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Sariola, Salla / Simpson, Bob

Research as Development

Biomedical Research, Ethics, and Collaboration in Sri Lanka


    165,95 € / $189.95 / £150.00*

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    March 2019
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    Aims and Scope

    In Research as Development, Salla Sariola and Bob Simpson show how international collaboration operates in a setting that is typically portrayed as "resource-poor" and "scientifically lagging." Based on their long-term fieldwork in Sri Lanka, Sariola and Simpson bring into clear ethnographic focus the ways international scientific collaborations feature prominently in the pursuit of global health in which research operates "as" development and not merely "for" it.

    The authors follow the design, inception, and practice of two clinical trials: one a global health charity funded trial and the other a pharmaceutical industry-sponsored trial. Research as Development situates these two trials within their historical, political and cultural contexts and thus counters the idea that local actors are merely passive recipients of new technical and scientific rationalities.

    While social studies of clinical trials are beginning to be an established niche in academic writing, Research as Development helps fill important gaps in the literature through its examination of clinical research situated in cultures in low-income settings. Research as Development is noteworthy for the way it highlights the critical and creative role that local researchers play in establishing international collaborations and making them work into locally viable forms. The volume shows how these clinical and research interactions bring about changes in culture, technologies and expertise in Sri Lanka, contexts that have not previously been written about in any detail.


    222 pages

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    Salla Sariola is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at University of Helsinki, Finland. Her research concerns the ethics and politics of biomedical research, as well as gender and sexuality, with fieldwork across South Asia and Africa. Salla is also the author of Gender and Sexuality and the coordinating editor of Science and Technology Studies.SimpsonBob:

    Bob Simpson is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Durham whose research focuses on Bioethics, Biomedicine, and Biotechnologies. His work explores challenging technological developments in fields such as reproductive and genetic medicine, organ and tissue transplantation and local systems of values and beliefs in South Asia and Europe.


    Ayo Wahlberg, Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, author of Good Quality:

    "Research as Development, a dynamic contribution to the sub-field of the anthropology of clinical trials, offers an astute study of what it means to work together now that the global rise of bioethics has carved out a space for anthropologists."

    Crystal Biruk, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Oberlin College, and author of Cooking Data:

    "Research as Development illustrates how concepts taken for granted by ethics boards, biomedical researchers and even anthropologists—ethics, collaboration, research itself—are contingent and negotiated, constitute and constituted by research worlds and networks."

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