designing human practices an experiment with synthetic biology

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Designing Human Practices

Author : Paul Rabinow
ISBN : 9780226703138
Genre : Science
File Size : 35. 77 MB
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In 2006 anthropologists Paul Rabinow and Gaymon Bennett set out to rethink the role that human sciences play in biological research, creating the Human Practices division of the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center—a facility established to create design standards for the engineering of new enzymes, genetic circuits, cells, and other biological entities—to formulate a new approach to the ethical, security, and philosophical considerations of controversial biological work. They sought not simply to act as watchdogs but to integrate the biosciences with their own discipline in a more fundamentally interdependent way, inventing a new, dynamic, and experimental anthropology that they could bring to bear on the center’s biological research. Designing Human Practices is a detailed account of this anthropological experiment and, ultimately, its rejection. It provides new insights into the possibilities and limitations of collaboration, and diagnoses the micro-politics which effectively constrained the potential for mutual scientific flourishing. Synthesizing multiple disciplines, including biology, genetics, anthropology, and philosophy, alongside a thorough examination of funding entities such as the National Science Foundation, Designing Human Practices pushes the social study of science into new and provocative territory, utilizing a real-world experience as a springboard for timely reflections on how the human and life sciences can and should transform each other.

A Machine To Make A Future

Author : Paul Rabinow
ISBN : 0691120501
Genre : Science
File Size : 90. 29 MB
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A Machine to Make a Future represents a remarkably original look at the present and possible future of biotechnology research in the wake of the mapping of the human genome. The central tenet of Celera Diagnostics--the California biotech company whose formative work during 2003 is the focus of the book--is that the emergent knowledge about the genome, with its profound implications for human health, can now be turned into a powerful diagnostic apparatus--one that will yield breakthrough diagnostic and therapeutic products (and, potentially, profit). Celera's efforts--assuming they succeed--may fundamentally reshape the fabric of how health and health care are understood, practiced, and managed. Presenting a series of interviews with all of the key players in Celera Diagnostics, Paul Rabinow and Talia Dan-Cohen open a fascinating window on the complexity of corporate scientific innovation. This marks a radical departure from other books on the biotech industry by chronicling the vicissitudes of a project during a finite time period, in the words of the actors themselves. Ultimately, the authors conclude, Celera Diagnostics is engaged in a future characterized not by geniuses and their celebrated discoveries but by a largely anonymous and widely distributed profusion of data and results--a "machine to make a future." In their new afterword, Rabinow and Dan-Cohen revisit Celera Diagnostics as its mighty machine grinds along, wondering, along with the scientists, "what constitutes success and what constitutes failure?" The pathos of the situation turns on how one poses the question as much as how one answers it.

Making Pcr

Author : Paul Rabinow
ISBN : 0226701476
Genre : Science
File Size : 23. 76 MB
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A behind-the-scenes account of the invention of the polymerase chain reaction, which transformed the practice and potential of molecular biology. This book explores the culture of biotechnology as it emerged at Cetus Corporation in the 1980s, looking at its scientific, social and economic elements.

Perturbing The Organism

Author : Herbert Weiner
ISBN : 0226890414
Genre : Medical
File Size : 72. 66 MB
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The concept of stress pervades modern society, with relief from it promised on everything from vitamin to vacation packages. Yet there exists no generally accepted classification of stressful experience, nor is the concept itself universally considered a valid subject for research. This authoritative work is the first to analyze critically the entire range of research and theory on stress in animals and humans, from the earliest studies in the 1930s up to the present day. Herbert Weiner not only documents the many empirical and conceptual advances of recent years, but also supplies a new working definition and classification of stressful experience. He describes the integrated, organismic responses to stressful environmental changes, tasks, and challenges in terms of functional adaptation: the failure of these responses results in injury, ill-health, disease, and death. To examine the coordination between behavior and bodily functions, Weiner reviews current knowledge on how stressful experiences also alter biobehavioral rhythms. Providing a useful, integrative concept of stress rooted in an understanding of the organism as an interactive communication system composed of many subsystems, Perturbing the Organism will interest a wide range of clinicians and researchers throughout the medical and behavioral sciences. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Mental Health and Development

The Accompaniment

Author : Paul Rabinow
ISBN : 9780226701714
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 21. 40 MB
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In this culmination of his search for anthropological concepts and practices appropriate to the twenty-first century, Paul Rabinow contends that to make sense of the contemporary anthropologists must invent new forms of inquiry. He begins with an extended rumination on what he gained from two of his formative mentors: Michel Foucault and Clifford Geertz. Reflecting on their lives as teachers and thinkers, as well as human beings, he poses questions about their critical limitations, unfulfilled hopes, and the lessons he learned from and with them. This spirit of collaboration animates The Accompaniment, as Rabinow assesses the last ten years of his career, largely spent engaging in a series of intensive experiments in collaborative research and often focused on cutting-edge work in synthetic biology. He candidly details the successes and failures of shifting his teaching practice away from individual projects, placing greater emphasis on participation over observation in research, and designing and using websites as a venue for collaboration. Analyzing these endeavors alongside his efforts to apply an anthropological lens to the natural sciences, Rabinow lays the foundation for an ethically grounded anthropology ready and able to face the challenges of our contemporary world.

Theories Of Vision From Al Kindi To Kepler

Author : David C. Lindberg
ISBN : 0226482359
Genre : Medical
File Size : 36. 69 MB
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Kepler's successful solution to the problem of vision early in the seventeenth century was a theoretical triumph as significant as many of the more celebrated developments of the scientific revolution. Yet the full import of Kepler's arguments can be grasped only when they are viewed against the background of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance visual theory. David C. Lindberg provides this background, and in doing so he fills the gap in historical scholarship and constructs a model for tracing the development of scientific ideas. David C. Lindberg is professor and chairman of the department of the history of science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Sexual Nature Sexual Culture

Author : Paul R. Abramson
ISBN : 0226001822
Genre : Health & Fitness
File Size : 30. 76 MB
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In this multidisciplinary study of human sexuality, an international team of scholars looks at the influences of nature and nurture, biology and culture, and sex and gender in the sexual experiences of humans and other primates. Using as its center the idea that sexual pleasure is the primary motivational force behind human sexuality and that reproduction is simply a byproduct of the pleasurability of sex, this book examines sexuality at the individual, societal, and cultural levels. Beginning with a look at the evolution of sexuality in humans and other primates, the essays in the first section examine the sexual ingenuity of primates, the dominant theories of sexual behavior, the differences in male and female sexual interest and behavior, and the role of physical attractiveness in mate selection. The focus then shifts to biological approaches to sexuality, especially the genetic and hormonal origins of sexual orientation, gender, and pleasure. The essays go on to look at the role of pleasure in different cultures. Included are essays on love among the tribespeople of the Brazilian rain forest and the regulation of adolescent sexuality in India. Finally, several contributors look at the methodological issues in the study of human sexuality, paying particular attention to the problems with research that relies on people's memories of their sexual experiences. The contributors are Angela Pattatucci, Dean Hamer, David Greenberg, Frans de Waal, Mary McDonald Pavelka, Kim Wallen, Donald Symons, Heino Meyer-Bahlburg, Jean D. Wilson, Donald Tuzin, Lawrence Cohen, Thomas Gregor, Lenore Manderson, Robert C. Bailey, Alice Schlegel, Edward H. Kaplan, Richard Berk, Paul R. Abramson, Paul Okami, and Stephen D. Pinkerton. Spanning the chasm of the nature versus nurture debate, Sexual Nature/Sexual Culture is a look at human sexuality as a complex interaction of genetic potentials and cultural influences. This book will be of interest to a wide range of readers—from scholars and students in psychology, anthropology, sociology, and history to clinicians, researchers, and others seeking to understand the many dimensions of sexuality. "If we ever expect to solve the sexually based problems that modern societies face, we must encourage investigations of human sexual behavior. Moreover, those investigations should employ a broad range of disciplines—looking at sex from all angles, which is precisely what Sexual Nature, Sexual Culture does."—Mike May, American Scientist "...This timely and relevant book reminds us that we cannot rely on simple solutions to complex problems. It represents a transdiciplinary approach integrating knowledge from diverse fields and provides the reader with a challenging and rewarding experience. Especially for those who are involved in teaching human sexuality to medical students and other health care professionals, this book is highly recommended."—Gerald Wiviortt, M.D., Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease "In short, this volume contains much to stimulate, inform, and amuse, in varying proportions. What more can one ask?"—Pierre L. van den Berghe, Journal of the History of Sexuality "...the book succeeds in bring together some of the sharpest thinkers in the field of human sexuality, and goes a long way toward clarifying the diverse perspectives that currently exist."—David M. Buss and Todd K. Shackelford, Quarterly Review of Biology

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