Mittwoch, 29. Oktober 2014, 17:00 - 18:30 iCal

Creating Collective Value(s):

Biomedical Population Laboratories and Imaginations of Public Benefit

Department of Science and Technology Studies / Seminar Room / Staircase II / 6th floor (NIG)
Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Wien


In the history of biomedical research, collectives of diseased and healthy individuals and collections of their tissue and relevant data have been important resources for knowledge creation. Certainly since the rise of chronic disease epidemiology in the 1950s has the idea of a ‘population laboratory’, which entails longitudinal observation of the health status of a group of individuals as a kind of natural experiment, been a prominent vehicle for research. But to account for the sizable investments in time and finances that such ‘laboratories’ require, their value is often projected to arise from more than just contributions to medical knowledge. Often, they are meant to contribute to economic growth, health education or public policy interventions as well. In this talk I will explore how different forms of public benefits and value are imagined to be produced in contemporary population-scale biomedical research and how such imaginations have shaped and continue to shape infrastructures, governance and practices of knowledge making. Focusing on three specific endeavors in the United States, Singapore and India, I investigate differently situated efforts of value creation and the forms of exclusion these inadvertently produce. By covering different forms of biomedical population research in different geographical locations, this talk provides a rich account of the varieties and similarities in the imagined collective value(s) of research today.


Erik Aarden


Karin Neumann
Institut für Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung