Through a discussion of a range of research drawn from the humanities and social sciences, and with a particular emphasis on work that tackles questions about the discourse of the life sciences, this paper considers some of the difficulties with research that aims to offer a critical analysis of immunology and its relationship to culture. It considers in particular arguments made on behalf of a biopolitical reading of the life sciences and, by examining the uncertain shift between discursive analysis and philosophical claim, it seeks to address some of the underlying assumptions made about the relations between different kinds of knowledge practice in the interplay between life science, philosophy and culture. Drawing on the work of Belgian philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers to consider the ways in which critical and philosophical appraisals of immunology adopt a characteristically modern stance in the way that they address the life sciences, it further seeks to characterise some of the limits that such forms of critique display.
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