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Title: Ecologies of Cancer: Constructing the "Environment" in Oncobiology
Authors: Nunes, João Arriscado 
Issue Date: Nov-1998
Publisher: Centro de Estudos Sociais
Citation: Oficina do CES. 133 (1998).
Abstract: The influence of environmental factors on the initiation of cancers seems to have been pushed into the background with the trend towards the "molecularization" of explanations of the deregulation of cell growth. If cancer is a udisease of the genes", and if its "logic" is to be looked for at the molecular scale, the environment becomes little more than a "triggering" factor linked to exposure to chemicals, radiations, food additives, bacteria, electro-magnetic fields or other agents. In spite of the widespread recognition that most of the human cancers are linked in one way or another to these "environmental factors", it is often difficult to find out just what the "environment" means in oncobiological research. In recent years, however, new research orientations in the biology of cancer have been trying to develop a more complex, "contextual" understanding of the initiation and progression of cancers, exploring the links and interaction between genetic and "environmental" processes, and articulating approaches drawing on molecular biology, immunology and epidemiology which meet on a "trading zone" where biologists, biochemists, pathologists, nutritionists and public health specialists meet. The "environment" is still an ill-defined object, however, whose fuzzy definition and identification contrasts with the more "standardized" views of molecular genetics. Drawing on ethnographic research on oncobiology, this paper focuses on the way researchers construct the "environment" and "environmental factors", as part of emerging ecologies of cancer - that is, of representations of cancer as the emerging result of sets of heterogeneous processes. This, in turn, is the outcome of a range of ecologies of practices in oncobiology, which "accomplish" the ecologies of cancer through the use of particular techniques and approaches.
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CES - Oficina do CES
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