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Reinventing biological life, reinventing 'the human'.

Johnson, Elizabeth R. (2010) 'Reinventing biological life, reinventing 'the human'.', Ephemera : theory and politics in organization., 10 (2). pp. 177-193.


The techno-scientific framework known as biomimicry ‘reverse-engineers’ animal life to develop technologies and tactics that solve social and environmental problems. Its advocates have promised that it will spark a technological, environmental, and even social revolution. By viewing nature as a ‘mentor’ rather than a resource to be extracted, members of the biomimetic movement have also suggested that its practice will also overturn notions of human exceptionalism. This paper explores biomimicry’s ‘revolutionary’ potential by analyzing the work of advocates and supporters of biomimicry in the context of posthuman theory. It further places this potential in conversation with the broader economic conditions of biomimetic production. It ultimately asks how, in spite of its promises, biomimetic productions have thus far only managed to reinvent and reinforce current circuits of economic and geopolitical power. In conclusion, the paper works toward highlighting – and embracing – the ambivalence of both biomimicry and so-called post-humanism as the first step in developing a politics adequate to new forms of technological and biological production.

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Publisher statement:This article is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:10 October 2017
Date of first online publication:May 2010
Date first made open access:No date available

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