Joseph Dumit

Sect 7 Presentation by Joe Dumit (08.05.11) HD from UCHRI Video on Vimeo.


I have posted examples of three types of projects I have been working on. The first is my attempt to work out a method between Haraway and Deleuze with some Foucault thrown in. It is a mode of charting my knowledge about a research topic and my gaps from the inside. A modest starting point. The second is an article from a book project I have finally completed, on marketing’s transformation of contemporary pharmaceutical clinical trials. Perhaps it could be thought of as heterotemporal and in dialogue with scholars working in and around clinical trials in Asia, especially Kaushik Sunder Rajan, with the provocation that I think the logics of value emerging from it treat biopolitics as optional. The third piece is part of a new project studying a three-dimensional visualization CAVE used in scientific research. Co-written with Natasha Myers, we are exploring ways of studying highly excited, haptic discovery processes.

Using REWIRE as incitement to think across these projects, I’d say that my method of research has been motivated by what fascinates other people – in particular how knowledge makers get caught, curious, excited and obsessed, caught up in logics, ways of thinking, prosthetic ways of seeing and feeling, and the forms of creativity that are thereby enabled and constrained. My projects have had to do with understanding the logics (good and bad) of “more” that organize, lure, possess knowledge production in the west, as a means of thinking how it could be otherwise. As an anthropologist, this has meant both implicit cross-cultural comparison through theory and anthropology, and explicit intra-cultural comparison across modes and spheres of knowledge: large-scale corporations, big science, lab groups, new social movements, computer programmers.

In particular, I’m struck/stuck by juxtaposing the logic of “more” discussed by Marx in Capital with the “more” proposed by Stengers Thinking with Whitehead:

“Nature is that about which relevant knowledge may be produced. If we pay due attention to it, we can learn, discern relations, and multiply entities and ratios… Knowledge as ultimate does not designate a ‘knowing’ subject,’ but corresponds to a problem of a pragmatic kind: the concept of nature must give meaning to the world with which we deal, a world we can learn about, but which is also capable of tricking us and placing us in danger… From this viewpoint, experimental science, as a producer of ‘scientific objects,’ by no means carries out a break with common sense. It designates the surprising discovery that it is possible in some cases, to ‘ask even more.'” (106-7).

I want to know if there is a resonance or divergence to be discovered between the demand for “more capital” of pharmaceutical marketers and the “more questions” of lab scientists.


  • Dumit, Joseph, ms, “Writing the implosion: teaching the world one thing at a time.” (PDF)
  • Dumit, Joseph, In Press “Prescription Maximization and the Accumulation of Surplus Health in the Pharmaceutical Industry: The_Biomarx_Experiment” in Lively Capital, edited by Kaushik Sunder Rajan. Durham: Duke University Press. (PDF)
  • Myers, Natasha & Joseph Dumit, 2011, “Haptic Creativity and the Mid-Embodiments of Experimental Life,” in Companion to the Anthropology of Bodies/Embodiment, edited by Fran Mascia-Lees, New York: Wiley-Blackwell Publishers. (PDF)


  • Lawrence Cohen, “Where it hurts” (PDF)
  • Sunder Rajan, Lively Capital
  • Sunder Rajan, Biocapital
  • Deleuze & Guattari, Thousand Plateaus, Ch4, 12, 13
  • Isabelle Stengers, Thinking with Whitehead
  • Donna Haraway: “Value-added dogs and lively capital” and “Shared Suffering” in When Species Meet (PDF)
  • Donna Haraway “Situated Knowledge”
  • Annemarie Mol, Body Multiple
  • Annemarie Mol & John Law – “Regions Networks and Fluids: Anaemia and Social Topology” (PDF)
  • Marx, Capital, esp. Ch10