London MedSoc Group


When: 6-7pm, Weds 9th March

Where: PHP Faculty Meeting Room (G9)
Unsettling technoscience: The biopolitics of ageing and (trans)human imperatives

Professor Joanna Latimer, Cardiff University School of Social Sciences

In this paper I offer some reflections on my study of ageing and biology. Drawing on an ESRC funded study of the socio-cultural significance of the biology of ageing, or ‘biogerontology’, the analysis scrutinises the various ways in which ageing has been made a critical site for altering the experience of ageing and extending the limits to life. Specifically I examine how discoveries in bioscience, advances in medical practice, developments in public health policy and hype in the media come together in co-constructing a ‘new dynamics of ageing’. I show how all too easily, the versions of ageing that dominate the narratives and practices of biomedicine, public health and the media reproduce and reinforce negative attitudes to growing old, with ageing poorly as the anti-thesis of the valued body-person in late modernity – the monster that can undermine the progress of neoliberal capitalism – as at the same time a transhuman future in which ageing is defeated is imagined. I show that the transhuman future of ageing successfully is enacted as where the body embodies wealth in a glow of a particular kind of health. The objective is to contribute to debates on new cultures of ageing and biosociality by opening up some of the complexity that lies at the heart of the so-called challenge of ageing.
After Professor Latimer’s talk, we will open up the session for a general discussion and follow this with a trip to a nearby pub.
Everyone is welcome to attend.