1. ESRC Genomics Network (archive)
  2. Gengage
  3. The Human Genre Project

ESRC Genomics Network · Genetics and Society book series

Barcoding Nature

Shifting Cultures of Taxonomy in an Age of Biodiversity Loss

Claire Waterton, Rebecca Ellis and Brian Wynne

April 2013


April 2013






pp. 224

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Claire Waterton, Rebecca Ellis and Brian Wynne


This book is based on six years of ethnographic research and documentary analysis carried out by the authors, on changing contemporary practices in the identification and the classification of natural species. It assumes from the outset that the practices of knowing nature observed cannot be disentangled from social, economic and political processes relating to the making and application of global biodiversity knowledge. The research has observed and documented a notable shift within taxonomy towards a genomics-inspired global production and mobilisation of taxonomic knowledge for specified ‘biodiversity’ knowledge-actors, users and publics. This shift has introduced a series of innovations in the way that taxonomy is practised, innovations that are at once technological, social and political, and interdependent with the development of molecular and digital technologies in parallel domains. These innovatory practices and technologies are most clearly brought together in the efforts to ‘DNA barcode life’ (under the auspices of organisations such as the Consortium for the BarCoding of Life (CBOL)). Three main themes/questions structure the way the chapters are presented: I. Challenges and opportunities for innovation in the technosciences; II. Globalisation and Technoscientific cultures; III. The geneticisation and digitisation of life.

Genetics and Society book series – in association with Routledge

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