Col·loquis de la SCHCT (2021–2022)

Dijous 16 de desembre de 2021, 18.30 CET

Sessió online: Link

“’But is it Labor?’: Neural Data and Value Production in Biocapitalism”

(co-organitzat amb l’IHC-UAB)

Ponent: Danielle Carr (Columbia University, Department of Anthropology)

Cicle: Technology & capitalism

Coordinadors: Jaume Sastre-Juan i Eóin Phillips

Resum: Many scholars have proposed that new permutations of capitalism are organizing around biological life itself as a site to extract value. These accounts tend to argue that in “biocapitalism,” activities that would normally be called “reproduction”—which can mean either the biological life of the body or the activities of maintaining social life, depending on how you define it—has been reframed as itself productive labor. This talk considers some of these claims about “biocapitalism” by thinking through the development of brain implants for affective disorder. Currently, brain implants are being developed to both treat mood disorder in humans and simultaneously collect data that can be coupled to other behavioral information to predict and engineer mood states. The technology has not only been the recipient of state and military funding historically, but currently receives vast amounts of private investment from data monopolists like Google and Facebook. This talk uses four years of ethnographic work in experimental neural engineering labs to discuss the forms of value production in biocapitalism. What does it mean to propose that life itself has become labor? And what does it do for a contemporary critique of capitalism to think through emerging forms of value production through the lens of labor?

Danielle Carr is a writer and Ph.D candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. She writes about the politics and history of science, especially the mind sciences. She is currently a Lindt Fellow, completing a dissertation about the development of brain implants for psychiatric disorder. Her essays have appeared in publications including n+1, the Nation, the Baffler, PioneerWorks, and Jacobin. Her academic work has been supported by organizations including the NSF, the Wenner Gren Foundation, the Horowitz Foundation, the Chateaubriand Fellowship, the Society for Psychological Anthropology, the Council for European Studies, and the Mellon Foundation.

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