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The Experimental Machinery of Global Clinical Trials: Case Studies from India, and some Structural Speculations

Lecture by Kaushik Sunder Rajan, UC-Irvine

Monday, May 07, 2007
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095


The global outsourcing of randomized clinical trials for drug development has increased dramatically over the past decade. In the last two years, India has emerged as potentially one of the most attractive destinations for these trials. In this paper, Kaushik Sunder Rajan traces this dynamic at three scales:

i. The global political economy of drug development (driven by forms of biocapital) that structures these movements;
ii. The clinical trials landscape in India, especially in terms of the massive capacity building currently underway to attract these trials; and
iii. The local contexts and histories within which the conduct of these trials in particular places must be understood.

In the process, the speaker wishes to think through how global political economies and local historical contexts interact; but also wish to consider how biocapital articulates with other systems and regimes of capital at multiple scales.

Kaushik Sunder Rajan is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UC-Irvine. He was initially trained as a biologist, obtained his Ph.D. in the History and Social Studies of Science and Technology, and works on the anthropology of science and technology.

His recent book titled Biocapital: The Constitution of Post-Genomic Life (2006) is a multi-sited ethnography of emergent genomic research and drug development marketplaces in the United States and India. On the other hand, it traces the historical emergence of what he calls biocapital in the late 20th century, which asks questions of the nature and manner of the co-production of economic and epistemic value in the life sciences today. In the former register, Sunder Rajan's work has followed a number of actors - scientists, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and policymakers - involved in genomics research and market development in a range of sites in the US and India (in the US, primarily in the Bay Area; in India, primarily in Delhi, Bombay and Hyderabad). In the latter register, his work engages social theories of epistemology, political economy, ethics, subjectivity, language and value (most directly the analyses of Karl Marx, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida), in order to provide ways to think about a current moment in world history that is significantly shaped by technoscientific capitalism.


Jyoti Gulati310-206-2654
www.international.ucla.edu/southasia
cisa@international.ucla.edu

Sponsor(s): Center for India and South Asia

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