Biotechnological Agencies in our Information Society: The Emergence of Biocitizenship and Genetic Language

social relations in the technosphere

It is not uncommon to consider deoxyribonucleic acid, most commonly called DNA, as the expression of the genesis and mutation of living species. This molecule is composed of a double helix that carries genetic instructions for all known organisms and several viruses. However, in the Molecular Age, this metaphoric landmark is moved and stretched as we discover and study new structures that impact the genome. Important work is done nowadays in order to understand the consequences and causal relations that intertwine this language and the environment, in many fields such as genetic engineering, bioinformatics and genomic medicine. By giving new access to the architecture that constitutes living beings, technological artefacts and activities translate into a biological shift that opened our lives to new susceptibilities and risks, but also new rationalities and values revolving around DNA. All those technological discoveries inevitably led to a new framework in the Information Society; the Molecular Age. This paper focuses on the new agencies that are constituted in our Molecular Age. From the technology and researches revolving around DNA emerge specific modalities of action in our biosociality. Since genomic-related technologies and researches have constituted DNA as a meaningful structure of signs and symbols we are confronted with the traditional view according to which genomics is the new determinism of the 21st century. On the contrary, however, this paper shows the constitution of new forms of active empowerment based on DNA-related issues and researches. Thereby biological agencies and subjectivities arise from the constitution of a genetic biosociality that provides biocitizens and biocommunities with a discursive, ethical and technical self-understanding, and enables them to gather around the technological and informational meanings that this new knowledge has opened.