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Affective Practices, Care and Bioscience: a Study of Two Laboratories

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Lisa Garforth



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Scientific knowledge-making is not just a matter of experiments, modelling and fieldwork. It also involves affective, embodied and material practices (Wetherell, 2012) which can be understood together as ‘matters of care’ (Puig de la Bellacasa, 2011). In this paper we explore how affect spans and connects material, subjective and organizational practices, focusing in particular on the patterns of care we encountered in an observational study of two bioscience laboratories. We explore the preferred emotional subjectivities of each lab and their relation to material practice. We go on to consider flows and clots in the circulation of affect and their relation to care through an exploration of belonging and humour in the labs. We show how being a successful scientist or group of researchers involves a careful choreography of affect in relation to materials, colleagues and others to produce scientific results, subjects and workplaces. We end by considering how thinking with care troubles dominant constructions of scientific practice, successful scientific selves and collectives.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kerr A, Garforth L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The Sociological Review

Year: 2016

Volume: 64

Issue: 1

Pages: 3-20

Print publication date: 01/02/2016

Online publication date: 12/06/2015

Acceptance date: 13/03/2015

Date deposited: 04/01/2016

ISSN (print): 0038-0261

ISSN (electronic): 1467-954X

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/1467-954X.12310


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