Animated Bodies in Immunological Practices: Craftsmanship, Embodied Knowledge, Emotions and Attitudes Toward Animals

Human Studies 34 (4):407-429 (2011)
Taking up the body turn in sociology, this paper discusses scientific practices as embodied action from the perspective of Husserl’s phenomenological theory of the “Body”. Based on ethnographic data on a biology laboratory it will discuss the importance of the scientist’s Body for the performance of scientific activities. Successful researchers have to be skilled workers using their embodied knowledge for the process of tinkering towards the material transformation of their objects for data production. The researcher’s body then is an instrument of measuring as well as a kind of archive of knowing. Their body becomes a disciplined instrument which has its own place and function inside the laboratory. Furthermore, the appresentational apperception of Bodies (Husserl) is being discussed as a basis for the emotional and ethical concerns towards laboratory-animals. Attitudes towards animals in the laboratory setting (as well as elsewhere) are highly emotional. Nevertheless, following the literature of the sociology of the body, those emotional reactions still follow certain cultural patterns which themselves can be understood as embodied ways of knowing “right” or “wrong”. Besides as an instrument, the scientist’s body can also be understood as a resource of emotional attachment towards animals. It is an instrument for performing transformation as well as one for caring.
Keywords Bodies  Scientific practices  Laboratory  Immunology  Tacit knowledge  Embodied knowledge  Animal experimentation  Attitudes towards animals  Emotions  Morals
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DOI 10.1007/s10746-011-9205-x
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