1. ESRC Genomics Network (archive)
  2. Gengage
  3. The Human Genre Project

Egenis · Events

Egenis Seminar with Dr Carol Morris 'Entanglements of knowledge-practices within the geneticisation of UK livestock breeding: enacting the animal body multiple'

Seminar   22.11.2010






Carol Morris, Faculty of Social Sciences, The University of Nottingham

Organised by



University of Exeter,Egenis,Byrne House,St Germans Road,Exeter, EX4 4PJRoom no: GF7, Byrne House

Event details

Time: 3:00 - 4:30 pm


The empirical focus of this paper is the breeding of cattle and sheep in the UK as it is subject to a process of geneticisation. It has two objectives. First, it explores the entanglements of livestock breeding knowledge-practices in order to examine whether genetic knowledge-practices are ‘winning out’ over more established breeding techniques, with all that this implies in terms of changes in the organisational structures of and power relations within breeding. Second, it explores Anne-Marie Mol’s (2002) work on the ‘body multiple’ as a means of making sense of these entanglements of knowledge-practices in livestock breeding, arguing that breeding techniques – genetic and otherwise - ‘enact’ the animal body in fundamentally different ways, enabling identification of multiple realities, multiple animal bodies. How the different enactments of the animal body by genetic and other breeding techniques are made to relate or ‘hang together’ is explored empirically by drawing on interviews with the representatives of 10 beef cattle and 11 sheep breed societies within the UK. The paper concludes by questioning the claims made by the proponents of genetic techniques that these are producing a ‘revolution’ in livestock agriculture and, by implication, that scientific ways of knowing necessarily entail a displacement of other knowledge-practices. The paper seeks to contribute both to understanding of the substantive issue of livestock agriculture and biotechnology but also debates about knowledge-practices and ontological politics that extend beyond the specificities of the empirical context.

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