58328 The New Economy of Post-Nature

The Western academy is organised around a fundamental distinction between nature and society, with nature defined as that which is independent of human action. What can this idea of nature mean in our Anthropocene era, when chemical and thermal pollution are universal, when human cells are cultured and can achieve immortality outside the body, when 'wilderness' exists only in legally designated protected areas, when evolution itself is driven by human caused extinctions, and the recombination and design of species to order in commercial laboratories? Introducing key debates at the intersection of science and technology studies and environmental policy, this subject enables students to evaluate the vexed concept of 'sustainability' and the utopian prospect of a transformation from fossil-fuelled industrial modernity to a 'post-industrial' mode of production, sometimes called the 'knowledge-based bioeconomy'. Students undertake an informed critical analysis of the social, political, economic and ethical issues associated with the 'life industries' from the level of molecular biotechnology to global ecological management.

Teaching Material for this course