My initial research into genomics was carried out with colleagues in the ESRC funded Centre for the Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen), where I worked with Ian Welsh and Alexandra Plows on a flagship project investigate the ways in which different publics engage with emergent medical technologies that rely on genetics. Although Cesagen continues to be highly successful I am not longer actively working on this project.
The key ideas that informed the project and the publications with which I
was most involved are listed below:
The research into genomics is premised on the idea that, just as it is important to understand the social and cultural conditions that give rise to scientific and technical innovation, so too it is important to understand the conditions that give rise to social and cultural innovation. Public engagement with science and technology is thus a crucial case study because it is the place where the 'science' and the 'society' come together. The aim of our project is to attempt to understand this process by tracking the its development over time, effectively following it from its nascent stages as a ‘proto-politics’ -- that is a politics in the making -- to a more developed stage in which issues, ideas and identities become more clearly defined.
In pursuing this work we are challenging conventional STS-type accounts in which controversies are typically seen as debates between clearly identifiable actors who represent similarly clear interest groups. Instead our research emphasises:
Evans, Robert, Plows, Alexandra and Welsh, Ian (2007) ‘Towards an Anatomy of Public Engagement with Medical Genetics’, in Atkinson, Paul, Glasner, Peter and Greenslade, Helen (eds) New Genetics, New Identities, London: Routledge, pp. 139-156.
Evans, Robert and Plows, Alexandra (2007) ‘Listening Without Prejudice? Re-Discovering the Value of the Disinterested Citizen’, Social Studies of Science, Vol. 37, No. 6, pp. 827-854. <http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0306312707076602>
Welsh I, Plows A and Evans R, (2007) Human Rights and Genomics: Science, Genomics and Social Movements at the 2004 London Social Forum’, New Genetics and Society, 26(2) 123-35. <http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14636770701466816>.
Last updated on 14 December, 2007