A brief response focusing on Parisi

I found the three responses that have already been posted for this week very useful and insightful. No one has discussed the excerpt from Luciana Parisi’s book Abstract Sex very much. I found it the most difficult reading to get through this week. I could definitely use some help unpacking some of the theoretical framing, especially in the opening pages of “Parthenogenic Sex.” I found Parisi’s discussion of entropy really fascinating. One passage in particular seemed, to me, to theorize and connect up a lot of the issues we have been discussing, particularly the management of populations through reproductive labor and the extraction of surplus value from biological processes and materials.

“The notion of entropy…was crucial to Marx’s study of the dynamics of reproduction of capital involving a capacity of extracting surplus value by deadening human labour. Capital is a homeostatic system. It incorporates and discharges energy-flows outside it’s semi-open cycle so as to ensure constant reproduction. By sucking in all useful flows capital deprives the vital lymph of the forces of production distorting the equal relationship between life and death: the more wealth or balance the more death. In a similar way, this entropic death is fundamental to the psychoanalytical and anatomical study of the reproductive forces of the body. Death becomes the principle of finitude of life spreading across the pathology of sexual reproduction” (94).

Sorry to quote at such length, but I hope this excerpt might provide us with an entry point for bringing Parisi into the discussion.

On another note, I reread Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake this past weekend, one of the novels I am planning on writing about for the seminar paper this term. Although it can definitely be classified as a future-dystopian novel, Atwood insisted at the time of publication that all of the technologies she describes in the book are already happening or are beginning to happen. Reading the novel alongside Waldby and Cooper brought the truth of this statement home. The “promissory claims” and bank-like structure of companies like Cordlife creepily echo the use of human clone banks (for “spare parts”- organs and tissues) in the future world of the novel.


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