Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University

Recent and Forthcoming Publications

Below is a list of recent and forthcoming publications by fellows and affiliates of the Program on Science, Technology and Society at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. For a more complete list of fellows’ publications, see the individual fellow pages in our people section.

"People's Science" cover

People's Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier

Ruha Benjamin

Stanford University Press, 2013.
Stem cell research has sparked controversy and heated debate since the first human stem cell line was derived in 1998. Too frequently these debates devolve to simple judgments—good or bad, life-saving medicine or bioethical nightmare, symbol of human ingenuity or our fall from grace—ignoring the people affected. With this book, Ruha Benjamin moves the terms of debate to focus on the shifting relationship between science and society, on the people who benefit—or don't—from regenerative medicine and what this says about our democratic commitments to an equitable society. People's Science uncovers the tension between scientific innovation and social equality, taking the reader inside California's 2004 stem cell initiative, the first of many state referenda on scientific research, to consider the lives it has affected. Benjamin reveals the promise and peril of public participation in science, illuminating issues of race, disability, gender, and socio-economic class that serve to define certain groups as more or less deserving in their political aims and biomedical hopes. Under the shadow of the free market and in a nation still at odds with universal healthcare, the socially marginalized are often eagerly embraced as test-subjects, yet often are unable to afford new medicines and treatment regimes as patients. Ultimately, Ruha Benjamin argues that without more deliberate consideration about how scientific initiatives can and should reflect a wider array of social concerns, stem cell research— from African Americans' struggle with sickle cell treatment to the recruitment of women as tissue donors—still risks excluding many. Even as regenerative medicine is described as a participatory science for the people, Benjamin asks us to consider if "the people" ultimately reflects our democratic ideals.
More information is available at http://www.sup.org/book.cgi?id=20585
"Counting Civilian Casualties" cover

Counting Civilian Casualties: An Introduction to Recording and Estimating Nonmilitary Deaths in Conflict

Edited by Taylor B. Seybolt, Jay D. Aronson, and Baruch Fischhoff

Oxford University Press, 2013.
A popular myth emerged in the late 1990s: in 1900, wars killed one civilian for every eight soldiers, while contemporary wars were killing eight civilians for every one soldier. The neat reversal of numbers was memorable, and academic publications and UN documents regularly cited it. The more it was cited, the more trusted it became. In fact, however, subsequent research found no empirical evidence for the idea that the ratio of civilians to soldiers killed in war has changed dramatically. But while the ratios may not have changed, the political significance of civilian casualties has risen tremendously. Over the past century, civilians in war have gone from having no particular rights to having legal protections and rights that begin to rival those accorded to states. The concern for civilians in conflict has become so strong that governments occasionally undertake humanitarian interventions, at great risk and substantial cost, to protect strangers in distant lands. I n the early 1990s, the UN Security Council authorized military interventions to help feed and protect civilians in the Kurdish area of Iraq, Somalia, and Bosnia. And in May 2011 , Barack Obama 's National Security Advisor explained the United States' decision to support NATO's military intervention in these terms "When the president made this decision, there was an immediate threat to 700,000 Libyan civilians in the town of Benghazi. We've had a success here in terms of being able to protect those civilians." Counting Civilian Casualties aims to promote open scientific dialogue by high lighting the strengths and weaknesses of the most commonly used casualty recording and estimation techniques in an understandable format. Its thirteen chapters, each authoritative but accessible to nonspecialists, explore a variety of approaches, from direct recording to statistical estimation and sampling, to collecting data on civilian deaths caused by conflict. The contributors also discuss their respective advantages and disadvantages, and analyze how figures are used (and misused) by governments, rebels, human rights advocates, war crimes tribunals, and others. In addition to providing analysts with a broad range of tools to produce accurate data, this will be an in valuable resource for policymakers, military officials, jou rnalists, human rights activists, courts, and ordinary people who want to be more informed--and skeptical--consumers of casualty counts.
More information is available at http://global.oup.com/academic/product/counting-civilian-casualties-9780199977307;jsessionid=441C7907EDA4C32CF60B0634C5956B3C?cc=us&lang=en&
"Science and Public Reason" cover

Science and Public Reason

Sheila Jasanoff

Routledge, 2012.
This collection of essays by Sheila Jasanoff explores how democratic governments construct public reason, that is, the forms of evidence and argument used in making state decisions accountable to citizens. The term public reason as used here is not simply a matter of deploying principled arguments that respect the norms of democratic deliberation. Jasanoff investigates what states do in practice when they claim to be reasoning in the public interest. Reason, from this perspective, comprises the institutional practices, discourses, techniques and instruments through which governments claim legitimacy in an era of potentially unbounded risks—physical, political, and moral. Those legitimating efforts, in turn, depend on citizens’ acceptance of the forms of reasoning that governments offer. Included here therefore is an inquiry into the conditions that lead citizens of democratic societies to accept policy justification as being reasonable. These modes of public knowing, or “civic epistemologies,” are integral to the constitution of contemporary political cultures.
More information is available at http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415524865/
"Reframing Rights" cover

Reframing Rights: Bioconstitutionalism in the Genetic Age

Edited by Sheila Jasanoff

MIT Press, 2011.
Legal texts have been with us since the dawn of human history. Beginning in 1953, life too became textual. The discovery of the structure of DNA made it possible to represent the basic matter of life with permutations and combinations of four letters of the alphabet, A, T, C, and G. Since then, the biological and legal conceptions of life have been in constant, mutually constitutive interplay--the former focusing on life's definition, the latter on life's entitlements. Reframing Rights argues that this period of transformative change in law and the life sciences should be considered "bioconstitutional."

Reframing Rights explores the evolving relationship of biology, biotechnology, and law through a series of national and cross-national case studies. Sheila Jasanoff maps out the conceptual territory in a substantive editorial introduction, after which the contributors offer "snapshots" of developments at the frontiers of biotechnology and the law. Chapters examine such topics as national cloning and xenotransplant policies; the politics of stem cell research in Britain, Germany, and Italy; DNA profiling and DNA databases in criminal law; clinical trials in India and the United States; the GM crop controversy in Britain; and precautionary policymaking in the European Union. These cases demonstrate changes of constitutional significance in the relations among human bodies, selves, science, and the state.
More information is available at http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=12714
"Les Politiques des Nanotechnologies" cover

Les Politiques des Nanotechnologies: Pour un Traitement Démocratique d’une Science Emergente

Brice Laurent

Charles Leopold Mayer, 2010.
Since the early 1980's, Nanotechnology has made it possible to develop technological instrumentation capable of manipulating individual atoms, making a whole new world accessible to human intervention. Today, nanotechnology is commonly used in the production of various consumer products, ranging from cosmetics to food and medical research. Under the banner of "responsible innovation", programs with generous public support for nanotechnology aspire to take into account health-related, environmental and ethical issues in this emerging field. In this book, Brice Laurent focuses on the political questions brought on by nanotechnology and opens the trail for the renewal of the democratic treatment of these complex scientific innovations.  
More information is available at http://www.eclm.fr/bdf/ouvrage-345.html
"Genetic Witness" cover

Genetic Witness: Science, Law, and Controversy in the Making of DNA Profiling

Jay D. Aronson

Rutgers University Press, 2007.
When DNA profiling was first introduced into the American legal system in 1987, it was heralded as a technology that would revolutionize law enforcement. As an investigative tool, it has lived up to much of this hype—it is regularly used to track down unknown criminals, put murderers and rapists behind bars, and exonerate the innocent. Yet, this promise took ten turbulent years to be fulfilled. In Genetic Witness, Jay D. Aronson uncovers the dramatic early history of DNA profiling that has been obscured by the technique's recent success. He demonstrates that robust quality control and quality assurance measures were initially nonexistent, interpretation of test results was based more on assumption than empirical evidence, and the technique was susceptible to error at every stage. Most of these issues came to light only through defense challenges to what prosecutors claimed to be an infallible technology. Although this process was fraught with controversy, inefficiency, and personal antagonism, the quality of DNA evidence improved dramatically as a result. Aronson argues, however, that the dream of a perfect identification technology remains unrealized.
More information is available at http://rutgerspress.rutgers.edu/acatalog/genetic_witness.html
"Building Genetic Medicine" cover

Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care

Shobita Parthasarathy

MIT Press, 2007.
In Building Genetic Medicine, Shobita Parthasarathy shows how, even in an era of globalization, national context is playing an important role in the development and use of genetic technologies. Focusing on the development and deployment of genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer (known as BRCA testing) in the United States and Britain, Parthasarathy develops a comparative analysis framework in order to investigate how national "toolkits" shape both regulations and the architectures of technologies and uses this framework to assess the implications of new genetic technologies. BRCA testing was one of the most highly anticipated and publicized technologies of contemporary medicine. Parthasarathy argues that differences in the American and British approaches to health care and commercialization of research led to the establishment of different BRCA services in the two countries. In Britain, the technology was available through the National Health Service as an integrated program of counseling and laboratory analysis, and was viewed as a potentially cost-effective form of preventive care. In the United States, although BRCA testing was initially offered by a number of providers, one company eventually became the sole provider of a test available to consumers on demand. Parthasarathy also reports on an unsuccessful attempt by the American provider of BRCA testing to market its services in Britain. British scientists, health-care providers, and patients rejected the American technology, she argues, because it was part of a social, economic, and political system to which they were not accustomed. Parthasarathy draws lessons for the future of genetic medicine from these cross-national differences, and discusses the ways in which comparative case studies can inform policy-making efforts in science and technology.
More information is available at http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=11166
"Pharmacopolitics" cover

Pharmacopolitics: Drug Regulation in the United States and Germany

Arthur A. Daemmrich

University of North Carolina Press, 2006.
Advocates of rapid access to medicines and critics fearful of inadequate testing both argue that globalization will supersede national medical practices and result in the easy transfer of pharmaceuticals around the world. In Pharmacopolitics, Arthur Daemmrich challenges their assumptions by comparing drug laws, clinical trials, and systems for monitoring adverse reactions in the United States and Germany, two countries with similarly advanced systems for medical research, testing, and patient care. Daemmrich proposes that divergent "therapeutic cultures"—the interrelationships among governments, patients, the medical profession, and the pharmaceutical industry—underlie national differences and explain variations in pharmaceutical markets and medical care. Daemmrich carries the United States-Germany comparison from 1950 to the present through case studies of Terramycin (an antibiotic), thalidomide (a sedative), propranolol (a heart medication), interleukin-2 (a cancer therapy), and indinavir (an AIDS drug). He points to different political constructions of "the patient" in the United States and Germany to clarify important differences in government policies and in the distribution of power among key social actors. Daemmrich advises that international regulatory harmonization and globalization in medicine must retain flexibility for social and political variation between countries, even as they achieve technical standardization.
More information is available at http://uncpress.unc.edu/books/T-7301.html
"Biocapital" cover

Biocapital: The Constitution of Postgenomic Life

Kaushik Sunder Rajan

Duke University Press, 2006.
Biocapital is a major theoretical contribution to science studies and political economy. Grounding his analysis in a multi-sited ethnography of genomic research and drug development marketplaces in the United States and India, Kaushik Sunder Rajan argues that contemporary biotechnologies such as genomics can only be understood in relation to the economic markets within which they emerge. Sunder Rajan conducted fieldwork in biotechnology labs and in small start-up companies in the United States (mostly in the San Francisco Bay area) and India (mainly in New Delhi, Hyderabad, and Bombay) over a five-year period spanning 1999 to 2004. He draws on his research with scientists, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and policymakers to compare drug development in the two countries, examining the practices and goals of research, the financing mechanisms, the relevant government regulations, and the hype and marketing surrounding promising new technologies. In the process, he illuminates the global flow of ideas, information, capital, and people connected to biotech initiatives. Sunder Rajan's ethnography informs his theoretically sophisticated inquiry into how the contemporary world is shaped by the marriage of biotechnology and market forces, by what he calls technoscientific capitalism. Bringing Marxian theories of value into conversation with Foucaultian notions of biopolitics, he traces how the life sciences came to be significant producers of both economic and epistemic value in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first.
More information is available at http://www.dukeupress.edu/cgibin/forwardsql/search.cgi?template0=nomatch.htm&template2=books/book_detail_page.htm&Bmain.item_option=1&Bmain.item=12915
"Designs on Nature" cover

Designs on Nature: Science and Democracy in Europe and the United States

Sheila Jasanoff

Princeton University Press, 2005.
Biology and politics have converged today across much of the industrialized world. Debates about genetically modified organisms, cloning, stem cells, animal patenting, and new reproductive technologies crowd media headlines and policy agendas. Less noticed, but no less important, are the rifts that have appeared among leading Western nations about the right way to govern innovation in genetics and biotechnology. These significant differences in law and policy, and in ethical analysis, may in a globalizing world act as obstacles to free trade, scientific inquiry, and shared understandings of human dignity.
More information is available at http://www.pupress.princeton.edu/titles/7958.html
"Earthly Politics" cover

Earthly Politics: Local and Global in Environmental Governance

Edited by Sheila Jasanoff and Marybeth Long Martello

MIT Press, 2004.
Globalization today is as much a problem for international harmony as it is a necessary condition of living together on our planet. Increasing interconnectedness in ecology, economy, technology, and politics has brought nations and societies into ever closer contact, creating acute demands for cooperation. Earthly Politics argues that in the coming decades global governance will have to accommodate differences, even as it obliterates distance, and will have to respect many aspects of the local while developing institutions that transcend localism.
More information is available at http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?tid=10164&ttype=2
"States of Knowledge" cover

States of Knowledge: The Co-Production of Science and Social Order

Edited by Sheila Jasanoff

Routledge, 2004 (paperback 2006).
In the past twenty years, the field of science and technology studies (S&TS) has made considerable progress toward illuminating the relationship between scientific knowledge and political power. These insights have not yet been synthesized or presented in a form that systematically highlights the connections between S&TS and other social sciences. This timely collection of essays by some of the leading scholars in the field attempts to fill that gap. The book develops the theme of co-production, showing how scientific knowledge both embeds and is embedded in social identities, institutions, representations and discourses. Accordingly, the authors argue, ways of knowing the world are inseparably linked to the ways in which people seek to organize and control it. Through studies of emerging knowledges, research practices and political institutions, the authors demonstrate that the idiom of co-production importantly extends the vocabulary of the traditional social sciences, offering fresh analytic perspectives on the nexus of science, power and culture.

Contributors: Michel Callon, John Carson, Peter Dear, Michael Dennis, Yaron Ezrahi, Stephen Hilgartner, Sheila Jasanoff, Michael Lynch, Clark Miller, Vololona Rabeharisoa, William Storey, Charis Thompson, Claire Waterton, Brian Wynne.
More information is available at http://www.routledge.com/shopping_cart/products/product_detail.asp?sku=&isbn=9780415403290
"Race to the Finish" cover

Race to the Finish: Identity and Governance in an Age of Genomics

Jenny Reardon

Princeton University Press, 2004.
In the summer of 1991, population geneticists and evolutionary biologists proposed to archive human genetic diversity by collecting the genomes of "isolated indigenous populations." Their initiative, which became known as the Human Genome Diversity Project, generated early enthusiasm from those who believed it would enable huge advances in our understanding of human evolution. However, vocal criticism soon emerged. Physical anthropologists accused Project organizers of reimporting racist categories into science. Indigenous-rights leaders saw a "Vampire Project" that sought the blood of indigenous people but not their well-being. More than a decade later, the effort is barely off the ground. How did an initiative whose leaders included some of biology's most respected, socially conscious scientists become so stigmatized? How did these model citizen-scientists come to be viewed as potential racists, even vampires? This book argues that the long abeyance of the Diversity Project points to larger, fundamental questions about how to understand knowledge, democracy, and racism in an age when expert claims about genomes increasingly shape the possibilities for being human. Jenny Reardon demonstrates that far from being innocent tools for fighting racism, scientific ideas and practices embed consequential social and political decisions about who can define race, racism, and democracy, and for what ends. She calls for the adoption of novel conceptual tools that do not oppose science and power, truth and racist ideologies, but rather draw into focus their mutual constitution.
More information is available at http://www.pupress.princeton.edu/titles/7891.html