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Home Archive volume 09, 2010 Issue 01, march 2010. Special issue Special issue on peer-to-peer and user-led science: invited comments Outlaw, hackers, victorian amateurs: diagnosing public participation in the life sciences today
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Outlaw, hackers, victorian amateurs: diagnosing public participation in the life sciences today

22/03/2010

Abstract

This essay reflects on three figures that can be used to make sense of the changing nature of public participation in the life sciences today: outlaws, hackers and Victorian gentlemen. Occasioned by a symposium held at UCLA (Outlaw Biology: Public Participation in the Age of Big Bio), the essay introduces several different modes of participation (DIY Bio, Bio Art, At home clinical genetics, patient advocacy and others) and makes three points: 1) that public participation is first a problem of legitimacy, not legality or safety; 2) that public participation is itself enabled by and thrives on the infrastructure of mainstream biology; and 3) that we need a new set of concepts (other than inside/outside) for describing the nature of public participation in biological research and innovation today.

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