Accepted Paper:

Shedding our selves: ontologies, DNA and becoming a subject  
Noa Vaisman (Aarhus University)

Paper long abstract:

In August 2009 the Supreme Court of Argentina ruled that DNA identity tests can be carried out on biological material left on personal objects (shed-DNA). This decision was given in the case of Guillermo Prieto, a young adult who refused to undergo a blood test that would help verify his genetic identity. The young man is thought to be one of the 500 individuals who, as infants, were disappeared during the last military regime (1976-1983) in Argentina. Raised in many cases by the perpetrators of the crime, these individuals were assigned new identities and new kinship ties and were kept unaware of their convoluted histories. In this paper I focus on two sets of questions: what kind of subject and what kinds of ontologies does this ruling produce? And, how are new technologies calling into question Western concepts of the physically bounded self-possessing individual and suggesting new ways of becoming?

Panel IW007
Beyond the biological and the social: anthropology as the study of human becomings