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Becky Mansfield

In: The SAGE Handbook of Nature: Three Volume Set

Chapter 12: A New Biopolitics of Environmental Health: Permeable Bodies and the Anthropocene

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A New Biopolitics of Environmental Health: Permeable Bodies and the Anthropocene
A New Biopolitics of Environmental Health: Permeable Bodies and the Anthropocene
Becky Mansfield
Introduction: The Permeable Body of the Twenty-First Century

An avalanche of recent scientific findings emphasizes that the body is dizzyingly open to its environment. The microbiome, chimerism, and epigenetics are powerful examples, each of which has generated intense scientific and popular interest. The microbiome is the collection of micro-organisms that live in and on us; by the most recent estimate, the number of these non-human others about equals the number of human cells in our bodies (Bakalar, 2016; Brody, 2014; Reardon, 2014; Yong, 2014). Influenced by myriad factors from birth practices (vaginal or surgical) to pet ownership, the quantity, type, and diversity of ...

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