Re- examining Reproduction: Ecological Marxism as an Epistemological Instrument for the Study of Reproductive Science, Technology, and Politics

By Jeremy J. Leveque.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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In the last twenty years a new branch of Marxist scholarship has developed, one that relocates the locus of inquiry away from capitalist production relations to a study of relations between the natural and the social. Often referred to as ecological Marxism, or eco-socialism, this new branch of Marxist scholarship aims to synthesize traditional Marxian political economy with an ecologically focused global perspective that calls for the integration of social theory with materially grounded, empirical knowledge emerging from the natural sciences. While ecological Marxism has been adopted by scholars of environmental political economy, its broader potential remains largely unexplored. This paper explores the potential use ecological Marxist epistemology could have in opening new lines of inquiry in studies of reproductive relations, where modern scientific knowledge and technology play a central role. This paper concludes that in the study of science and technology in the context of reproduction, ecological Marxism, via its emphasis on dissolving the gap between the social and the material, can provide a uniquely suited epistemological instrument for active engagement with scientific knowledge, one that is capable of accounting for the unique intersection of social and material that occurs in the process of scientific knowledge creation, practice, and development of technology in the context of human reproduction.

Keywords: Ecology, Marxism, Reproduction, Technology, Science, Epistemology, Nature, Evolutionary Biology

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.301-312. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 566.187KB).

Jeremy J. Leveque

PhD Student, Department of Sociology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada