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Seminar with Myra Hird: Social Science and the Microbial

Date: 12 June 2008 Time: 13.00 -14.30 pm

Plenty of Room at the Bottom: Social Science and the Microbial

Myra J. Hird, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada

Bowland North Seminar Room 23

A number of social scientific analyses consider nonhuman animals in attempts to think beyond humanist Other-ethics. The aim of this presentation is to open up these analyses to the bacterial, and think through what it might mean to meet-with bacteria outside dominant pathogen and domestication characterisations. After briefly describing some of the major kinds of bacteria that created, sustain and regulate all life on Earth, I review recent evidence of bacterial perception, communication, self-organization, colonisation and (what some scientists describe as) consciousness. I then attempt to formulate a microontology drawing upon insights from biosemiotics, autopoiesis, and nature-culture-social distinctions. Specifically, I want to think through contemporary Other-ethics 'brought forth' through complex bacterial intra- and inter-actions upon which all humans depend.


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: Bronislaw Szerszynski

Organising departments and research centres: Centre for the Study of Environmental Change, Sociology

Keywords: Biopolitics, Metaphysics, Science and technology studies, Semiotics, Sensation


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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