Remembering Epimetheus: Biotechnologies and the market


technological trajectories


We all remember Prometheus (forethought, projection), but he makes little sense without his counterpart and brother Epimetheus (afterthought, reflection). Our stance towards biotechnology has all too often been compared with Frankenstein's handling of the creature he gave life to. Indeed it is no coincidence that Mary Shelley's book Frankenstein was subtitled ‘The Modern Prometheus’. Marketers, like scientists, have tended to project their vision of a technology's interaction with society and the natural world – and time and time again the hiatus between vision and reality has manifest as a yawing fissure. In this paper, we take an Epimethian approach to the interaction of biotechnology and the market; specifically, we reflect upon the intentional and emergent trajectories that biotechnology can trace within the marketplace using a model developed by Berthon et al. We argue that such reflections can help scientists and marketers better understand the complex dynamics of biotechnology and the market: we remember Epimetheus to ameliorate our Promethean suffering.

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