Alessandro Delfanti’s new book, Biohackers: The Politics of Open Science (Pluto, 2013) was reviewed yesterday by Alice Bell in the Guardian‘s Political Science blog.
Open. Be it the open of open policy, open government, open data, science, access, markets or sesame, it’s one of those words that’s used more than it is deeply considered.
A desire to consider our ideas of open, in particular the various opens surrounding modern science, sits at the centre of Alessandro Delfanti’s new book, Biohackers. The key premise is that hackers, scientists and neoliberalism share some interesting overlaps of culture, norms, ideologies, attitudes and people, or at least there are some interesting changes happening around the social arrangements of science, the biosciences in particular, and they’re worth a nose around.
The result is not just an interesting exploration of the multiple possible meanings of open science but, much larger than that, an illuminating and clear study of some of the ways in which modern science operates.
Biohackers won’t tell you everything you want to know about open science. Despite the very interesting treatment of his three case studies, I remain sceptical that the idea of the biohacker – as deliberately loosely defined as Delfanti presents it – really exists as much more than an idea. But it’s a powerful idea, well explained; one worth spending time with. The book will help you think about what openness, biology and open biology mean today. More broadly, Delfanti offers a cogent invitation to care about the politics of how science is put to work. We could do with more books like this.
To read the full article, go to the Guardian website, here. To buy a copy of the book for just £17.50 including free UK P&P, or to find out more, simply click on the cover image.