Features

The collaborative turn: interdisciplinarity across the human sciences

Questions of health, medicine and science have long animated sub-disciplinary attentions in the social sciences and humanities. Recently, however, research around these topics has taken a marked collaborative turn. If topics in the medical and health sciences were once straightforward objects of study for anthropological, sociological or philosophical analysis, increasingly, to work ‘on’ such topics often means also to work …

Books

Book Forum: “Demands of Day”

In February 2011, Paul Rabinow, Gaymon Bennett and I began to reflect on the impasses we had experienced in our collaborative work with groups of bioscientists and other social scientists, which had begun in 2006 (Rabinow and Bennett 2012). The core concerns in our interconnected projects in collaboration were how ethical practice and human and bioscientific knowledge practices could best …

Features

From Chicken Sheds to Random Control Trials: A Commentary on the “Bio-Social Methods for a Vitalist Social Science” Workshop

The “Bio-Social Methods for a Vitalist Social Science” Workshop – held at the University of Birmingham on July 16, 2013 -  aimed to reaffirm the role of the social sciences in a time when insights from behavioural science such as social psychology, behavioural economics, environmental psychology, neuroeconomics, and neuroscience are increasing being used to justify new policy mechanisms in the …

Features

On the pragmatics and politics of collaborative work between the social and life sciences

For scholars in the humanities and interpretive social sciences, it sometimes seems like hardly a day goes by without some kind of exhortation towards ‘interdisciplinarity’ – a trend that has only become more pronounced during the ongoing realignment of public higher education in many countries. ‘The humanities are being driven into defensive positions,’ wrote the vice-provost of University College London …

Books

Book review: Paul Rabinow’s The Accompaniment

The Accompaniment: Assembling the Contemporary

by Paul Rabinow

Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011

248 pp, US$21.00 paperback

From the start, I should note that I have never particularly liked the genre of the book review.  They always read like the experience of going to a museum and listening to one of those guided audio tours—complete with headsets and portable …

Features

On collaborating with journalists

Last spring I found myself in rural Alabama, sitting between an investigative journalist and a candid salesman I’ll call Sid, who was hawking used and potentially contaminated former FEMA trailers to those displaced by a series of tornados. These trailers had originally been issued by the federal government after Hurricane Katrina and were found to contain elevated levels of formaldehyde