The microbiome and the coming micro-biopolitics.
Over the past two decades, scientists have discussed a new scientific subject that reevaluates the human condition and requires a completely new scientific methodology—the microbiome. Thousands of different bacteria, fungi, archaea, and viruses form a microbial flora that coexist in our gut, and fulfill important functions in our intestines, mouths, and on our skin. Understanding microbiota alters and challenges our concepts of immunology, metabolism, an the relation between nutrition and mental health, and creates new shapes on pathogenesis. It even shapes our biological definition of living creatures at all levels of life, up to the largest structures created by living organisms.
Every biological system is governed by bacteria and wherever its diversity is put in danger (for example, poor hygienic practices, the development, production, and administration of antibiotics, etc.) the consequence is an increase in diseases (including diabetes and Alzheimer's). Studying and understanding the microbiome not only sheds new light on the relation between humankind and nature but also underscores the foreign within us. We are facing a new micro-biopolitics.
Edited in dialogue with Klaus Spiess
Copublished with the V-A-C Foundation
Augusto J. Montiel-Castro, Rina Maria González-Cervantes, Gabriela Bravo-Ruiseco, Gustavo Pacheco-López, M. N. Frissen, Scott Gilbert, P. F. de Groot, Nicolien de Clercq and Max Nieuwdorp, Jamie Lorimer, Vitor Cabral, Sway Chen, Krithivasan Sankaranarayanan, Stephanie Schnorr, Nicola Segatta, Ravi Sheth, Alfred I. Tauber, Harris Wang, Cecil Lewis Jr. and Christina Warinner