Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

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Pru Hobson-West

Pru Hobson-West

email: Pru.Hobson-West (at)

Pru Hobson-West is a Wellcome Trust postdoctoral fellow in Biomedical Ethics. She is based at the University of Nottingham and is currently a visiting fellow in the Harvard STS Program. Pru holds an MA (hons.) from the University of Edinburgh. Her PhD investigated organised parental resistance to childhood vaccination policy in the UK. The thesis argues that risk is an insufficient framework for understanding vaccination attitudes, and that issues of trust and images of science and technology are more important.

The Wellcome Trust postdoctoral fellowship (2006-2009) supports a project on the use of animals in scientific research. Pru is interested in how those engaged in and those campaigning against animal research appeal to ‘ethical’ arguments and draw boundaries between ethical and scientific claims. Overall, her research interests are in the relationship between science and social movements.


Hobson-West (forthcoming) Joint review of R. Garner, Animal Ethics (2005) and L. Munro, Confronting Cruelty: Moral orthodoxy and the challenge of the Animal Rights Movement (2005). Sociology.

Hobson-West, P. (2007) ‘Trusting blindly can be the biggest risk of all’: Organised resistance to childhood vaccination in the UK. Sociology of Health & Illness,29,3.

Dingwall, R. and Hobson-West, P. (2006) Litigation and the threat to medicine, in J. Gabe et al. (eds.) Challenging Medicine. Second edition (London, Routledge).

Hobson-West, P. (2004) The construction of lay resistance to vaccination, in I. Shaw and K. Kaupinen (eds.) Constructions of Health and Illness: European perspectives (Aldershot, Ashgate Press).

Hobson-West, P. (2003) Understanding vaccination resistance: moving beyond risk. Health, Risk & Society, 5, 3, 273-283.

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