, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 393–395 | Cite as

Ars synthetica: A rehearsal

  • Marilyn Strathern
Books Forum

Paul Rabinow and Gaymon Bennett Ars synthetica. Designs for Human Practice, Connexions, Rice University, Houston (TX), 2008, (accessed 29 December 2009)

This is not an ethnography. We do not quite yet know what it is. Although the 12 modules that make up this on-line text comment on and describe themselves, they also convey something of the as yet wordless premonition that 25 years ago preceded the anthropological comprehension of the ‘postmodern’. I found it quite gripping, and almost impossible to re-describe.

In truth, an ethnographic response to the events related here was a temptation deliberately avoided. Rather, this text serves as a kind of second life to what happened; two of the participants textually re-enact what turned out to be a one-sided engagement. Rabinow, an experimenter with discourses of ethical practice, and Bennett, an observer of genomics practice and stem cell research, place themselves in alignment with a network of...


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Copyright information

© The London School of Economics and Political Science 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marilyn Strathern
    • 1
  1. 1.Girton CollegeCambridgeUK

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