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Biocapitalism and schizophrenia
thesisposted on 30.01.2017, 22:40 by McQueen, Sean Patrick
Scholars have long noted the privileged relationship between science fiction and Marxian or neo-Marxian critical theory. Arguing that the emergent subgenre of biopunk is the science-fictional correlate of biocapitalism, this thesis builds on Fredric Jameson’s earlier contention that the science-fictional subgenre of cyberpunk was the literary expression of late capitalism. At the centre of the thesis lies the work of Jean Baudrillard and Gilles Deleuze, both of whom theorised Marxism, capitalism and psychoanalysis, and also had special interest in science fiction. The thesis is a critical intervention into cyberpunk and biopunk, and into the conjunction of the biotech century and the Deleuzian century, where Baudrillard’s critique of Deleuze’s schizoanalysis and science fiction acquires new relevance. By analysing a wide range of novels and films, and also one theatrical play, the thesis theorises shifts in and across critical approaches to capitalism, science, technology, psychoanalysis, media and science fiction. It brings renewed Marxian readings to cyberpunk texts previously theorised by Baudrillard or Deleuze. Given that there is no substantial scholarly material on biopunk and its relation to biocapitalism, the thesis also maps their generic, technoscientific, libidinal and economic exchanges, and situates Baudrillard and Deleuze as their key theoretical reference points. Each chapter develops a Marxian and psychoanalytic critique of texts that respond to, or are symptoms of, the highly cathected and financially lucrative fields of mass media, cybernetics, pharmaceutical production and consumption, xenotransplantation, cloning, genetic engineering, organ procurement and transplantation, as well as the pathogenic qualities of media, politics, aesthetics, the unconscious and the body.