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Situating local biologies: Anthropological perspectives on environment/human entanglements

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Abstract

In this paper, we posit the notion of ‘situated biologies’ as a conceptual contribution to the often-polarised debate over the material human body as being either local or universal. To argue our case, we briefly recapitulate the medical anthropological concept of ‘local biologies’ before highlighting current molecular biological research on epigenetics and its implications. We discuss how different forms of ‘local’ arise in environment/human entanglements and how material agency becomes situated and contingent through various knowledge practices. We conclude by developing the overarching concept of ‘situated biologies’ to further a collaborative ethnographic agenda that explores the multiple effects of particularising or universalising material agency in research on environment/human entanglements.

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Niewöhner, J., Lock, M. Situating local biologies: Anthropological perspectives on environment/human entanglements. BioSocieties 13, 681–697 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41292-017-0089-5

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