• Lecture Series
ÖAW, Festsaal, Dr. Ignaz-Seipel-Platz 2, 1010 Wien
Margaret Lock

8. Eric Wolf Lecture: Margaret Lock: Reassessing Embodiment in the Era of the Epigenome

The theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics postulated by Jean-Baptist Lamarck early in the 19th century is undergoing a surprising revival, albeit in modified form.


The burgeoning field of epigenetics, grounded in molecular biology, assumes that variables other than genes, both external and internal to the body, contribute at times to the phenotype of ensuing generations. The gene has been de-centered as the organizing principle of human life. Although epigeneticists acknowledge that historical, social, political, and environmental variables contribute to cellular epigenetics, their primary approach is one of a reinvigorated somatic reductionism, focused on cellular-level mechanisms that activate genes. Margaret Lock argues instead that anthropologists must embrace a theory of embodiment that recognizes a nature/nurture entanglement, a lifelong factor in individual development, behavior, health, and disease, via the medium of epigenetic markers. Such deep ethnographically grounded research situates material bodies in specific historical, sociopolitical, and environmental realities. It permits theorizing about how violence, discrimination, racism, and poverty are literally embodied and lead to the unequal distribution of disease and illness so evident in epidemiological research. Furthermore, it challenges a common anthropological assumption of a universal, skin-bounded material body.


Am Folgetag, dem 29. Oktober, besteht die Möglichkeit zur Diskussion mit Margaret Lock.

Zeit: 16.00Uhr bis 18.00Uhr, Ort: IFK, [E]

Eine Kooperation des IFK mit dem Institut für Sozialanthropologie (ISA) der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften und dem Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie der Universität Wien. 


Ort: ÖAW, Festsaal, Dr. Ignaz-Seipel-Platz 2, 1010 Wien