The keynote speakers for the Exposing Bodies symposium are
Dr Charlotte Epstein and Professor Catherine Waldby.
Department of Sociology and Social Policy
Biobanking in Singapore:
post-developmental state, experimental population
Like other wealthy states in East Asia, Singapore is busy building a bioeconomy. The government has allocated billions of dollars to life sciences research, under the aegis of the Biomedical Sciences Initiative (BMSI). This paper focuses on one important life sciences research project to consider some of the biopolitical implications of bioeconomic development, in Singapore, but also more generally. This project is the Singapore Consortium for Cohort Studies (SCCS), a large prospective population cohort, designed to track gene environment interactions in metabolic disease, specifically type 2 diabetes and ischemic heart disease. I use the Singapore Consortium for Cohort Studies as a site to examine the question: how are populations figured in bioeconomic development? To put it another way, what are the biopolitics of the bioeconomy? The Singapore example is telling, both because the rate of bioeconomic development is so startling and because it forms an explicit element in the state’s attempt to reposition the national population in the global economy.
The Big Other Is Watching You:
Surveillance, Sovereignty, Subjectivities’
The creeping deployment of biometric technologies through our everyday life — from the presenting of our passports to the customs officer or of our index finger to our personal computer for it to grant us access to our own files – exemplifies some of the new bodily surveillance practices increasingly invested by the state and the private sector alike. Using biometrics as an empirical basis, in this keynote address I would like to explore some of the ways in which these surveillance practices, rooted in the body and bound up with the development of new forms of population control, both private and public, are changing the relationships between modern power and the individual subject (rather than citizen). My concern is to unpack the connections between surveillance practices and subject formation; or in other words, the making of the modern individual. To this end I will deploy the conceptual lenses of Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan and Judith Butler to analyze the new conditions created by surveillance practices for the formation of subjectivities, both on the political (Foucault, Butler) and psychoanalytic (Lacan, Butler) levels successively.