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Life SupportBiocapital and the New History of Outsourced Labor$
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Kalindi Vora

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780816693948

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816693948.001.0001

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Life Support

Life Support

India’s Production of Vital Energy

(p.1) Introduction Life Support
Life Support

Kalindi Vora

University of Minnesota Press

Life Support argues that any analysis of biocapital must engage its roots in colonial labor allocation as a project of the racialization and gendering of labor. Sarah Franklin and Margaret Lock define biocapital as “a form of extraction that involves isolating and mobilizing the primary reproductive agency of specific body parts.” I argue that this form of accumulation and production can be seen in its historical context of colonialism and its antecedents as a system of continuing the transmission of what I call vital energy—the substance of activity that produces life (though often deemed reproductive)—from areas of life depletion to areas of life enrichment. Thus, rather than focusing only on biological science and biotechnology as sites for producing value, this study looks for the social logics within biological and labor markets for evidence of how capitalist accumulation continues to rely on reproductivity. This approach to biocapital reads narrative accounts of outsourcing as transmitting vital energy from producers to consumers, which is evidenced in the latter’s improved ability to thrive and perpetuate individual and community life.

Keywords:   Surrogacy, call centers, labor, biocapital, outsourcing, information technology, organ trade, biopolitics, India

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