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IAS Autumn Lecture 2010: Biocapital, Biotechnology and the New Feminization of Bodies - Professor Donna Dickenson

9 August 2010

Professor Donna Dickenson to give the IAS Autumn Lecture: 'Biocapital, Biotechnology and the New Feminization of Bodies' at 5.15pm, Tuesday 9th November in the Banton Lecture Theatre (2D3), Social Sciences Complex, Priory Road. Wine reception to follow.

The IAS Logo 2008 by Susan Jim

2010 IAS Autumn Lecture

Biocapital, Biotechnology and the New Feminization of Bodies

Professor Donna Dickenson

5.15pm, Tuesday 9 November 2010, Banton Lecture Theatre 2D3, Social Sciences Complex, Priory Road


New biotechnologies, together with a neo-liberal global regulatory climate, have given rise to free markets in human eggs, private umbilical cord blood banking, commercial surrogacy arrangements between wealthy Westerners and women from the Asian subcontinent, and the wholesale patenting of the human genome. Traditional bioethics, with its emphasis on autonomy of the individual patient, is ill-equipped to deal with the ensuing dilemmas about commodification, exploitation and justice.

Two alternative concepts will be explored in this lecture: first, ‘biocapital’—the accumulation of capital through the commodification of human tissue, in an economic situation where ‘promissory technologies’ constitute the principal but speculative source of value for commercial firms. The second concept, ‘the feminisation of all bodies’, concerns the way in which all bodies, whether or not biologically female, have become potential objects of commodification and capital accumulation for the globalised biotechnology industry.

Professor Donna Dickenson, author, ethicist and visiting fellow in the School of Social and Community Medicine, will give the IAS Autumn Lecture. Winner of the 2006 Spinoza Lens award, Donna is a remarkable author and public figure who should appeal to a wide range of colleagues.

An expert on medical ethics and feminist social science, she also writes poetry and has published three biographies of literary women of the past ( Her latest book is 'Body Shopping: the Economy Fuelled by Flesh and Blood'.


Donna Dickenson poster by Susan Jim