The De-nationalization and Re-nationalization of the Life Sciences in China: A Cosmopolitan Practicality?

Working paper de Joy Zhang

Stem cell research and synthetic biology offer complementary insights on the nature of scientific governance in China. Stem cells were essentially promoted by top-down semi-governmental initiatives. Yet it was through a process of 'de-nationalization' (in which a diversity of cross-border communications initiated by scientists effaced the dominance of a singular national voice) that China's stem cell research gained global recognition. Meanwhile, the emergence of synthetic biology has shown a reverse pathway. While many 'Chinese' synthetic biology projects are primarily associated with international programs, this 'de-nationalized' start did not lead to an abandonment of a national agenda. Rather, synthetic biology in China has been transformed into a grassroots proposition of a 'Big Question' approach, which in effect creates a 're-nationalization' by bringing synergy among domestic experts. Chinese stakeholders' experience seems to indicate that scientific development is steered by a (cosmopolitan) practicality, which has lead to a bottom-up instrumentalization of the nation-state. 

The author

Dr. Joy Yueyue Zhang is a research fellow at le Collège d’études mondiales, FMSH. Her research focuses on the cosmopolitan governance of scientific uncertainties. She received her PhD in Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is the author of two books on China: The Cosmopolitanization of Science: Stem Cell Governance in China (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and The Climate Politics in China (Pluto Press, 2013).

Référence

Joy Zhang. The De-nationalization and Re-nationalization of the Life Sciences in China: A Cosmopolitan Practicality?. FMSH-WP-2012-08. 2012.<halshs-00694096>

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