Joan Fujimura, a sociologist of molecular biology, convened a group of graduate students and a post-doc for me to talk with. She let me know that some people had read a recent Biology & Philosophy paper of mine (but it turned out they meant my commentary on race and genetics, not my critique of heritability studies) and said “most of us are interested in genomics and complexity. Presenting the PKU example may be good.” I decided to try to get discussion of the implications of heterogeneity for understanding problems that concern me in heritability studies and in STS (science & technology studies) more generally. To introduce myself, I’d connect heterogeneity with the 3-angle approach to heterogeneous (or unruly) complexity that has run through my work, that is, critical thinking about science, interpretation of science in its social context, and bringing these back into science through refelctive practice and participatory pedagogy.
In the spirit of the last term, after introducing the term and two examples I asked participants how people deal with heterogeneity, where people might be researchers in natural sciences, in social sciences, or in STS—their choice. Contra the spirit of participatory pedagogy, my themes may have come across more clearly if I’d given a standard presentation on one part of my work.
Anyway, out of the discussion came the pertinent objection from Joan that people are building infrastructure based on new genetic knowledge and STS scholars are study this. (This was said to moderate my contention about heterogeneity, control and social infrastructure.)