Accepted Paper:

Practices involving genetic resources: exploring ontologies in the bio-objects world  

Authors:

Fabien Milanovic (Sup'Biotech)
Etienne Verrier (AgroParisTech)
Andre Charrier (SUPAGRO)
François Lefèvre (INRA)

Paper short abstract:

This text addresses several issues related to the life-forms that are produced by biotechnologies or-and used in biological sciences. In particular, it raises questions regarding the nature of the ordered world and the ontological variability of the world’s constituent entities.

Paper long abstract:

This text addresses several issues related to the life-forms that are produced by biotechnologies or-and used in biological sciences. In particular, it raises questions regarding the nature of the ordered world and the ontological variability of the world's constituent entities. Especially between "natural" entities and "manufactured" entities emerged a new mixture of relations to life, the so-called "bio-objects", that is useful to explore for a best understanding of the reconfiguration of "life". The goal is to study relational ontologies, or rather the life's modes of existence, while empirically addressing the nature of specific bio-objects.

Grounded on a socio-anthropological approach, we empirically explore a specific bio-object: genetic resources. We sought to empirically relate plant and animal "genetic resources" to the practices in which they are enacted and thus come into being as "resources", thus bringing awareness to potential practices that enact alternative realities.

As a result, we first argue that the vernacular category of "resource" is overly simplistic given the ontological fluctuations associated with the practices in which these bio-objects are enacted. Second, we assert that several forms of living entities are enacted via different practices and that they vary in agency. This agency results from multiple factors that we identify in our analysis. We conclude with this kind of bio-object, connected to life, and able to support variable ontologies that are gradually describing the space that exists between being and resource.

Panel T034
Revisiting bio-objects and bio-objectification: Categories, materialities and processes central to the (re)configuration of "life".