, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 668–674 | Cite as

“Could we meet?”: A conversation on collaboration, feeling and failure

Andrew S. Balmer, Katie Bulpin, Susan Molyneux-Hodgson (Eds), Synthetic Biology: A Sociology of Changing Practices, Houndmills, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, US$87.75, ISBN: 978-1137495419.
  • Andrew S. BalmerEmail author
  • Susan Molyneux-Hodgson
  • Felicity Callard
  • Des Fitzgerald
Books Forum

Fitzgerald: Andy and Susie, Synthetic Biology: A Sociology of Changing Practices, the book you co-wrote with Kate Bulpin, is an ethnographic account of the emergence of synthetic biology in the UK, a new and much-hyped interdisciplinary field crossing engineering and biology, and in which you have been entangled for some years. Of course there is more than one kind of ‘changing practice’ in question here: in addition to new engineering and microbiological endeavours, a new kind of sociological or STS practice is at stake too, one that seems to be suspended awkwardly between ethnographic observation of, and collaborative participation in, a new science. Can you reflect on the emergence of this practice, as both a methodological and a literary tactic?

Balmer:Multiple kinds of practices were indeed at stake in the work. Susie had helped to devise the project and had ensured that the sociology component of the grant application was equally weighted, but how we were going to collaborate...


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew S. Balmer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Susan Molyneux-Hodgson
    • 2
  • Felicity Callard
    • 3
  • Des Fitzgerald
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Sociology, School of Social SciencesUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of ExeterExeterUK
  3. 3.Department of Psychosocial StudiesBirkbeck, University of LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.School of Social SciencesCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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