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Accepted Paper:

Health as a more-than-human commoning practice in the Anthropocene? The case of microbiome research  
Roberta Raffaetà (Ca' Foscari Venice University)

Paper short abstract:

I illustrate how health is being reconfigured by technoscience as a more-than-human commoning practice drawing from ethnography in microbiome labs. I take this as a radical example to challenge acritical forms of posthumanism. I'll propose an alternative to truly envisage more-than-human commonings.

Paper long abstract:

My paper will discuss how health is being reconfigured by technoscience as a more-than-human commoning practice within the one/planetary health framework. I will draw my insights from an on-going ethnographic research in laboratories where scientists study the microbiome “across species, across space, and across time” - as they say. The aim of these scientists is that of creating "future scenarios of health for both humans and the environment" thanks to big data and artificial intelligence. These technoscientific practices entangle humans with non-humans, creating new scientifically meaningful categories of biological diversity. Starting from the premise that biology, health, care and sociality are all linked, the aim of my in-progress research is to investigate how these categorization practices are made and what kind of commoning is taking shape after the differentiation between nature and culture, humans and non-humans. Enlarging the frame from laboratories to society and taking laboratories as an ethnographic lens through which analyse debates in social theory, I interrogate acritical forms of posthumanism that risk creating novel, unprecedented reductionism and enclosure. As an antidote, I propose to focus on death, extinction and vulnerability in commoning practices in order to challenge the limits of concepts like human, posthuman and care. I argue that looking at commoning practices from a non-vitalist perspective can shed light to genuine possibilities of envisaging and caring for more-than-human commons.

Panel P101a
Future Commons of the Anthropocene
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -