Lorenzo Beltrame at the Biological Interest Group – Monday 22th February, 2-3pm, Byrne House

UPDATE : For personal issues, Lorenzo unfortunately had to postpone his presentation at today’s Biological Interest Group to next week, Monday 29th February. The meeting will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 2-3pm.

Please note another change in the schedule: on Monday 7th March, Flavia Fabris will be presenting instead of Dan Nicholson.

You are invited to the next meeting of the Biological Interest Group. It will take place this coming Monday 22th of February. The meeting will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 2-3pm. Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.

Next week we are very pleased to receive the visit of Lorenzo Beltrame, from the University of Exeter. We will be discussing the attached chapter “‘Play it again, Sam’. Taking Polanyi seriously in understanding the social embeddedness of cord blood economies”. The author kindly provided us with some information about the paper, and how we might help:

“This paper discuss the social embeddedness involved in umbilical cord blood banking, through an analytical framework developed using the work of Karl Polanyi. This paper is my first attempt to introduce theoretical tenets from the economic sociology in the STS study of bioeconomies, a field mainly built on a Foucauldian legacy. In my research on cord blood banking regulations, I would like to adopt a different approach, based on the economic sociology and political economy inspired by the work of Karl Polanyi. That is, how regulations, by shaping institutional arrangements and their functioning (in my case cord blood banks), format the emerging bioeconomies and thus their related societal implications.

While in a second step I will work on a possible dialogue between the two traditions, in this paper I focused only on Polanyi notion of embeddedness and, given some misunderstanding about Polanyi’s thought – related exactly to the notion of embeddedness – this paper deals directly with his work and then tries to apply it to a discussion on cord blood banking. Since this is a first attempt to develop an institutionalist analytical framework for studying the bioeconomy, I think that I may benefit from your comments, suggestions and criticism. In particular, I would like to discuss:

– if, in general, the developed framework is sufficiently tenable and reliable (in particular, does my account of Polanyi’s thought sound robust enough? Should the tension between the institutionalist approach and the relational view of economic sociology better recomposed? Or the two appear too much contrasting?

– if it is applied to the cord blood case without incongruences (again, do the macro-institutionalist approach of Polanyi fit with the analysis of social embeddedness?)

– finally, if, in general, an institutionalist approach could be useful in the study of bioeconomy – of course I think that it is -, but I would like to discuss this point and whether it is the case of, maybe, exploring better its utility by a close examination of some central topics in the literature on bioeconomy or, on the contrary, reinforcing the discussion on embeddedness.”

Please contact Thomas Bonnin (tb391 [at] exeter.ac.uk) if you wish to join the group or for any other information.


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