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In Search of Immortality: The Political Economy of Anti-aging Medicine

In Search of Immortality: The Political Economy of Anti-aging Medicine Anti-aging medicine is characterised by significant ‘hype’, hope and promise. This article examines the conditions giving rise to and sustaining this field. It questions its key premises, highlights the politico-economic ‘drivers’ of its innovations, and identifies the key actor networks sustaining its practices. As the article argues, it is highly questionable whether the viability of anti-aging medicine can be sustained as a discrete field of practice in the longer term. The instability of this field stems from its reliance on a faulty epistemological premise: that aging is a disease requiring technological intervention. In addition, anti-aging medicine is dependent on a series of fragile links and destabilising tendencies that threaten its long-term future. As sweeping promises regarding the ‘revolutionary’ potential of anti-aging medicine are made, financial, industry, government and public support becomes ever more contingent upon those utopian promises being realised. For reasons we discuss, this may not be possible. The article concludes by exploring the future of anti-aging medicine, highlighting a number of potential alternative scenarios. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Medicine Studies Springer Journals

In Search of Immortality: The Political Economy of Anti-aging Medicine

Medicine Studies , Volume 1 (3) – Oct 7, 2009

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Philosophy; Philosophy of Medicine; History of Medicine; Theory of Medicine/Bioethics
ISSN
1876-4533
eISSN
1876-4541
DOI
10.1007/s12376-009-0020-x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Anti-aging medicine is characterised by significant ‘hype’, hope and promise. This article examines the conditions giving rise to and sustaining this field. It questions its key premises, highlights the politico-economic ‘drivers’ of its innovations, and identifies the key actor networks sustaining its practices. As the article argues, it is highly questionable whether the viability of anti-aging medicine can be sustained as a discrete field of practice in the longer term. The instability of this field stems from its reliance on a faulty epistemological premise: that aging is a disease requiring technological intervention. In addition, anti-aging medicine is dependent on a series of fragile links and destabilising tendencies that threaten its long-term future. As sweeping promises regarding the ‘revolutionary’ potential of anti-aging medicine are made, financial, industry, government and public support becomes ever more contingent upon those utopian promises being realised. For reasons we discuss, this may not be possible. The article concludes by exploring the future of anti-aging medicine, highlighting a number of potential alternative scenarios.

Journal

Medicine StudiesSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 7, 2009

References