Making Bodies Commensurate: The Social Construction of Humans, Animals, and Microbes as Objects of Scientific Study
AuthorKelly, Kimberly Lynn
Public understanding of science
science and technology
Pike, Ivy L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation utilizes three independent research projects to examine one overarching theoretical question: How do people understand, contest, negotiate, and / or rationalize the ways in which bodies-human, animal, and microbial - are socially constructed as commensurate, or not, in science? Using three unique projects focusing on either the human, animal, or microbial body, this dissertation broadly explores the social processes inherent in the construction of "bodies" for scientific research. This dissertation explores the complexity of how bodies are used in science, how this is understood by individuals, and the impacts this has not only on science but also the intertwined lives of animals, humans, and their microbes. Each paper explores a key set of questions drawing from a shared set of theoretical lenses, including local biology and biolooping, commensuration, the biovalue of bodies, and the microbiome. Specifically this dissertation presentation will explore these questions: 1) How are Japanese bodies socially constructed as different from other bodies in ethnobridging clinical trials?; 2) How is local biology employed as a technique of commensuration at the site of the Japanese body, by the government, and the global pharmaceutical industry and what does this mean for scientific studies utilizing it in this way?; 3) How do scientists construct nonhuman primates as appropriate proxies for humans in biomedical research experiments?; 4) How do individuals understand themselves and their health in relation to pet dogs and microbes?; and 5) How do humans understand the ways in which humans, animals, and microbes co-create their biological and social worlds? This dissertation shows how the construction of the body as an object of scientific study is negotiated, contested, and taken up in daily life, and how this is flexible, malleable, and not at all uniform. It explores the ways in which biomedical knowledge of the body is socially constructed and how it co-creates the animal, microbial, environmental, and cultural worlds in which it circulates. Through doing so and using techniques and lenses grounded in biosocial anthropology, this dissertation adds to the literature on the body in both medical and multispecies anthropology.
Degree ProgramGraduate College