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In many different societal fields such as reproductive and regenerative technologies, biomedical research, transplantation surgery, conservation biology and biosecurity preparedness, cryopreservation practices have significantly affected the concepts of life and death, health and illness, (in)fertility and biodiversity. The radical and ongoing transformation of temporal trajectories they bring about is fundamentally shaping the politics of life in the 21st century, engendering novel modes of processing, enhancing and managing biological matter and social processes linked to it. To capture the profound socio-material changes and forms of control introduced by cryopreservation practices, scholars have recently proposed the terms “cryopolitics" and “suspended life."
Cryopolitics is characterized by strategies that suspend life, seeking to arrest processes of decay and dying. Arresting vital processes, moving things into limbo, and carving out spaces on the boundary between life and death are key features of this novel governance of life. This form of politics produces a dispersed landscape of cryobanking facilities and corresponding infrastructural arrangements that are detached from their original environments, generating new relations. The result is a liminal space in which cells, body parts, and DNA samples diverge from the temporality of the outside world but remain available to be reintroduced to it again.
The symposium Toward
a Politics of Suspension? aims to explore and advance the
theoretical proposition of “suspended life" and to better approach the
questions that these new forms of politics and new practices around
cryopreservation open up. In order to do this, the CRYOSOCITIES team has
invited leading scholars in the field to give presentations around their work
on the topic.
Prof. Dr. Thomas Lemke
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Fachbereich 03 Gesellschaftswissenschaften
Institut für Soziologie
Natur und Gesellschaft
Campus-Westend – PEG-Gebäude
Raum 3.G 027
60323 Frankfurt am Main
PEG - Hauspostfach 31
60629 Frankfurt am Main
Tel. +49 69 798 36664