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Science as Affective, Embodied and Material Relations

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Chantal Nowak.

This talk addresses “scientific craftwork” in the use of human biological material for the benefit of biomedicine, innovation and patients’ health. A revolutionary cellular reprogramming technique has made it possible to turn human skin and blood cells into pluripotent stem cells, thus providing an unprecedented opportunity to study the pathophysiology of diseases, understand human developmental biology, and generate new therapies. Using the so called iPS cell technology as a point of entry, I examine how the foundations of biomedical knowledge production lie in embodied skill and affective engagement with cellular research material. Combining relational materialism and pragmatist philosophy of experience, I develop the idea of an instrumentality-care continuum as a core dynamic of biomedical craft, involving both researchers and patients as tissue donors. This continuum opens up a novel perspective to the commercialization and industrial-scale appropriation of human biology, and thereby to the future of ethical biomedical research.

This talk is part of the ReproSoc series.

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