Social Bodies & Social Justice

Cambridge University Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Law in Context, 2019
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
This article identifies, and engages with, the social bodies emerging by virtue of the biosocial turn in the life sciences and the contemporaneous advent of embodied approaches to social justice. Across diverse domains, then, bodies are increasingly understood as shaped by and dependent upon their environments. To explore this potentially important and productive convergence, we bring Martha Fineman’s vulnerability theory into conversation with developmental neuroscience and environmental epigenetics. We foreground significant intersecting concerns and argue that vulnerability theory is strengthened by engaging with a richer understanding of embodiment that attends to these new biosocial knowledge claims. This engagement can enhance the political traction of this and other embodied theories. These can, in turn, provide important alternatives to the neoliberal lens through which neuroscience and epigenetics have hitherto been translated into policy and practice. Exploring this new terrain, we nevertheless acknowledge the limitations and dangers posed by current biopolitical governance practices.
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