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Jess Phoenix

Research student

Jess Phoenix

Lancaster University

Bowland North

LA1 4YN

Lancaster

Research overview

I completed my degree in Environmental Science at the University of East Anglia before moving to Lancaster to undertake an ESRC funded Masters and PhD. I finished my MA in Sociological Research in September 2015, with a dissertation focusing on involved publics' evalaution of scientific studies in regards to badger culling and bovine tuberculosis (bTB).

My doctoral research explroes the making of bTB in practice. bTB is widely conceptualised as a singular disease interpreted in multiple ways, potentially giving undue ontological coherence to the disease. My research challenges this coherence by investigating the heterogeneity of the disease itself and how the disease is made in disease management practices.

Thesis Title

What is bovine Tuberculosis? Using the ethnographic method to explore a disease-in-the-making

Supervised By

Thesis Outline

Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) is arguably the most important and problematic livestock disease in England. A statutory disease eradication strategy to detect the disease in cattle and to reduce the risk of disease transmission between cattle, and between cattle and wildlife exists in England. bTB has recently regained substantial public attention due to the controversy surrounding the link made between bTB and badgers, and the Government’s licencing of badger culling in 2013. Managing and controlling bTB has implications for multiple stakeholder groups that hold divergent views on ‘disease control’ practices.

bTB is widely conceptualised as a singular disease interpreted in multiple ways, potentially giving undue ontological coherence to the disease. My research challenges this coherence by investigating the heterogeneity of the disease itself and how the disease is made in disease management practices. I followed bTB through a multi-agent, multi-sited ethnography focusing on disease management practices: skin testing, risk-based trading, evaluating the effectiveness of badger culling policy, shooting and cage trapping badgers, activist opposition to badger culling, gassing badgers, and bTB citizen science.

Drawing upon insights from Science and Technology Studies, the thesis explores how a practice is being undertaken, how the practice contributes to the making of bTB, and, in some cases, how it could be done differently to make a different kind of bTB which is less painful, less polarised and less antagonisitic.

Research Grants

I am currently the recipient of an Economic and Social Research Council 1 + 3 (MA + PhD) studentship.

Qualifications

BSc (Hons) Enviornmental Science with a Year in Industry (First-class, University of East Anglia)

MA Sociological Research (Distinction, Lancaster University)

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