Subaltern biology?: local biologies, Indian odysseys, and the pursuit of human embryonic stem cell therapies

As an emerging life form, stem cells are viewed as global biological entities. This extends Margaret Lock's categorization of local biological or local biologies as emerging from debates about menopause, brain death, and organ transplant. I seek to reconceptualize the local, shape-shifting nature of the biological form and the ontological mutations as inherently subaltern. I draw on a multisited ethnography and a spectrum of global publics from more than 22 countries in search of contentious human embryonic stem cell therapies (hESC) in India. In so doing, I show that the subaltern local biological experience seldom finds utterance and acknowledgement in the face of hegemonic, universalized, epistemic discourse on human body and biological form.

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In: Medical Anthropology. - Vol. 32(2013), No. 4, p. 359-373

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