Towards Diffractive Transdisciplinarity: Integrating Gender Knowledge into the Practice of Neuroscientific Research

Neuroethics 5 (3):231-245 (2012)
The current neurosciences contribute to the construction of gender/sex to a high degree. Moreover, the subject of gender/sex differences in cognitive abilities attracts an immense public interest. At the same time, the entanglement of gender and science has been shown in many theoretical and empirical analyses. Although the body of literature is very extensive and differentiated with regards to the dimensions of ‘neuroscience of gender’ and ‘gender in neuroscience’, the feeding back of these findings into the field of neuroscience remains a desideratum. Especially, the question of how gender knowledge, i.e. insights from feminist theory on gender/sex and from gender and science studies on knowledge production, may be integrated and applied within the neurosciences has been strongly neglected. Presumably due to their epistemic culture and epistemological presuppositions, these critical engagements are conceived as externalist by critical scholars and neuroscientists alike. In this context, the question arises of how substantiated gender knowledge may be accounted for in neuroscientific research practice? The article outlines methodological considerations for a critical research agenda in the cognitive neurosciences. I present thoughts on how insights and expertise from gender and science studies can be taken into account in the neuroscientific practice of knowledge production. Starting from the assumption that changes in neuroscientific research practices are possible, my aim is to point out possibilities of integrating gender knowledge into the neurosciences
Keywords Neuroscience  Knowledge production  Gender/sex  Feminist theory  Diffractive methodology  Neuroethics  Research practice
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