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Vetenskap på gränsen
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2005 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Science on the line (English)
Abstract [en]

With behavioural genetic twin- and animal-studies as a point of departure, this thesis investigates how the polyphonic talk about genes creates certain conditions for how “human behaviour” can be constructed, how the politics of boundary fixing contributes to and undermines respectively, credible narratives about human behaviour and, in the extension, about what constitutes human-ness. Furthermore, sociology is used as a sounding board in order to investigate what behavioural genetic knowledge can promote in terms of sociological insights and vice versa. Empirically, the thesis concerns how scientists describe and represent their own (and others’) research in scientific articles, popular science, at conferences and in the interviews performed with myself. But it also addresses how daily news and evening papers represent the same research in Sweden today.

The results reveal that the figures included – the Twin and the Human-animal – are highly versatile. The Twin can, at a superficial gaze, be central for a hegemonic narrative about heredity and environment in different proportions, but is flexible enough to allow a variety of alternative stories and a “complementary position”. The Human-animal can in a similar fashion produce distinct boundaries between humans, on the one hand, and all other animals on the other; whilst simultaneously modifying the same boundaries in terms of “the other” as constitutive of human-ness and humans as just one species among others. These figures are thus boundary transgressing objects which refuse to be (more then temporarily) locked in one position. As an effect of this, they have double functions: they can come into use both to strengthen, and to challenge, hegemonic, scientific narratives.

Due to this double-ness, an interested distrustfulness can be fruitful for discussions “over the line”; discussions where goals and possibilities are not predetermined. Manifold-ness opens for alternative notions, capable of challenging ingrained opinions and established narratives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Arkiv förlag , 2005. , 294 p.
, Pandoraserien, IX
Keyword [en]
Sociology, discourse analysis, sociology of science, cultural studies, Donna Haraway, boundary politics, figure, behavioural genetics, genomics, behaviour, human animal, twin
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-4771ISBN: 91-7924-184-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-4771DiVA: diva2:165699
Public defence
2005-02-18, Sal IX, Universitetshuset, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2005-01-27 Created: 2005-01-27 Last updated: 2009-03-19Bibliographically approved

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