Reflections on the field: Primatology, popular science and the politics of personhood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Reflections on the field: Primatology, popular science and the politics of personhood. / Rees, Amanda.

In: Social Studies of Science, Vol. 37, No. 6, 12.2007, p. 881-907.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Harvard

Rees, A 2007, 'Reflections on the field: Primatology, popular science and the politics of personhood', Social Studies of Science, vol. 37, no. 6, pp. 881-907. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312707077368

APA

Rees, A. (2007). Reflections on the field: Primatology, popular science and the politics of personhood. Social Studies of Science, 37(6), 881-907. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312707077368

Vancouver

Rees A. Reflections on the field: Primatology, popular science and the politics of personhood. Social Studies of Science. 2007 Dec;37(6):881-907. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312707077368

Author

Rees, Amanda. / Reflections on the field: Primatology, popular science and the politics of personhood. In: Social Studies of Science. 2007 ; Vol. 37, No. 6. pp. 881-907.

Bibtex - Download

@article{b546cf2d1caf45748279befe1e6129e5,
title = "Reflections on the field: Primatology, popular science and the politics of personhood",
abstract = "This paper examines the content, form and function of popularized accounts of primatological research in the field. Based on the textual analysis of 11 popular accounts published from 1964 to 2001, it demonstrates that a key element of such scientific writing is the construction and presentation of the primates themselves as knowledgeable actors within particular social, ecological and moral landscapes. It places these accounts in the context of the problem of anthropomorphism within the history of the behavioural sciences, and argues that, given the importance of avoiding anthropomorphism in primatological research, the presentation of primate research subjects as persons must serve some significant function. It suggests that while one reason for this might be the severely endangered status of many primates, another might be found in the development of particular methodological strategies for conducting field site research, strategies that may help researchers form individualized relationships with their research subjects. However, such public productions of primate personality have political consequences, consequences that the science studies community needs to consider more carefully.",
keywords = "anthropomorphism, emotion, field science, methodology, popular science, primates, BEHAVIOR, ENVIRONMENT, CULTURE, ORIGINS, HISTORY, DEBATE, PLACE, LIFE, VIEW",
author = "Amanda Rees",
year = "2007",
month = dec,
doi = "10.1177/0306312707077368",
language = "English",
volume = "37",
pages = "881--907",
journal = "Social Studies of Science",
issn = "0306-3127",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",
number = "6",

}

RIS (suitable for import to EndNote) - Download

TY - JOUR

T1 - Reflections on the field: Primatology, popular science and the politics of personhood

AU - Rees, Amanda

PY - 2007/12

Y1 - 2007/12

N2 - This paper examines the content, form and function of popularized accounts of primatological research in the field. Based on the textual analysis of 11 popular accounts published from 1964 to 2001, it demonstrates that a key element of such scientific writing is the construction and presentation of the primates themselves as knowledgeable actors within particular social, ecological and moral landscapes. It places these accounts in the context of the problem of anthropomorphism within the history of the behavioural sciences, and argues that, given the importance of avoiding anthropomorphism in primatological research, the presentation of primate research subjects as persons must serve some significant function. It suggests that while one reason for this might be the severely endangered status of many primates, another might be found in the development of particular methodological strategies for conducting field site research, strategies that may help researchers form individualized relationships with their research subjects. However, such public productions of primate personality have political consequences, consequences that the science studies community needs to consider more carefully.

AB - This paper examines the content, form and function of popularized accounts of primatological research in the field. Based on the textual analysis of 11 popular accounts published from 1964 to 2001, it demonstrates that a key element of such scientific writing is the construction and presentation of the primates themselves as knowledgeable actors within particular social, ecological and moral landscapes. It places these accounts in the context of the problem of anthropomorphism within the history of the behavioural sciences, and argues that, given the importance of avoiding anthropomorphism in primatological research, the presentation of primate research subjects as persons must serve some significant function. It suggests that while one reason for this might be the severely endangered status of many primates, another might be found in the development of particular methodological strategies for conducting field site research, strategies that may help researchers form individualized relationships with their research subjects. However, such public productions of primate personality have political consequences, consequences that the science studies community needs to consider more carefully.

KW - anthropomorphism

KW - emotion

KW - field science

KW - methodology

KW - popular science

KW - primates

KW - BEHAVIOR

KW - ENVIRONMENT

KW - CULTURE

KW - ORIGINS

KW - HISTORY

KW - DEBATE

KW - PLACE

KW - LIFE

KW - VIEW

U2 - 10.1177/0306312707077368

DO - 10.1177/0306312707077368

M3 - Article

VL - 37

SP - 881

EP - 907

JO - Social Studies of Science

JF - Social Studies of Science

SN - 0306-3127

IS - 6

ER -