‘Pushing boundaries’ by Sinclair Ashman
Postdoc project: It could be otherwise
I joined TEMA T in 2018 as a postdoctoral researcher after completing a PhD in Science and Technology Studies (STS) at the University of Edinburgh. A member of the ValueS group, I work with Professor Steve Woolgar on the project ‘It could be otherwise’ that elucidates the nature and limits of provocation and intervention in STS.
The research develops inventive STS analytical repertoires to make inroads into novel and challenging topics. Ethnographic explorations inform a reflective discussion on the extent, modalities and limits of STS interventions. We ask: are there other modes of being taken seriously beyond established notions of usefulness and intervention?
PhD research: No heroics, please
My doctoral research project examined practices of deceased organ and tissue donation in a Catalan hospital with leading rates of donation. Existing social studies of donation often focus on individuals’ reasons and meanings of the choice of donation. Yet if we look at the practicalities of making donation a possibility at the hospital, it becomes clear that families’ consent to donation, while essential, is neither that which starts a donation process nor the only factor that intervenes.
‘No heroics, please’ tells the story of the complex sociomaterial arrangements that bring together people, things and politics in the making of the choice of donation. At a policy level the research reframes the problem of organ shortage from a question of consent to a matter of organisation and infrastructure. This means that efforts to increase donation rates cannot be restricted to the domain of individual choice but need to consider the hospital practices that enable the choice of donation in the first place.
The thesis was nominated for the Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award at the University of Edinburgh.