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La démocratie des chimères : gouvernement des risques et des critiques de la biologie synthétique, en France et aux États-Unis

Abstract : Synthetic biology is an emerging biotechnology which aims to produce micro-organisms as they do not exist in nature for industrial ends. As it is not yet industrially developed, this technoscience is mostly known for its economical promises but also for being precociously contested by social and environmental movements. Synthetic biology has also attracted public authorities’ attention in France and in the United States, which aim to govern and regulate it in an “upstream” manner (before its applications are developed). This political temporality is the object of study of our thesis, and we have analyzed it in the perspective of sociology of science and sociology of risk. We follow the social construction of the risks and problems of synthetic biology, the apparatus which are dedicated to govern such risks and the numerous actors they rally: bioengineers, social scientists, FBI agents, amateur biologists, activists... We argue that in France, synthetic biology’s main problem is its ability to be socially contested as genetically modified organisms were before it. Its political and scientific supporters thus aim to develop synthetic biology and to satisfy civil society with participatory devices, which have yet no way to intervene in the technological development. In the United States, critics are marginalized, and synthetic biology’s main problem is its ability to be used by terrorists. Public authorities try to prevent such terrorism, while preserving technoscience and its commodities outside the scope of regulation. Thus, beyond the variety of regulation apparatus, the thesis aims to present two ways of governing synthetic biology “upstream”, which have in common the specificity to never focus on synthetic biology, but to govern the problems which might slow its development. We propose to understand these two ways as a sciences-society regime of government in France, and a security-market regime of government in the United States.
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 14, 2022 - 2:19:49 PM
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Sara Angeli Aguiton. La démocratie des chimères : gouvernement des risques et des critiques de la biologie synthétique, en France et aux États-Unis. Sociologie. Institut d'études politiques de Paris - Sciences Po, 2014. Français. ⟨NNT : 2014IEPP0055⟩. ⟨tel-03641691⟩

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