal of Education Research 44(1): 115-118
Subjects: Ethnology -- History -- 20th century
Intellectual life -- History -- 20th century
Science and civilization
Social sciences -- History -- 20th century
Format: book
Online: View Google Book Search
View Info on Publisher's Website
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