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Biomimicry: New Natures, New Enclosures

Goldstein, Jesse; Johnson, Elizabeth

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Jesse Goldstein


Advocates of biomimicry encourage a new industrial paradigm that ostensibly leaves behind the crude violence of Francis Bacon, the domination of nature-as-machine, and a history of toxic production processes that have given rise to a present and coming climate crisis. As part of a broader trend towards the conceptualization and development of a ‘bioeconomy’, we argue here that biomimicry produces ‘nature’ in new ways. At face value, these new approaches to valuing nature may seem less violent and exploitative. Yet, new natures can and are tortured in new ways. We argue that biomimicry produces ‘nature’ through well-worn logics of resource enclosure and privatization, focusing upon two fundamental shifts in how nonhuman life is figured and put to work: (1) the production of nature as intellectual property (as opposed to raw materials); (2) the production of nature as an active subject (as opposed to a passive receptacle or vehicle).

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Nov 12, 2014
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Deposit Date Oct 9, 2017
Publicly Available Date Oct 25, 2019
Journal Theory, Culture and Society
Print ISSN 0263-2764
Electronic ISSN 1460-3616
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 32
Issue 1
Pages 61-81
Public URL


Accepted Journal Article (570 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Goldstein, Jesse & Johnson, Elizabeth (2015). Biomimicry: New Natures, New Enclosures. Theory, Culture & Society 32(1): 61-81. Copyright © 2015 The Author(s) DOI: 10.1177/0263276414551032

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