DOI: 10.1177/1357034x231218413 ISSN: 1357-034X

Between Self-Tracking and Alternative Medicine: Biomimetic Imaginary in Contemporary Biohacking

Antti Lindfors
  • Cultural Studies
  • Health (social science)
  • Social Psychology

While anthropological and social studies of the body have extensively explored self-tracking cultures, they have so far overlooked the phenomenon of biohacking, which represents a distinct though overlapping mode of contemporary techno-asceticism with its own set of norms and frameworks for bodily self-use. This article seeks to address this gap by examining biohacking within the context of self-tracking cultures and its simultaneous alignment with alternative health cultures. By analysing a substantial collection of recorded Biohacker Summit presentations, the study argues that biohacking reintroduces a dualistic biomimetic imaginary while simultaneously striving to transcend such dichotomies through a univocal emphasis on information processing. In particular, this is evident in the biomimetic impulse to align their interventions with the principles found in nature and to perceive technologies as subordinate to ‘natural’ biological processes, the privileging of the human sensorium as a bridge between science and nature, and the ultimate inclination to discard technology in favour of intuition and embodiment.

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