Experimental subjectification the pursuit of human embryonic stem cells in India


Drawing on Foucault's notion of subject formation or subjectification, this article shows how a process of experimental subjectification, a wilful submission and participation in seemingly experimental treatments, produces both empowering and life-affirming experiences as well as a critique of established scientific norms and practices. The article examines processes of experimental subjectification in the narratives of patients pursuing clinical application of human embryonic stem cells in India to treat chronic spinal cord injury and in the narrative of the director of the clinic providing the treatment. The article addresses how the clinic's director and patients from around the globe continue to successfully pursue embryonic stem cell therapies, despite intense media speculation and scientific scrutiny labelling the clinic as a maverick experimental site.