Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > BioFutures

Electronic data

  • DG_BioFutures_v4

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge/CRC Press in Routledge Handbook of Social Futures on 23/11/2021, available online:https://www.routledge.com/Routledge-Handbook-of-Social-Futures/Galviz-Spiers/p/book/9781138340336

    Accepted author manuscript, 64.9 KB, Word document

    Embargo ends: 23/11/22

    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Links

View graph of relations

BioFutures: Where futurists and biologists meet

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Published
Publication date23/11/2021
Host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Social Futures
EditorsCarlos Lopez Galviz, Emily Spiers
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge
ISBN (Print)9781138340336
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

In 1798, Thomas Robert Malthus published An Essay on the Principle of Population, the first example of Futures written from a biological standpoint. Malthus’s deeply dystopian vision of an overpopulated planet ravaged by famine, war and plague, was a major influence on Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection and has inspired neo-Malthusian works down to the present day. More recent dystopian thought within biology has widened its focus from humans to the entire ecosphere, providing some of the theoretical background to contemporary activist groups such as Extinction Rebellion. Juxtaposed to this dystopian strand in biology, a more utopian view has been fostered by the discovery of antibiotics, the implementation of mass vaccination programmes, organ transplantation, in vitro fertilization, regenerative medicine and genetic modification among other technologies. This chapter proposes that Futures activity within biology may usefully be collated under the rubric of BioFutures – a retrospective hash-tagging of numerous contributions to the area, whether consciously futurological or not, whether utopian or dystopian. As well as considering the contribution of biology to Futures, it also considers how Futures is expressed by biologists and seeks to identify areas within the field where the potential for a BioFutures contribution remains unrealised.

Keywords: Malthusian, dystopia, utopia, evolution, biology, eugenics, genetics, biotechnology.

Bibliographic note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge/CRC Press in Routledge Handbook of Social Futures on 23/11/2021, available online:https://www.routledge.com/Routledge-Handbook-of-Social-Futures/Galviz-Spiers/p/book/9781138340336