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Dr Richard Tutton

Formerly at Lancaster University

Richard Tutton

Office Hours:

My office hours, when I am available for consultation and feedback, are 12-2pm on Fridays (Michaelmas term) and Tuesdays 12-2pm (Lent and Summer terms). 

My Role

In addition to my research and teaching, I also serve in the role of:

Co-Director of the Centre for Science Studies
MA Co-Director (Michaelmas Term 2017)
Co-chair of the Local Organizing Committee for European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) conference, 25-28 July 2018.

Research Interests


My research is at the intersection of the sociology of health and illness and the social studies of science. My current work centres on three areas:

1. Expectations, imaginaries and futures in contemporary biomedicine and biotechnology. In the last five years I have been working on what I call the 'genomic re-imagining of personalized medicine', exploring the fields of pharmacogenomics and personal genomics. In this work I have drawn on the sociology of expectations (Brown et al 2000) and the biomedical imaginary (Waldby 1996, 2000).

2. Changing forms of subjectivity and identity categories in the context of both innovative biomedical sciences and technologies and everyday healthcare practices. Previously I have worked on the use of racial/ethnic categories in genomics research. Currently, I am working with Kate Weiner (U of Sheffield) and Catherine Will (Sussex U) on practices of self-care and self-management.

3. Multiplanetary imaginaries. This is a new area of interest for me, sparked by the establishment in 2011 of Mars One - a not-for-profit organization based in the Netherlands - which aims to begin the human settlement of Mars in the mid-2020s. I am currently conducting a small interview-based study with people who have put themselves forward as candidates for being the first Martians, investigating their reasons for doing so, their experiences of being a candidate, their understanding of the risks and opportunities involved, and how they imagine the development of human society on another planet.

I am also the co-editor with Adam Hedgcoe at Cardiff University of the journal New Genetics and Society, published by Taylor Francis.

Current Teaching

SOCL101 Introduction to the Sociology of the Future
SOCL315 Sociology of the Future
SOCl949 MA Dissertation and Learning Skills
SOCL906 The Social Life of Science and Technology: Theories and Debates
SOCl931 Methods in Science and Technology Studies
BIOL465 Biomedicine in Context

Additional Information


My academic training was in literary and cultural studies, before my interest turned to studying the social implications of human genetics research in the late 1990s. I completed a PhD with Sarah Franklin and Maureen McNeil in the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University in 2002, and then took up a post-doc post in SATSU (Science and Technology Studies Unit) at University of York working with Anne Kerr and Sarah Cunningham-Burley on an ESRC funded project called Transformations in Genetic Subjecthood. When this research finished, I moved to the Institute for Science and Society (ISS) at the University of Nottingham and collaborated with Paul Martin (at ISS), Richard Ashcroft (Queen Mary's), George Ellison (St George's London), and Andrew Smart (Bath Spa) on the 'Race/ethnicity and Genetics in Science and Health' Project, which was funded by the Wellcome Trust's Biomedical Ethics Programme.

In September 2007, I joined ESRC Cesagen (Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics) which formed part of the ESRC Genomics Network. I was responsible for managing the operation of the Lancaster site and served as Acting Associate Director for a short period in 2011. I remained at Cesagen until its closure at the end of 2012.

After taking sabbatical leave in 2012-13, I am now based in the Department of Sociology. I contribute to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.


External Roles

I am the co-editor (with Adam Hedgecoe at Cardiff University) of the journal New Genetics and Society, published by Taylor Francis.

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