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Emerging Politics of New Genetic Technologies Home
This 3 year project is about public engagement with new genetic technologies. This work has been predominantly UK focused, with attention also paid to EU regulatory developments and European actors. Focusing on human applications, the project has been mapping the social dynamics of emerging public responses to this high profile science project, identifying core areas of interest and concern as expressed by different publics in relation to a broad variety of issues and themes. ‘Publics’ are here defined as civil society in its broadest sense and the project is thus mapping engagement (actions, discourse frames) amongst:
A 'timeline' and ethnographic overview is being produced, and a database of prime movers has been collated. Methodologically, the project has been taking 'snapshots' at various ethnographic sites. The research is now moving into the coding and analysis stage. Using Nvivo qualitative coding software, interview and other research data is being coded to identify core discursive frames and actor network interaction patterns.
Areas of emergence amongst latent networks /predisposed actors are becoming
more apparent as the discursive stakes become more formalised, and the
networks more embedded. The project will be reporting major findings in
the form of reports and datasets by Spring 2006. Core frames, issues and
actors will be identified, along with mobilisation /network patterns and
Some general patterns/ findings
A core finding is that to construct any actor group as simply "pro" or "anti" biotechnology fails to map the sophistication, range, context- dependency, and cultural and political situated-ness, of actor responses (see Irwin and Wynne 1996, Wynne 1995, Bauer and Gaskell 2003). Multiple issues are associated with the broad field of genomics and CT (Converging Technologies). Risks and benefits are perceived as tied together; producing complexity, ambiguity, fragmentation. Correspondingly, whilst in some arenas clear 'battle lines' are drawn, such as a social justice critique of biological reductionism, or pro- life opposition to embryo research, overall, mobilisation over human genomics is fragmented, shifting and complex, with multiple cultural and political issues implicit or explicit within a "single issue". Further, boundaries between identities are blurred as actors cross between spheres of engagement, for example between the regulatory and civil society sphere. This has implications for policy and modes of public engagement.
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|Page updated: 9 November, 2005|