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Sex, science and symbiosis: feminism and queer theory in a more-than-human world

Griffiths, David Andrew 2014. Sex, science and symbiosis: feminism and queer theory in a more-than-human world. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis interrogates various accounts of the relationship between the biological and social. Often the biological is conceptualised as built upon, or originating from, the foundation of the social (or vice versa). I suggest an alternative approach, using various resources and approaches from the sciences and from social theories, to reconceptualise the biological and social as always already entangled. I develop an account of the entanglement of the biological and social that also entangles the ontological and epistemological, matter and meaning. I begin by exploring feminism and sociobiology in the 1970s and 1980s, particularly feminist standpoint and postmodernist epistemologies. Building on this, and developing my approach (particularly in terms of conceptualising material and more-than-human agency), I explore queer and deconstructive approaches to sexuality alongside the Human Genome Project and genetic determinism in the 1990s, and more recent theories of kinship from gender and sexuality studies alongside insights from animal studies and critical posthumanisms. Finally, I interrupt this trajectory, suggesting that the so far uninterrogated opposition of living/non-living that structures biological science is threatened by the liminal status of viruses. More importantly, people living with viruses can become liminal in relation to this and other binary oppositions, with consequences for their health and ability to live well. I propose an approach to living well that is both ecological and queer; connections, symbioses and entanglements are crucial throughout. I argue that attention to the entanglement of the biological and social offers a way of interrogating narratives of biological determinism and for countering the effects of patriarchy and heteronormativity in the theory and practice of science. Furthermore, this approach can offer ways of rethinking the production of scientific knowledge and the effects this has on the possibility of living well as biopolitical citizens in the more-than-human world.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:37

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