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On Purity and Interest: Enacting Interests and Values in Biomedical Science
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (ValueS)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7206-2046
2013 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this paper is to understand the ways in which the biosciences exist in a situation where values of pure and disinterested science meet imperatives to innovate on the basis of economic interests. I show how both these facets of the biosciences, purity and interest, are assembled in complex manners, with large consequences for how the biosciences are evaluated, socially, economically, and methodologically.

Here, I propose analyzing the dichotomous relationship between purity/interest through two modes of purification: temporal and organizational. These two modes of purification have different consequences for how the biosciences are evaluated as Good Science, and are tied to different valorizations of the "linear model" as well as "hybrid science". Thus, I attempt to complicate Boltanski & Thévenot's analysis of justification to stress the performative aspects of coordination and conflict between different orders of worth.

Concretely, the paper's focus is the studied actors’ performance of science as a moral or political project and the ways in which epistemological yardsticks – such as antibody-specificity or experimental replicability – are intertwined with and contrasted against other yardsticks – like production efficiency or medical utility. The questions that the actors grapple with are “What is Good Science?” and “What should the life sciences be concerned with?”

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-105652OAI: diva2:709273
Gothenburg Theory of Science Dept.
Available from: 2014-04-01 Created: 2014-04-01 Last updated: 2014-10-08

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Lee, Francis
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ReferencesLink to record
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