Reordering Life: Knowledge And Control In The Genomics Revolution

Hardcover | May 19, 2017

byStephen Hilgartner

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The rise of genomics engendered intense struggle over the control of knowledge. In Reordering Life, Stephen Hilgartner examines the "genomics revolution" and develops a novel approach to studying the dynamics of change in knowledge and control. Hilgartner focuses on the Human Genome Project (HGP) -- the symbolic and scientific centerpiece of the emerging field -- showing how problems of governance arose in concert with new knowledge and technology. Using a theoretical framework that analyzes "knowledge control regimes," Hilgartner investigates change in how control was secured, contested, allocated, resisted, justified, and reshaped as biological knowledge was transformed. Beyond illuminating genomics, Reordering Life sheds new light on broader issues about secrecy and openness in science, data access and ownership, and the politics of research communities.

Drawing on real-time interviews and observations made during the HGP, Reordering Life describes the sociotechnical challenges and contentious issues that the genomics community faced throughout the project. Hilgartner analyzes how laboratories control access to data, biomaterials, plans, preliminary results, and rumors; compares conflicting visions of how to impose coordinating mechanisms; examines the repeated destabilization and restabilization of the regimes governing genome databases; and examines the fierce competition between the publicly funded HGP and the private company Celera Genomics. The result is at once a path-breaking study of a self-consciously revolutionary science, and a provocative analysis of how knowledge and control are reconfigured during transformative scientific change.

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The rise of genomics engendered intense struggle over the control of knowledge. In Reordering Life, Stephen Hilgartner examines the "genomics revolution" and develops a novel approach to studying the dynamics of change in knowledge and control. Hilgartner focuses on the Human Genome Project (HGP) -- the symbolic and scientific centerp...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.62 inPublished:May 19, 2017Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262035863

ISBN - 13:9780262035866

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Reordering Life is a fascinating book, unfolding a subtle, theoretically deep, and empirically rich account of the Human Genome Project. It represents a major contribution to a vast and growing body of science and technology studies literature covering the 'genomics revolution.' Hilgartner skillfully uses this highly visible big science endeavor to unpack the coproduction of deep scientific and societal transformations brought about through this project. This book will become a standard text engaging with the entanglement of epistemic, material, and political processes, and with the problems of governance that arise in concert with new genomic knowledge and technology.