Sociology seminar 7th Feb 2-3pm Dr Rob Meckin
|Dates:||7 February 2018|
|Times:||14:00 - 15:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Social Sciences|
|Who is it for:||University staff|
You are warmly invited to the first Sociology Seminar of 2018, to be given by Dr Robert Meckin.
Title: Embodied and situated engagement with possibilities: anticipating biotechnological futures in the production and use of menthol
Mint and menthol are widely used flavours and fragrances that have distinctive interactions with the human senses. Products containing mint and menthol, such as muscles rubs, shower gels and chewing gums are important components in diverse practices of care, hygiene, leisure and illness. Flavours and fragrances including menthol are targets for synthetic biology, an approach to life sciences where multidisciplinary teams apply design principles with an aim of making biology easier to engineer. Current political and scientific policies advocating responsible research and innovation (RRI) suggest that researchers should engage stakeholders and anticipate issues arising with novel technologies. This paper describes a sociological approach to anticipation that focused on people’s everyday practices by engaging their senses.
The future has a rich history in sociological study and has been treated in a variety of ways. However, studying the not-yet poses methodological and analytical challenges for sociology. Recent discussions in science and technology studies (STS) and other areas of research have critiqued representationalist and performative accounts of the future and posited practice-based approaches. This argument draws on these theoretical discussions to describe an approach to the future involving object-elicitation interviews and home tours that situates anticipation in people’s embodied experiences. Sensory engagement can stimulate rich discussions about people’s ethical commitments and how they anticipate the possibility of consumer products that could contain biosynthetic menthol, and indicates a complementary approach to contemporary technology governance.
All welcome. Tea and coffee provided.
Travel and Contact Information
Arthur Lewis Boardroom
Arthur Lewis Building