Accepted Paper:

Life in the making: epigenesis, biocultural environments and human becomings  
Eugenia Ramirez-Goicoechea (Universidad Nacional de EducaciĆ³n a Distancia, UNED)

Paper short abstract:

Life in the making: epigenesis, biocultural environments and human becomings

Paper long abstract:

Epigenetics is a developmental regulatory process through which, by means of specific environmental clues and signals at molecular, cellular, tissue, organism and extraorganismical levels of organisation, genes are cronotopically silenced or expressed either before, simultaneously with or after genetic transcription. It is the developmental domain in which the biocultural quality of our lives-in-progress is most evident. Our material/semiotic/symbolic historical practices (actions, experiences, representations, political economies, moral and ethical systems, social organisations and institutions, objects, artefacts and technologies), and the anthropic environments they produce, are part and parcel of how we build ourselves and (be)come into social, historical, and biological existence, in an on-going dynamic autopoietic system of complex interrelations. Empirical evidence shows that epigenetic markers, as the result of our ancestors' lives and experiences, can be passed on transgenerationally. It is not that we inherit environments or acquired characteristics, but that anthropic environments are at the core of how we become humans in particular ways. Special attention will be given to how specific psychobiological sufferings are crossgenerationally perpetuated thanks to socio-political, economic and racial inequalities in the distribution of health and other welfare resources.

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