Accepted Paper:

A laboratory of one's own: desire of social change and professional path among young life scientists.  


Sara Tocchetti (University of Lausanne)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on sociology of professional identities and STS works, in particular Bruno Latour (1983) and Kerry Holden (2010), this paper questions how young life scientists problematize their professional experience and which desires of social change underlies their socio-technical projects.

Paper long abstract:

Cathal Garvay was described by his thesis director as a brilliant although a bit impatient student. After few months he dropped out from the Ph.D program to pursue his vision of a "biotechnology for the people." Garvey considers that contemporary public and private research are in the impossibility to solve world's pressing problems because heavily determined by financial and commercial interests. In his opinion only a biology and a biotechnology that are put back in peoples hands, a do-it-yourself biology (DIYbio), can provide solutions.

This paper works through the professional biography of Cathal Garvey and other members of the DIYBio network and their choice of setting up laboratories of one's own or community laboratories and to develop accessible, affordable and achievable tools to put biology and biotechnology in people's had. It questions how young life scientists problematize their professional experience and which theories and desires of social change explicitly or implicitly underlies the socio-technical project of a personal biology and biotechnology (Tocchetti, 2012). To do so the paper draw on three majors fields of literature, sociology and anthropology of social change, sociology of professions and professional identities and science and technology studies, with particular attention to the work of Bruno Latour (1983) and Kerry Holden (2010).

This paper draws from research carried out during a recently completed doctoral thesis and new material from ongoing research.

Panel T023
Science Is Politics by Other Means Revisited