Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10316/10995
Title: Shifting Scales, Articulating Cancer: Towards a Cartography of Oncobiological Research
Authors: Nunes, João Arriscado 
Issue Date: Nov-1997
Publisher: Centro de Estudos Sociais
Citation: Oficina do CES. 98 (1997).
Abstract: The "molecular turn" in cancer research has often been associated with a reductionist program, which would attempt to locate the origin of the initiation, promotion or suppression of tumours in genetic processes. Researchers in oncobiology, however, still struggle with the problem of having to deal with diseases which are mostly caused by exposure to environmental factors. Whereas the processes dealt with by molecular genetics are seen as crucial to the understanding of cancer, just how these are connected to transformations at the cellular, tissue, organ, system or organismic level and to interfaces with the environment is still one of the major challenges to oncobiology. Drawing on the laboratory practice and on the discourse of oncobiological researchers, it is argued that a specific mode of spatial imagery, centered on scale, is one of the resources these researchers draw upon in order to articulate the different levels at which cancer is located by the various approaches and disciplines involved. This feature is central to the emergence of a new contextual paradigm in oncobiology. Adapting an analytical tool developed by Boaventura de Sousa Santos for the study of law, a cartographic approach to cancer research is outlined and drawn upon to discuss work in progress in an oncobiology laboratory. This framework is based on the centrality of scale and on the definition, construction and articulation of scientific work and of scientific objects at different scales.
Description: Research for this paper was carried out within the projects "The Social Worlds of Science and Technology in Portugal: The Cases of Oncobiology and New Information Technologies" and "Portuguese Society and the Challenges of Globalization: Economic, Social and Cultural Modernization".
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10316/10995
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CES - Oficina do CES
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