Today 430 pm UCL STS research seminar Genome Editing and Sociotechnical Imaginaries with Dr Silvia Camporesi

When: Wednesday Nov 18, 2015 04:30 PM –  06:00 PM (tea-time at 16:00)

Where: UCL Malet Place Engineering Building 1.02 LT

full title: CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing debate and the emergence of sociotechnical imaginaries in the UK and US

speaker: Dr Silvia Camporesi, Department of Social Science, Health & Medicine, King’s College London


In this paper I apply the concept developed by Jasanoff and Kim of ‘sociotechnical imaginaries’ to the CRISPR/Cas9 bioethics debate in the US and the UK. Sociotechnical imaginaries are “collectively imagined forms of special life and social order reflected in the design and fulfilment of nation-specific scientific and/or technological projects, which have a performative role as while they are created, they shape policy-making” (Jasanoff and Kim 2009; 2015). I discuss the emergence of specific narratives around possible futures construed around the germ-line applications of CRISPR/Cas9 technology in the US and in the UK.

I argue that the narrow focus of the bioethics debate on germ-line applications of the technical risks becoming a “technolog[y] of elicitation” (Lezaun and Soneyrd, 2007) which seeks to produce public opinion in a strategic way, and by doing so, prevent alternative narratives from surfacing in the debate. I conclude that CRISPR/Cas9 represents an opportunity for bioethicists to engage creatively with science outside well-known schema of promises and fears and beyond the current anthropocentric and nucleocentric debate.

STS research seminar series

STS research seminars cover all aspects of research in the discipline. The purpose of this series is to provide colleagues with an opportunity to present their latest research results and discuss them within a collegial atmosphere. These are open to all interested parties; however, do keep in mind these are specialised professional presentations and can be quite technical.

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