Science, Experimentality and Intervention

In light of critical reviews of techniques for understanding and controlling populations, we seek to focus new attention on the dynamics of contemporary forms of knowledge production, invocations of population, and processes of categorization and classification. Concepts of population, its correct distribution, and its wellbeing are classical questions of state and society that anthropology has long been involved in helping to shape. In this thematic, we take up the ways in which persons, collectives, and populations are constructed in the governance of health and well-being in contemporary South Africa and beyond, and explore the ways these processes shape both modes of knowledge and forms of living. How are people sorted and stratified for the purposes of scientific research and intervention? How are the thick set of social relations that grow in and around clinical trial communities described, stabilised, and reproduced, in the generalisation of scientific findings? As stated above, how are concepts of population, social group, and individual, amongst a plethora of others, used and reimagined in post-Apartheid South Africa and in wider circuits of inclusion and exclusion under ‘late liberalism’?