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From validating to verifying: public appeals in synthetic biology

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From validating to verifying : public appeals in synthetic biology. / Mackenzie, Adrian.

In: Science as Culture, Vol. 22, No. 4, 01.12.2013, p. 476-496.

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Mackenzie A. From validating to verifying: public appeals in synthetic biology. Science as Culture. 2013 Dec 1;22(4):476-496. doi: 10.1080/14636778.2013.764067

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Mackenzie, Adrian. / From validating to verifying : public appeals in synthetic biology. In: Science as Culture. 2013 ; Vol. 22, No. 4. pp. 476-496.

Bibtex

@article{47e20af1ea3348619a8fde7b769fdbc0,
title = "From validating to verifying: public appeals in synthetic biology",
abstract = "Synthetic biology provides a vivid and richly entangled contemporary example of a science being made public. A science, however, can be made public in different ways. A public could validate, legitimate, de-legimate, object to, verify, confirm or dissent from science. Practically, scientists could publicise sciencein the mass mediaor they could make science public. The contrast between high-profile, media scientists such as J. Craig Venter, and community-based participatory mechanisms such as OpenWetWare allows us to see how these alternatives play out in practice. While it is easy to criticise and dismiss the public-relations oriented promotion of synthetic biology by figures such as Venter, how should we evaluate the open participatory mechanisms of a social media effort such as OpenWetWare? I suggest, drawing on the work of Isabelle Stengers and Michael Warner, that the case of synthetic biology is interesting because many synthetic biologists commit themselves to making it public, and making its public-ness part of how it is done. They place hope in publics to make the science viable. At the same time, however, the publics who are welcomed into OpenWetWare are largely confined to validating the coordination mechanisms on which the claim to public-ness rests. Whether publics can do more than validate synthetic biology, then, remains a question both for publics outside and inside this emerging scientific field. And whether the alternatives of validation or participation themselves adequately frame what is at stake in the emergence of fields such as synthetic biology remains debatable.",
keywords = "Synthetic biology, publics, media, performativity, politics, LIFE, CHALLENGES, NEWTONS, GENOME",
author = "Adrian Mackenzie",
year = "2013",
month = dec,
day = "1",
doi = "10.1080/14636778.2013.764067",
language = "English",
volume = "22",
pages = "476--496",
journal = "Science as Culture",
issn = "0950-5431",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "4",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - From validating to verifying

T2 - public appeals in synthetic biology

AU - Mackenzie, Adrian

PY - 2013/12/1

Y1 - 2013/12/1

N2 - Synthetic biology provides a vivid and richly entangled contemporary example of a science being made public. A science, however, can be made public in different ways. A public could validate, legitimate, de-legimate, object to, verify, confirm or dissent from science. Practically, scientists could publicise sciencein the mass mediaor they could make science public. The contrast between high-profile, media scientists such as J. Craig Venter, and community-based participatory mechanisms such as OpenWetWare allows us to see how these alternatives play out in practice. While it is easy to criticise and dismiss the public-relations oriented promotion of synthetic biology by figures such as Venter, how should we evaluate the open participatory mechanisms of a social media effort such as OpenWetWare? I suggest, drawing on the work of Isabelle Stengers and Michael Warner, that the case of synthetic biology is interesting because many synthetic biologists commit themselves to making it public, and making its public-ness part of how it is done. They place hope in publics to make the science viable. At the same time, however, the publics who are welcomed into OpenWetWare are largely confined to validating the coordination mechanisms on which the claim to public-ness rests. Whether publics can do more than validate synthetic biology, then, remains a question both for publics outside and inside this emerging scientific field. And whether the alternatives of validation or participation themselves adequately frame what is at stake in the emergence of fields such as synthetic biology remains debatable.

AB - Synthetic biology provides a vivid and richly entangled contemporary example of a science being made public. A science, however, can be made public in different ways. A public could validate, legitimate, de-legimate, object to, verify, confirm or dissent from science. Practically, scientists could publicise sciencein the mass mediaor they could make science public. The contrast between high-profile, media scientists such as J. Craig Venter, and community-based participatory mechanisms such as OpenWetWare allows us to see how these alternatives play out in practice. While it is easy to criticise and dismiss the public-relations oriented promotion of synthetic biology by figures such as Venter, how should we evaluate the open participatory mechanisms of a social media effort such as OpenWetWare? I suggest, drawing on the work of Isabelle Stengers and Michael Warner, that the case of synthetic biology is interesting because many synthetic biologists commit themselves to making it public, and making its public-ness part of how it is done. They place hope in publics to make the science viable. At the same time, however, the publics who are welcomed into OpenWetWare are largely confined to validating the coordination mechanisms on which the claim to public-ness rests. Whether publics can do more than validate synthetic biology, then, remains a question both for publics outside and inside this emerging scientific field. And whether the alternatives of validation or participation themselves adequately frame what is at stake in the emergence of fields such as synthetic biology remains debatable.

KW - Synthetic biology

KW - publics

KW - media

KW - performativity

KW - politics

KW - LIFE

KW - CHALLENGES

KW - NEWTONS

KW - GENOME

U2 - 10.1080/14636778.2013.764067

DO - 10.1080/14636778.2013.764067

M3 - Journal article

VL - 22

SP - 476

EP - 496

JO - Science as Culture

JF - Science as Culture

SN - 0950-5431

IS - 4

ER -