Ambivalence, equivocation, and the politics of experimental knowledge

A transdisciplinary neuroscience encounter

Des Fitzgerald, Melissa Monique Littlefield, Kasper J. Knudsen, James Tonks, Martin J. Dietz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article is about a transdisciplinary project between the social, human and life sciences, and the felt experiences of the researchers involved. ‘Transdisciplinary’ and ‘interdisciplinary’ research-modes have been the subject of much attention lately – especially as they cross boundaries between the social/humanistic and natural sciences. However, there has been less attention, from within science and technology studies, to what it is actually like to participate in such a research-space. This article contributes to that literature through an empirical reflection on the progress of one collaborative and transdisciplinary project: a novel experiment in neuroscientific lie detection, entangling science and technology studies, literary studies, sociology, anthropology, clinical psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Its central argument is twofold: (1) that, in addition to ideal-type tropes of transdisciplinary conciliation or integration, such projects may also be organized around some more subterranean logics of ambivalence, reserve and critique; (2) that an account of the mundane ressentiment of collaboration allows for a more careful attention to the awkward forms of ‘experimental politics’ that may flow through, and indeed propel, collaborative work more broadly. Building on these claims, the article concludes with a suggestion that such subterranean logics may be indissociable from some forms of collaboration, and it proposes an ethic of ‘equivocal speech’ as a way to live with and through these kinds of transdisciplinary experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)701-721
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Studies of Science
Volume44
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 8 2014

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transdisciplinary
neurosciences
ambivalence
politics
technology studies
science studies
social science
sociology studies
clinical psychology
ideal type
human sciences
life sciences
interdisciplinary research
natural sciences
anthropology
experience
moral philosophy
Ambivalence
Equivocation
Neuroscience

Keywords

  • affect
  • equivocation
  • experiment
  • interdisciplinarity
  • lie detection
  • neuroscience
  • transdisciplinarity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Cite this

Ambivalence, equivocation, and the politics of experimental knowledge : A transdisciplinary neuroscience encounter. / Fitzgerald, Des; Littlefield, Melissa Monique; Knudsen, Kasper J.; Tonks, James; Dietz, Martin J.

In: Social Studies of Science, Vol. 44, No. 5, 08.10.2014, p. 701-721.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fitzgerald, Des ; Littlefield, Melissa Monique ; Knudsen, Kasper J. ; Tonks, James ; Dietz, Martin J. / Ambivalence, equivocation, and the politics of experimental knowledge : A transdisciplinary neuroscience encounter. In: Social Studies of Science. 2014 ; Vol. 44, No. 5. pp. 701-721.
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