Introduction to "Moral (and Other) Laboratories"

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  • Teresa Kuan, Chinese Univ Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Dept Anthropol, New Asia Coll
  • ,
  • Lone Gron, KORA, Danish Institute for Local and Regional Government Research

"Moral (and other) laboratories" is a special issue that draws on Cheryl Mattingly's notion of the "moral laboratory" to explore the uncanny interface between laboratory ethnography and moral anthropology, and to examine the relationship between experience and experiment. We ask whether laboratory work may provoke new insights about experimental practices in other social spaces such as homes, clinics, and neighborhoods, and conversely, whether the study of morality may provoke new insights about laboratory practices as they unfold in the day-to-day interactions between test tubes, animals, apparatuses, scientists, and technicians. The papers in this collection examine issues unique to authors' individual projects, but as a whole, they share a common theme: moral experimentation-the work of finding different ways of relating-occurs in relation to the suffering of something or someone, or in response to some kind of moral predicament that tests cultural and historically shaped "human values." The collection as a whole intends to push for the theoretical status of not merely experience itself, but also of possibility, in exploring uncertain border zones of various kinds-between the human and the animal, between codified ethical rules and ordinary ethics, and between "real" and metaphorical laboratories.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCulture, Medicine and Psychiatry
Pages (from-to)185-201
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

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