Having an anthropocene body hydrocarbons, biofuels and metabolism

Mackenzie, Adrian (2014) Having an anthropocene body hydrocarbons, biofuels and metabolism. Body and Society, 20 (1). pp. 3-30. ISSN 1357-034X

Full text not available from this repository.


What does it mean to have an Anthropocene body? The Anthropocene period is putatively defined by flows of hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon derivatives (fuels, plastics, fertilizers, etc.), and the very term ‘Anthropocene’ suggests an increasing awareness of the finitude and contingency of contemporary corporealities. This article explores the idea of modelling an Anthropocene body as a living/non-living metabolic process. While identifying bodies with molecules raises a host of problems, metabolism and hydrocarbon biomolecules display a gamut of forms of possession and ways of having a body. Conversion between living and non-living forms of possession can be traced in contemporary genomic science and particularly in synthetic biology as they engineer microbes to produce next-generation biofuels. In contrast to fossil fuels, these fuels derive from genomically re-engineered microbes that digest biomass or photosynthesize to produce hydrocarbons. The problematic contemporary production of these fuels might help us to articulate what it means to have a body as a metabolic manifold of living and non-living forms of possession.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Body and Society
Uncontrolled Keywords:
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
15 Jul 2015 08:08
Last Modified:
20 Sep 2023 00:44