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Title: The body and human nature in consumer capitalism : a critique of biotechnology
Author: Bates, Stephen Robert
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2006
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Unlike in previous phases of capitalism, the body now appears in every moment of the circuit of industrial capital. Developments within biotechnology are leading to the body becoming a core product of capitalism; it is at the frontier of commodification within consumer society. Existing accounts within bioethics are unable, or unwilling, fully to interrogate the implications of these developments. Thus, within a critical realist and Marxist framework and employing Marx, Baudrillard, Cohen and Polanyi among others, this thesis critiques biotechnological developments within late capitalism and the impact that these developments will have on embodied agency. It is argued that three producers operate on the body within consumer society: the producer proper, the society as producer and the individual as producer. The ultimate consequence of this is that, during moments of consumption proper of biotechnological commodities, individuals are simultaneously undertaking an act of production proper; they are producing a use-value, which blurs the boundaries between fictitious and real commodities and which, through a process of rationalisation, benefits society through enhancing the stock of human capital. Individuals materialise and internally consume aspects of capitalist human nature, which intensify and, potentially, petrify the processes of reification and alienation which occur in capitalist society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available