The Co-Production of Science, Ethics and Emotion

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The concept of ‘‘ethical research’’ holds considerable sway over the ways in
which contemporary biomedical, natural, and social science investigations
are funded, regulated, and practiced within a variety of countries. Some
commentators have viewed this ‘‘new’’ means of governance positively;
others, however, have been resoundingly critical, regarding it as restrictive
and ethics bodies and regulations unfit for the task they have been set
(or have set themselves). Regardless, it is clear that science today is an
‘‘ethical’’ business. The ways in which formal and informal ethical discourses
and practices—what might be called ‘‘regimes of normativity’’—structure
scientific work and the meanings it is ascribed with have, however, been
underexplored. This article attends to how science and ethics articulate;
how they are, in many ways, co-produced. Exploring these processes of coproduction
casts into sharp relief the essential emotionality of science; the
relationships investigators have with their colleagues, work, and research
participants pulse with emotion, potentially shaping in important ways the
very kinds of knowledge that laboratories produce.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-603
JournalScience, Technology, and Human Values
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • academic disciplines and traditions
  • ethics
  • labor
  • emotion
  • power
  • governance
  • law

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