Qualitative Researchers at risk to emotional harm

Reflection Iqaluit BlizzardThis research resonated with my own experience providing me with a body of literature, a lexicon and and lens through which something that left me speechless might someday be spoken. 


“The first thing to note is that the concept of ‘duty of care’ is spelled out from the outset. This includes a reference to a moral obligation on behalf of those working in the University: The University must exercise a “duty of care” to employees and to those under supervision and this duty is recognised in both criminal and civil law. There is also a moral duty that the teacher has towards the pupil. (University ‘A’ Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Unit 2004: 4) It is then explained that it is through a system of ‘line management’ that the University’s statutory requirements are expected to be met. In University ‘A’ formal responsibilities for issues of fieldworker safety are delegated to Heads of Departments. It is therefore for the Head of Department to ensure that the risk assessment for the fieldwork is made and to ensure that safe systems of work have been established for all staff and students. Frequently the Head of Department will delegate this duty to a particular member of staff as Departmental Safety Officer, or to different research managers – PhD supervisors and Principal Investigators (Bloor, Fincham and Sampson 2007-06).”

A number of authors have stated that researchers can be negatively affected emotionally and physically by research on sensitive issues (Alexander et al. 1989; Burr 1995; Cowles 1988; Dunn 1991; Gregory, Russell and Phillips 1997; Lee 1995; McCosker, Barnard and Gerber 2001). Some of the possible negative outcomes include gastrointestinal problems (Dunn 1991), insomnia and nightmares (Cowles 1988; Dunn 1991; Etherington 1996), headaches (Dunn 1991), exhaustion and depression (Ridge, Hee and Aroni 1999) and threats to physical safety (Langford 2000; Lee 1995). (Dickson-Swift et al. 2006: 857) (Bloor, Fincham and Sampson 2007-06).”

“There are two manifestations of resistance to researchers documented in the literature. One relates to unwillingness on the part of potential research participants to cooperate, and to be obstructive, and the other relates to unco-operativeness on the part of those connected with research participants – for example ‘gate keepers’. For anthropologists the separation of these two sites of resistance is often complicated, as in a study of a particular community there might be no distinction between a participant and a gate keeper (Bloor, Fincham and Sampson 2007-06:32).”

The process of ‘pain by proxy’ described by Moran-Ellis (Moran-Ellis 1997: 181) appears to have resonance for many researchers. The emotional strain of having to deal with distressing situations or narratives can be acute. It should be noted that there is also a literature concerned with the emotional impact of disturbing data on those not directly involved with the gathering of the data. Transcribers and PIs have been singled out as particularly vulnerable to this effect (McCosker et al. 2001). Hochschild’s description of ‘deep acting’ (Hochschild 1983: 42-3), may mask levels of upset or even trauma suffered by researchers who feel their professional integrity would be brought into question if such upset were acknowledged. However, increasingly there is recognition that the issue of emotional well-being is of great importance to researchers, research institutions and the integrity of qualitative research itself (Bloor, Fincham and Sampson 2007-06:34).

“With regard to PhD students, several contributions highlighted the ambiguous position of research students when it comes to the requirements of PhD research and risk to well-being. It is often the case that a precondition of PhD funding in the social sciences is that it is original research. In some instances this means that the specific research arena has not been previously entered. Therefore the potential risks in such research arenas are, to certain extent, untested. In these circumstances it is inevitable that PhD students become their own risk assessors and the least experienced in research can find themselves in the most exposed positions when it comes to potential harm (Bloor, Fincham and Sampson 2007-06:34).”

“There was discussion of what one contributor called ‘re-entry shock’. This was described in relation to both returning to a research site, but also adjusting back to a ‘normal’ life after extended periods of field research. One researcher reported the isolation they felt when trying to readjust to their life after particularly intense fieldwork. The final area of discussion in the emotional impact involved the possible damage done by the misrepresentation of results, particularly in popular media. Once again the need for specialist training and awareness programmes to be provided through institutions was highlighted (Bloor, Fincham and Sampson 2007-06:45).”

Sampson, Helen; Bloor, Michael; Fincham, Ben. “A Price Worth Paying? Considering the `Cost’ of Reflexive Research Methods and the Influence of Feminist Ways of `Doing.’ Sociology, 42:5:919-933 (2008) DOI: 10.1177/0038038508094570.

Abstract: “Drawing on analysis of relevant literature, focus groups, and web-based discussion board postings, assembled as part of an inquiry into risks to the well-being of qualitative researchers, it is argued that emotional harm is more prevalent than physical harm and may be particularly associated with reflexivity and the important influence of feminist research methods. The particular concern of feminist researchers with reflexivity, with research relationships and with the interests of research participants may make them especially vulnerable to emotional harm.”

Bloor, Michael; Fincham, Ben; Sampson, Helen. 2007-06. Qualiti (NCRM) Commissioned Inquiry into the Risk to Well-Being of Researchers in Qualitative Research.

Risk to emotional well-being of researchers involved in qualitative research, Role conflict, Anxiety, Isolation, Resistance, Unanticipated long term impact of research, Staying emotionally/psychologically safe




Commissioned Inquiry. 2006-03. “Risk to well-being of researchers in qualitative research

Original Call for Evidence: Submissions/evidence are invited as part of an inquiry into risks to the well-being of researchers in qualitative research. Those persons submitting evidence may wish to draw our attention to lessons to be learned from experience. We are interested in submissions based on the experiences of researchers, research supervisors, members of ethics committees and anyone else involved in any aspect of the conduct and management of qualitative research. Submissions may embrace practical, regulatory and/or ethical issues and risks may include threats to mental/emotional health as well as exposure to physical hazards. The Inquiry is being conducted as part of the activities being undertaken by ‘Qualiti’, the Cardiff Node of the UK Economic and Social Research Council’s National Research Methods Centre. The aim of the inquiry is to produce guidelines for good practice of value to researchers, supervisors and other parties.

Broad Overview: There are risks to researchers in undertaking fieldwork. Some of these are obvious, some less so. These risks may impact on the physical, emotional or social well-being of researchers. Whilst there has been a concentration of effort in ensuring research ‘subjects’ are protected from the potentially harmful consequences of research (through ‘informed consent’ for example), there has been much less thought about protection of researchers from potential harm. It is likely too that researchers undertaking qualitative fieldwork are exposed to particular forms of risks, which arise from the characteristic emphasis of qualitative approaches on conducting research in naturalistic settings.

Qualitative researchers may experience a range of risks. Some risks relate to the physical well-being of researchers and correspond to conventional health and safety considerations in employment of all kinds. It is not difficult to think of situations in which researchers may be at risk of violence or other physical danger. Equally, researchers may become emotionally threatened, where, for example, the data being collected are distressing or the settings emotionally taxing. These different types of risk reflect the objectives of the research, the settings in which it is conducted and the characteristics of the participants in the research, both ‘subjects’ and researchers.

Researcher risks are a matter of urgent interest to a range of parties, not just researchers, but also research supervisors, research funders, insurers, ethicists, occupational health and safety personnel and others. Evidence and opinions are invited from all interested parties.

There have been past occasions where qualitative researchers have entered the field without fully understanding the implications of the research setting on their well-being. This is a situation paralleling a failure of ‘informed consent’, researchers should be able to make judgements as to the suitability of a research context with regard to ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ risk of harm to them. Clearly, it is desirable to develop ‘good practice’ guides and recommendations to reduce risks to qualitative researchers. However, practice guides should be such that they do not threaten the integrity of the research process itself. This is especially pertinent given that much qualitative research is carried out in naturalistic settings and, more specifically, is frequently dependent upon the quality of the relationships between ‘subjects’ and researchers.

It is recognised that researcher risk may vary by gender as well as by setting. Submissions are welcomed which document and explore this gender dimension.

This inquiry aims to collate and analyse accounts of qualitative research where issues of risk may have been present to locate these accounts in the existing research methods literature and to draw out practical recommendations.

Moderated Forum: Evidence for the inquiry will be gathered via a moderated web-based forum. On this forum contributors will be asked to submit evidence under one of four topic themes. This evidence will then be placed on the website in an appropriate topic stream. It is anticipated that aside from gathering evidence this will also generate online discussion around issues arising from evidence.

Screen Teens for Most Extreme Consequence of Psychiatric Illness: Suicide

The most extreme consequence of mental illness is suicide. Acute psychiatric emergency utterly changes people, especially youth, causing extreme social isolation. Yet in 2008 mental illness remained ” a public health crisis [. . .] shrouded in misconceptions and misunderstandings. [. . .] These illnesses are serious, disabling, sometimes crippling, and all too often fatal. They deserve to be treated with respect, and those who suffer from them should not experience prejudice,” says Dr. Milliken. “If we treat both the illness and the individual with respect, without fear and in a straightforward manner, then we will legitimately look at trying to provide a range of options to help those individuals recover and resume their place in our families, our friendships, and our society, just as we do for other medical conditions.”

  • “In Ontario, an estimated 530,000 children and adolescents have treatable mental illnesses, but only 150,000 are getting care.
  • The youth suicide rate — 18 deaths per 100,000 — actually understates the loss of life because many kids overdose on drugs or die in violence. It also masks the staggeringly high rate — 108 per 100,000 — among aboriginal youth.
  • Children wait one third longer than adults for psychiatric care in Ontario. They wait seven times as long as patients needing MRI or CT scans.
  • Canada produces just 10 child psychiatrists a year (Goar 2005-02-11).”


1958 The Canadian federal government started funding hospitals but excluded asylums (Bacic 2008-08).

1970s Canadian Federal Policies of “deinstitutionalization forced patients out of [mental health] care with no investment in community supports for [mental health] sufferers (Bacic 2008-08). Dr. Donald Milliken, president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association and a practitioner with nearly 40 years of experience, recalls his experience as a medical resident in 1970: “They gave me the keys to a ward and said, ‘There are 100 patients in there. Discharge 50.’ G&M

2005-02-11 Senator Michael Kirby, head of the committee examining Canada’s mental health system met with “30 child psychiatrists, medical researchers, mental health advocates and parents at a
roundtable on kids and mental health, organized by business leaders and hosted by Scotiabank. [. . . ] Canada has the “worst adolescent suicide rate among the world’s leading industrial powers. Every year, 300 kids between the ages of 10 and 19 kill themselves [C]anada is doing an abysmal job — worse than the United States, Japan, Israel, Bulgaria, Belarus or Ukraine — of addressing the root causes of teen suicide (Goar 2005-02-11).”

2006-05 Senators Michael Kirby and Wilbert Joseph Keon tabled the Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology report entitled “Out of the Shadows at Last: Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada.”

2006-12-28 “In the United States, suicide is the third-leading cause of death among persons 15 to 19 years of age. In 2005 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16.9% of U.S. high school students seriously considered suicide, and 8.4% had attempted suicide at least once during the preceding year (Friedman 2006-12-28).”

2008 The Globe and Mail printed a week-long series entitled “Breakdown: Canada’s mental health crisis.” “Columnists André Picard, Dawn Walton and Elizabeth Renzetti examined critical aspects of Canada’s mental health crisis, including how one-third of general hospital beds are filled with mentally ill patients, how 70 per cent of people with severe mental illness are working despite their illness, and how jails and penitentiaries have become warehouses for the mentally ill [. . . ] “Canada still doesn’t have a coherent strategy for treating the mentally ill,” says Ed Greenspon, The Globe and Mail’s editor-in-chief.” (Bacic 2008-08)

Who’s Who

Jennifer Chambers, co-ordinator of the Empowerment Council, an advocacy group for Canadian Association of Mental Health patients.

Anita Szigeti, lawyer for the Empowerment Council, an advocacy group for Canadian Association of Mental Health patients.

Vahe Kehyayan, director of the Psychiatric Patient Advocacy Office.

Simon Davidson, chief of psychiatry at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Senator Michael Kirby, heads of the committee examining Canada’s mental health system.

Donald Milliken, past-president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association.

Richard Guscott, a Hamilton psychiatrist who specializes in treating children with mood disorders.

Jean Wittenberg heads the infant psychiatry program at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.

Peter Szatmari, a specialist in autism who heads the psychiatry division at McMaster University.

Nasreen Roberts, director of adolescent in-patient and emergency services at Queen’s University.

Webliography and Bibliography

Bacic, Jadranka. 2008-08. “Landmark series on Canada’s mental health crisis gets people talking.” Canadian Psychiatric Aujourd’hui.

CPA. 2008-10. “Youth and Mental Illness.” Canadian Psychiatric Association.

Goar, Carol. 2005-02-11. “Tackling the issue of teen suicide.” TheStar.com

Friedman, Richard A. 2006-12-28. “Uncovering an Epidemic — Screening for Mental Illness in Teens.” New England Journal of Medicine. 355:26:2717-1719

Kirby, Michael J. L.; Keon, Wilbert Joseph. 2006-05. “Out of the Shadows at Last: Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada.” The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.

Expert Jury on Public Policy by Consensus: Institute of Health Economics

The Institute of Health Economics partnered with … to host a Consensus Development Conference in Calgary on October 9-10, 2008 on diagnosis and treatment of depression.

“The purpose of a Consensus Development Conference is to evaluate available scientific evidence on a health issue and develop a statement that answers a number of predetermined questions. A group of experts present the evidence to a panel, or “jury”, which is an independent, broad-based, non-government, non-advocacy group. The jury listens to and questions the experts. The audience is also given the opportunity to pose questions to the experts. The jury convenes and develops the consensus statement, which is read to the experts and the audience on the morning of the final day. The statement is widely distributed in the Canadian health care system (BUKSA Final Program 2008-10).”


“According to most recent estimates, nearly 1.2 million Canadians aged 15 and older suffer from depression.[1] With approximately 4% of Canadians reporting having had a major depressive episode within the past 12 months,[2] depression is the most prevalent mental health condition in Canada, and is projected to be the leading cause of burden of disease in high-income countries by the year 2030.[3]”

Bibliography and Webliography

1. Canadian Council on Social Development. A Profile of Health in Canada. Retrieved June 10, 2008, from http://www.ccsd.ca/factsheets/health/.
2 Gilmour. H., Patten, S. (2007). Depression at work. StatsCan Perspectives, November, 19-33.
3 Mathers, C.D., & Loncar, D. (2006). Projections of Global Mortality and Burden of Disease from 2002 to 2030. PLoS Medicine, 3(11), e442.
4 Beaudet, M.P., & Diverty, B. (1997). Depression an undertreated disorder? StatsCan Health Reports, 8(4), 9-18.
5 Wang, J.L. (2007). Depression Literacy in Alberta: Findings From a General Population Sample. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 52(7), 442-9.

• To develop a consensus statement on how to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of depression in adults.
Participants will be able to:
• Describe the various types of depression and prevalence in Canada and Alberta
• Outline the key impacts of depression on individuals, families and society (including workplace)
• Outline the risk factors of depression including genetics, childhood experiences and relation to substance abuse
• Outline the most appropriate ways of diagnosing depression
• Describe the current treatments for depression and what evidence is available for their safety and effectiveness
• Describe the obstacles for effective management of depression
• Identify key research gaps in the field of depression
Continue reading

Prevent PTSD: End War

I have always thought she took too many risks and someday she would pay the price. Her mother had gone missing in an Alberta town in the 80s and was never found. Whenever I am with her I feel her mother’s eyes trying to see her daughter through mine. In some contorted fashion I cannot help but admire the way she lets herself follow her crazy instincts that compel her to park her flashy red sports car, get out and just sit down on the curb beside one of the 4000+ homeless people in Calgary just because she felt his “aura.” Her language is situated in some vague space between spoken word poetry and folk physics. And when she drops by unexpectedly I just automatically put on the teapot and take out the china. There’s always a story and I never know what is fiction and what is real but it all seems to matter somehow. When she leaves I feel exhausted.

While she sat there alongside the others a woman stopped and tried to give her money too. She didn’t feel insulted. She just felt she was supposed to hear this man’s story. He was a veteran from the war in Iraq and he was suffering from PTSD [1]. It somehow made those stories we read about “out there” seem closer to “here and now” in Calgary.

Suicide prevention is a primary concern for Bostonian Jonathan Shay, M.D., Ph.D., staff psychiatrist for Veterans Affairs in Boston in his work with Viet Nam war veterans. The suicide statistics among Vietnam war veterans are higher than American soldiers who died in Vietnam (MHAT). While their names do not appear on the Memorial Wall, their faces are reflected on its surface.

The numbers of suicides among veteran-soldiers of the Irag OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and Afghanistan theaters have reached epidemic proportions. In 2003 the US military engaged a team of mental health experts to investigate unprecedented numbers of psychiatric casualties.

“It is baffling, if not astonishing, that these military psychiatrists, supposed experts in combat-related stress, have so normalized war that it is overlooked as the source of the disease they have been sent to diagnose, that its horror can be thus discounted and its psychic effects rendered invisible (Shay 2006:2).”

Shay argues that wars have provided scientists and doctors with an ongoing supply of combat-traumatized soldiers including material to enhance understanding of the etiology of soldier-veteran suicides. He claims that war itself is a disease that kills and maims bodies, and ravages the minds of those who engage in it. In the 20th century US (and Canadian?) soldiers were at a much higher risk of becoming a psychiatric casualty (and death by their own hands) than death by enemy fire (Shay 2006:2). And the psychological ravages of war are not restricted to veteran-soldiers. The mental wounds are not restricted to those directly involved but also are inflicted upon civilians and society at large. In fact, Shay argues forcefully that Herman’s groundbreaking work on trauma and recovery (1992, 1997) can be applied to societies as well.

Shay claimed that the “structure, organization and fundamental culture” of 20th century US military ventures contributed to the trauma suffered by soldiers. He challenges distorted histories about why the Viet Nam war ended. He asked a question he cannot answer but felt compelled to raise:

“[Did] and in what ways, [US Vietnam War soldier’s] resistance or refusal in the face of moral outrage serve[…] to protect an individual psyche from the effects of an overwhelming traumatic experience[?] (Shay 2006:2).”

The human practice of war, a state-sponsored activity which causes lethal physical, emotional , spiritual and psychological trauma, can be ended. An end to war is an intergenerational project similar to ending the human practice of slavery. “It has been with us since time began.” “It is part of human nature.” “It is part of every culture and found in every part of the world (Shay 2006:xii).”

The end the human practice of war involves “creating trustworthy structures of collective security, within which citizens of every state would have a well-founded confidence in their security from attack by another country [or from within as in the case of genocide perpetrated on a targeted population within the borders of a nation-state]- backed up be reliable expectation of prompt, effective and massively multilateral armed intervention (Shay 2006:xii-xiii).”

Shay refers to Emmanuel Kant’s essay “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch” [4] in which Kant argued that even in a peaceful world where ruinous wars have passed away, police-like soldiers, would be necessary. Shay is not calling for peace through war, but peace from ruinous wars (2006:xiii).


1. During the American Civil War the disorder was called “irritable heart;” in WWI it was called “shell shock,” in WWII it was “battle fatigue” and now it is called Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Shay 2006:2-3).

2. The suicide of her husband, a Vietnam veteran, provided the impetus for Penny Coleman to research the “why question” and the result is the book entitled Flashback.

3. Judith Herman (1992, 1997) described responses of intrusions or flashbacks as a reflex in which the mind attempts to integrate [explain, contextualize, make tolerable?] an intolerable memory. When the “intolerable memory” fails to be integrated, wounds remain open and healing cannot take place. This may provoke a contradictory reflex where the mind protects itself by numbing, “forgetting” or avoiding the intolerable memory. Intolerable memories can be triggered automatically and repeatedly. Defense mechanisms of avoidance and numbing create their own problems and make the sufferer even more vulnerable. Herman called this self-perpetuating cycle, an “oscillating rhythm” between two intolerable states of being (intrusion and constriction) where healing and equilibrium remain elusive, a dialectic of trauma.

“The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma. People who have survived atrocities often tell their stories in a highly emotional, contradictory, and fragmented manner that undermines their credibility and thereby serves the twin imperatives of truth-telling and secrecy. When the truth is finally recognized, survivors can begin their recovery. But far too often secrecy prevails, and the story of the traumatic event surfaces not as a verbal narrative but as a symptom (Herman 1997:Introduction).”

4. Kant also included notions of “hospitality” providing all with the freedom to emigrate with an anticipation of hospitality from the nation-state to which they were immigrating. He imagined a world of nation-states governed by republican governments and a global body of governance, a league of nations. His ‘conversation’ on world peace is ongoing.

Meanwhile, convoluted arguments are offered by political science professor, Erik Gartzke, who warns of the “possible pitfalls of a capitalist peace” (Perpetuating Peace forthcoming). Gartzke has used the Fraser Institute Economic Freedom Index to argue that ensuring economic freedom (including the freedom of the military industries) is more effective than forms of governance in the reduction of violent conflict.

US military professionals themselves are not militarists. Militarists who argue against an end to war include U.S. military industries and their most enthusiastic allies in politics and the media, many of whom seem to imagine that war exists to provide them with an income and/or an adrenalin rush (Shay 2006:xi).

Webliography and Bibliography

Coleman, Penny. 2006. Flashback: Post traumatic Stress Disorder: Suicide and the Lessons of War. Boston: Beacon Press.

Durkheim, Emile. Suicide.

Herman, Judith Lewis. 1992 [1997]. Trauma and Recovery: the aftermath of violence- from domestic abuse to political terror. New York: Basic Books.

Hopper, Jim. Excerpts from Trauma and Recovery.

Shay, Jonathan. 2006. “Foreword.” in Coleman, Penny. 2006. Flashback: Post traumatic Stress Disorder: Suicide and the Lessons of War. Boston: Beacon Press.

Mental Health Assessment Team (MHAT)

Fantasy Palace, Iqaluit, Nunavut June 27, 2002

This is a partial truth, more like a flicktion, or a dream, or the virtual than the real. It’s not science or art, more like an invention or innovation. Pieces of this a flicktion are scattered throughout my semi-nomadic cybercamps like tiny inukshuk on a global landscape. It mimics visual anthropology but isn’t. It imitates ethnography but lacks the objectivity. There are words written, pictures taken of events, dates, settings, stages and characters without an author. Maybe it’s the wrong venue in a photo album of beaming faces, stunning scenery, professional photographers, travelers, techies, retirees. But we can all choose to follow each others sign posts in this cyberspace or move on. This is the power of this new social space spun in CyberWeb 2.0.

Cultural ethnographers are supposed to return to their academic spaces, sharpen their methodological tools to a tip that almost cuts the paper they write on (and too often the culture, pop or otherwise they are writing about). You’re not supposed to return from the field with their your mind numbed from the frosted words of those who were seduced by the gold mine of benign colonialism, their voices confident, mocking, paternalistic, jaded by years, or decades of northern experience (1970s-2002). Your were supposed to leave the field with the pace of your beating heart uninterrupted inside your embodied self. You weren’t supposed to leave your a chunk of your soul in that graveyard in Pangnirtung on the Cumberland Sound. This is just lack of professionalism. Get a grip. Just write that comprehensive, proposal, dissertation. Move on. It’s just the way it is.
In this coffee shop sipping a cup of freshly brewed French Roast, (better than a Vancouver Starbucks!), SWF listened with her eyes. She was compassionate but ever so slightly distant. She doesn’t seem to realize how much others from the outside can perceive her knowledge. It is what at times makes her intimidating. Her three generation life story is the stuff of Inuit social history. She seems to almost be unaware of how important that story is. She was surprised that the First Nations cared about the creation of Nunavut. I remember our first class together. She spoke so softly but she was so firm, so insistent, modest and dignified. The wails I had heard by the open graves that still echo in my mind, were all too familiar to her. Slowly, insistently she explained to me as if I really needed to listen, remember, register this. “We do not need your tears. We have enough of our own. We do not need you to fix this. We need your respect. We need you to not make it worse. We need you to listen to us, really listen. Alone, with no resources an elder has been taking them out on the land. She gets no funding. What she has done works. The funding is going elsewhere on projects that are promoted by the insiders. Inuit like her are not insiders.”

Paulo Coelho’s The Witch of Portobello

In a provocative gesture author Paulo Coelho lets his novel’s ten? protagonists interpret the intriguing, elusive main character, Athena or the witch of Portobello, as the principle narrator, 44-year-old journalist Henry Ryan (who is not one) provides ‘raw transcripts” from interviews he collected. I keep thinking of Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author. Perhaps this is ten characters in search of Truth?

At the end of the novel the reader is still uncertain about her character since of course her mother, teachers, ex-husband, employers and followers all see her through their own eyes from different perspectives. Even her name changes throughout. On the last page is Athena truly alive or dead? Did she ever have a special gift that surpassed the everyday? Does she really love others or does she use them for her own ends? Is she manipulative and selfish? Is she a victim or a victimizer? Or is she both. As each protagonist “speaks” we learn as much about them as individuals with their weaknesses and strengths as we do about Athena.

In a final gesture, an innovative twist to the reader-author relationship, the author then hands the story over to his readers and invites them to reinterpret it in a video format by claiming the role of one of the protagonists.

When I set the book down after reading through it twice, I sensed that the profound descriptions of the spiritual power inherent in the pursuit of excellence in creative expression came close to describing Paulo Coelho’s own writing.

I am now working on integrating some of these to illustrate this point . . .

“[L]ife is full of infinite absurdities, which, strangely enough, do not even need to appear plausible, since they are true. [To] reverse the ordinary process may well be considered a madness: that is, to create credible situations, in order that they may appear true […] to make seem true that which isn’t true, … to give life to fantastic characters on the stage? … Are you not accustomed to see the characters created by an author spring to life in yourselves and face each other? Just because there is no “book” which contains us, you refuse to believe . . . [I]t isn’t possible to live in front of a mirror which not only freezes us with the image of ourselves, but throws our likeness back at us with a horrible grimace?” … Drama is action, sir, action and not confounded philosophy. [E]verybody argues and philosophizes when he is considering his own torments.” (Pirandello/6 characters 1921)

to be continued off to see the fireworks

‘The second kind is done with great technique, but with soul as well. For that to happen, the intention of the writer must be in harmony with the word. In this case, the saddest verses cease to be clothed in tragedy and are transformed into simple facts encountered along the way.’ (Coelho/Nabil Alaihi, age unknown, Bedouin 2007:80).”

“But then, how many of us will be saved the pain of seeing the most important things in our lives disappearing from one moment to the next? I don’t just mean people, but our ideas and dreams too: we might survive a day, a week, a few years, but we’re all condemned to lose. Our bodies remain alive, yet sooner or later our soul will receive the mortal blow. The perfect crime – for we don’t know who murdered our joy, what their motives were, or where the guilty parties are to be found. Are they aware of what they’ve done, those nameless guilty parties? I doubt it, because they too – the depressed, the arrogant, the impotent, and the powerful – are the victims of the reality they created. They don’t understand and would be incapable of understanding Athena’s world (Coelho/Heron Ryan, 44, journalist. The Witch of Portobello. 2007:5-6.)”

“On Sunday afternoon, while we were walking in the park, I asked her to pay attention to everything she was seeing and hearing: the leaves moving in the breeze, the waves on the lake, the birds singing, the dogs barking, the shouts of children as they ran back and forth, as if obeying some strange logic, incomprehensible to grown-ups. ‘Everything moves, and everything moves to a rhythm. And everything that moves to a rhythm creates a sound. At this moment, the same thing is happening here and everywhere else in the world. Our ancestors noticed the same thing when they tried to escape from the cold into caves: things moved and made noise. The first human beings may have been frightened by this at first, but that fear was soon replaced by a sense of awe: they understood that this was the way in which some Superior Being was communicating with them. In the hope of reciprocating that communication, they started imitating the sounds and movements around them – and thus dance and music were born (Coelho/Pavel Podbielski, 57, owner of the apartment. The Witch of Portobello. 2007).”


“Monologue is finalized and deaf to the other’s response, does not expect it and does not acknowledge in it any decisive force. Monologue manages without the other, and therefore to some degree materializes all reality . . . Life by its very nature is dialogic. To live means to participate in dialogue (Mikhail Bakhtin 1984:292-293).”

“. . . (Coelho 2007:50).”

“. . . (Coelho 2007:59).”

“. . . (Coelho 2007:75).”

“. . . (Coelho 2007:76).”

“My way of approaching Allah – may his name be praised – has been through calligraphy, and the search for the perfect meaning of each word. A single letter requires us to distil in it all the energy it contains, as if we were carving out its meaning. When sacred texts are written, they contain the soul of the man who served as an instrument to spread them throughout the world. And that doesn’t apply only to sacred texts, but to every mark we place on paper. Because the hand that draws each line reflects the soul of the person making that line (Coelho/Nabil Alaihi, age unknown, Bedouin 2007:76).”

“Writing wasn’t just the experience of a thought but also a way of reflecting on the meaning of each word (Coelho/Nabil Alaihi, age unknown, Bedouin 2007:76).”

“‘Now you must educate only your fingers, so that they can manifest every sensation in your body. That will concentrate your body’s strength.’ (Coelho/Nabil Alaihi, age unknown, Bedouin 2007:78).”

I did not only teach her calligraphy techniques. I also tried to pass on to her the philosophy of the calligraphers. ‘The brush with which you are making these lines is just an instrument. It has no consciousness; it follows the desires of the person holding it. And in that it is very like what we call “life”. Many people in this world are merely playing a role, unaware that there is an Invisible Hand guiding them. At this moment, in your hands, in the brush tracing each letter, lie all the intentions of your soul. Try to understand the importance of this.’ (Coelho/Nabil Alaihi, age unknown, Bedouin 2007:78).”

“Naturally, if she respected the brush that she used, she would realise that in order to learn to write she must cultivate serenity and elegance. And serenity comes from the heart. ‘Elegance isn’t a superficial thing, it’s the way mankind has found to honour life and work. That’s why, when you feel uncomfortable in that position, you mustn’t think that it’s false or artificial: it’s real and true precisely because it’s difficult. That position means that both the paper and the brush feel proud of the effort you’re making. The paper ceases to be a flat, colourless surface and takes on the depth of the things placed on it. Elegance is the correct posture if the writing is to be perfect. It’s the same with life: when all superfluous things have been discarded, we discover simplicity and concentration. The simpler and more sober the posture, the more beautiful it will be, even though, at first, it may seem uncomfortable.’ (Coelho/Nabil Alaihi, age unknown, Bedouin 2007:78).”

“I can combine two things . . . (Coelho/Nabil Alaihi, age unknown, Bedouin 2007:80).”

” ‘There are two kinds of letter,’ I explained. ‘The first is precise, but lacks soul. In this case, although the calligrapher may have mastered the technique, he has focused solely on the craft, which is why it hasn’t evolved, but become repetitive; he hasn’t grown at all, and one day he’ll give up the practice of writing, because he feels it is mere routine. ‘The second kind is done with great technique, but with soul as well. For that to happen, the intention of the writer must be in harmony with the word. In this case, the saddest verses cease to be clothed in tragedy and are transformed into simple facts encountered along the way.’ (Coelho/Nabil Alaihi, age unknown, Bedouin 2007:80).”

“‘Look at a skilled blacksmith working steel. To the untrained eye, he’s merely repeating the same hammer blows, but anyone trained in the art of calligraphy knows that each time the blacksmith lifts the hammer and brings it down, the intensity of the blow is different. The hand repeats the same gesture, but as it approaches the metal, it understands that it must touch it with more or less force. It’s the same thing with repetition: it may seem the same, but it’s always different. The moment will come when you no longer need to think about what you’re doing. You become the letter, the ink, the paper, the word.’ (Coelho/Nabil Alaihi, age unknown, Bedouin 2007:80).”

Calligraphy is not a mere repetition of beauty but an individual, spontaneous, personal and creative gesture (Coelho/Nabil Alaihi, age unknown, Bedouin 2007:83).

In order for a great artist to forget the rules, first she must know them and respect them (Coelho/Nabil Alaihi, age unknown, Bedouin 2007:83).

in the blank spaces between the letters. In the moment when a note of music ends and the next one has not yet begun (Coelho/Nabil Alaihi, age unknown, Bedouin 2007:99).

Vosho Bushalo, a 65-year-old Roma restaurant owner commented about Athena, “If I speak of her now in present tense, it’s because for those who travel, time does not exist, only space (Coelho/Bushalo 2007:104).

Coelho, Paulo. 2007. The Witch of Portobello.

Bibliography: Scientific Knowledge

This selected bibliography includes entries that might be useful in teaching, learning and research on Ethical, Legal and Social dimensions of science and technology; How scientific knowledge is implicated in establishing, contesting, and maintaining social order; Maintaining social order through scientific knowledge

They might be categorized under

Science> Sociology of Science > Scientific Knowledge >

Social Studies of Science

Technology > Theory >

I am intrigued by the role of the semantic web in mapping knowledge systems and I hope I am contributing to the development of this powerful tool for sharing data, information and as a small step towards knowledge and wisdom as part of a process of a renewed concept of civilization.

Key Words, tags, folksonomy

sociology of science, politics of nomenclature, Golem, peer review, authority in scientific knowledge, authority, trust in scientific knowledge, honesty in scientific knowledge, ways of knowing, certainty, sunset of certainty, sunset of ontological certitude, ontological certitude, replication, mere replication, Michael Mulkay, Social Studies of Science, mapping systems and moral order, science in the American polity, states of knowledge, science and social order, social production of scientific knowledge, social production of social order, social order and social cohesion, social dimensions of scientific writing, life sciences, science advice, expert advice in public policy, social dimensions of science and technology, politics of science and technology, expertise studies, property formation, risk disputes, biotechnology, problematic authority, data with-holding, intellectual property, scientific exchange, expert advice studies, contemporary politics, credibility of expert advice, the production of credibility of expert advice, challenging expert advice, sustaining expert advice, how advisory bodies bring authoritative advice to the public stage, measuring bio-economics, bio-societies, public proofs, making things public, map-making, mapping social order, Sokal affair, research tools, human values, ethics, science and technology and human values, ethical and legal and social issues, knowledge and technology and property,


trust, honesty, authority

ethical, legal, social


Conjectures and Refutations

Bibliography and Webliography

Altman, Lawrence. 1990. “The Myth of ‘Passing Peer Review.” in Ethics and Policy in Scientific Publication. Bethesda, MD: Council of Biology Editors, Inc.

Bayer, Ronald. 1987. “Politics, Science, and the Problem of Psychiatric Nomenclature: A Case Study of the American Psychiatric Association Referendum on Homosexuality.” in Scientific Controversies: Case Studies in the Resolution and Closure of Disputes in Science and Technology, edited by H. Tristam Englehardt Jr and Arthur Caplan. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.

Collins, Harry. 1985. “Replicating the TEA-Laser.” in Changing Order: Replication and Induction in Scientific Practice, edited by Harry Collins Changing Order: Replication and Induction in Scientific Practice. London, UK: Sage.

Collins, Harry and Trevor Pinch. 1988. The Golem at Large: What You Should Know About Technology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Collins, Harry and Trevor Pinch. 1993. The Golem: What Everyone Should Know about Science. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press: Cambridge University Press.

Council_of_Biology_Editors. 1990. “Ethics and Policy in Scientific Publication.” Bethesda, MD: Council of Biology Editors, Inc.

David, Paul A. “Clio and the Economics of QWERTY.”

Eisenthal, Bram D. 2003. Fervent and curious attracted by legend of Golem. Prague, CZ: Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Epstein, Steven. 1995. “The Construction of Lay Expertise: AIDS Activism and the Forging of Credibility in the Reform of Clinical Trials.” Science, Technology, and Human Values 20.

Gieryn, Thomas. 1983. “Boundary-Work and the Demarcation of Science from Non-Science: Strains and Interests in Professional Ideologies of Scientists.” American Sociological Review 48.

Golem. A Prague’s Guide – Spanish Synogogue.

Goodwin, Charles. 1997. “Professional Vision.” American Anthropologist 96.

Hafton, John and Paul Plouffe. 1997. “Science and Its Ways of Knowing.” Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Haraway, D. 1991a. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge.

Haraway, Donna. 1983a. Cyborgs?

Haraway, Donna. 1983b. “The Ironic Dream of a Common Language for Women in the Integrated Circuit: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the 1980s or A Socialist Feminist Manifesto for Cyborgs.” in History of Consciousness Board. University of California at Santa Cruz. : Submitted to Das Argument for the Orwell 1984 volume.

Haraway, Donna. 1988. “Situated Knowledges: the Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective.” Feminist Studies 14.

Haraway, Donna. 1989. Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science.

Haraway, Donna. 1991b. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century.” Pp. 149-181 in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge. http://www.stanford.edu/dept/HPS/Haraway/CyborgManifesto.html haraway_donna/cyborg_manifesto.htm

Haraway, Donna. 1991c. “Daughters of Man-the Hunter in the Field, 1960-80.” in Simians, Cyborgs and Women. New York: Routledge and Kegan.

Haraway, Donna. 1996. “Situated Knowledges: the Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective.” Pp. 249-263 in Feminism and Science.

Haraway, Donna. 1997. Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium.FemaleMan©_Meets_OncoMouse™. New York: Routledge.

Harnad, Stevan. 1995. “Interactive Cognition: Exploring the Potential of Electronic Quote/Commenting.” Pp. 397-414 in Cognitive Technology: In Search of a Humane Interface, edited by B. Gorayska and J.L. Mey. http://cogprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/archive/00001599/00/harnad95.interactive.cognition.html

Hilgartner, Stephen. 2003. What Is Science? Introduction to Science and Technology Studies: Cornell University. http://www.sts.cornell.edu/syllabi/sts201.htm

Hughes, Thomas P. 1987. “The Evolution of Large Technological Systems.” in The Social Construction of Technological Systems, edited by Wiebe Bijker, Hughes Thomas, and Trevor Pinch. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Jasanoff, Sheila. 1995. “The Law’s Construction of Expertise.” in Science at the Bar: Law, Science, and Technology in America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. http://www.sts.cornell.edu/syllabi/sts201.htm

Jasanoff, Sheila. 1997. “Civilization and Madness: The Great BSE Scare of 1996.” Public Understanding of Science 6. http://www.sts.cornell.edu/syllabi/sts201.htm

Kamenetz, Rodger and Steve Stern. 2003. Jewish Icons of Prague: Kafka and The Golem.

Knorr-Cetina, Karin and Michael Mulkay. 1983. “Science Observed: Perspectives on the Social Study of Science.” London, UK: Sage. http://www.sts.cornell.edu/syllabi/sts201.htm

Latour, Bruno. 1983. “Give Me a Laboratory and I Will Raise the World.” in Science Observed: Perspectives on the Social Study of Science, edited by Karin Knorr-Cetina and Michael Mulkay. London, UK: Sage. http://www.sts.cornell.edu/syllabi/sts201.htm

Latour, Bruno. 1987. “Literature.” in Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society. Cambridge. MA: Harvard University Press. http://www.sts.cornell.edu/syllabi/sts201.htm

Lewenstein, Bruce. 1992. “Cold Fusion and Hot History.” Osiris 7:135-163. http://www.sts.cornell.edu/syllabi/sts201.htm

MacKenzie, Donald. 1987. “Missile Accuracy: A Case Study in the Social Processes of Technological Change.” in The Social Construction of Technological Systems, edited by Wiebe Bijker, Hughes Thomas, and Trevor Pinch. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. http://www.sts.cornell.edu/syllabi/sts201.htm

Merton, Robert K. 1942 [1973]. “The Normative Structure of Science.” in Sociology of Science, edited by Robert K. Merton. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. http://www.sts.cornell.edu/syllabi/sts201.htm

Mukerji, Chandra. 1996. “The Collective Construction of Scientific Genius.” in Cognition and Communication at Work, edited by Yrjo Engestrom and David Middleton. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. http://www.sts.cornell.edu/syllabi/sts201.htm

Mulkay, Michael. 1976 [1991]. “Norms and Ideology.” in Sociology of Science: A Sociological Pilgrimage, edited by Michael Mulkay. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. http://www.sts.cornell.edu/syllabi/sts201.htm

Mulkay, Michael and Nigel Gilbert. 1986 [1991]. “Replication and Mere Replication.” in Sociology of Science: A Sociological Pilgrimage, edited by Michael Mulkay. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. http://www.sts.cornell.edu/syllabi/sts201.htm

NSF. 1997. “Full Text of Twenty-Year Vision Statement.” National Science Foundation, Center for Science, Policy, & Outcomes. http://www.sts.cornell.edu/syllabi/sts201.htm

Pinch, Trevor. The Sociology of Science: Cornell University http://www.sts.cornell.edu/Syllabi/S&TS%20442%20-%20Fall%2099.htm.

Pinch, Trevor. 1981. “The Sun-Set: The Presentation of Certainty in Scientific Life.” Social Studies of Science 11. http://www.sts.cornell.edu/syllabi/sts201.htm

Popper, Karl. 1962 [1997]. “Science: Conjectures and Refutations.” in Science and Its Ways of Knowing, edited by John Hafton and Paul Plouffe. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. http://www.sts.cornell.edu/syllabi/sts201.htm

Shapin, Steven. 1995. “Trust, Honesty, and the Authority of Science.” in Society’s Choices: Social and Ethical Decision Making in Biomedicine, edited by National_Academy_of_Science. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. http://www.sts.cornell.edu/syllabi/sts201.htm

SJFF. “The Golem: San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.” San Francisco. http://www.bestofberkeley.com/view_article.asp?article_id=136

Stossel, Thomas. 1990. “Beyond Rejection: A User’s View of Peer Review.” in Ethics and Policy in Scientific Publication.

Bethesda, MD: Council of Biology Editors, Inc. http://www.sts.cornell.edu/syllabi/sts201.htm

Thieberger, F. 1955. The great Rabbi Loew of Prague: His life and work and the legend of the golem. London, UK: Horovitz Publishing Co.

Vuletic, Dean. 2003. The Return of the Golem. Prague, Czechoslovakia: Czech Radio 7, Radio Prague. http://www.radio.cz/print/en/33264

Wegener, Paul and Carl Boese. 1920. “The Golem.” San Francisco.


A number of these bibliographic entries are based on bibliographies compiled by Professors Tarleton Gillespie and Stephen Hilgartner, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 USA. Stephen Hilgartner studies the social dimensions and politics of contemporary and emerging science and technology, especially in the life sciences. His research focuses on situations in which scientific knowledge is implicated in establishing, contesting, and maintaining social order-a theme he has examined in studies of expertise, property formation, risk disputes, and biotechnology. His book on science advice, Science on Stage: Expert Advice as Public Drama, won the 2002 Rachel Carson Prize from the Society for Social Studies of Science.

How scientific knowledge is implicated in establishing, contesting, and maintaining social order

Maintaining social order through scientific knowledge

key words: Social Studies of Science, mapping systems and moral order, science in the American polity, states of knowledge, science and social order, social production of scientific knowledge, social production of social order, social order and social cohesion, social dimensions of scientific writing, life sciences, science advice, expert advice in public policy, social dimensions of science and technology, politics of science and technology, expertise studies, property formation, risk disputes, biotechnology, problematic authority, data with-holding, intellectual property, scientific exchange, expert advice studies, contemporary politics, credibility of expert advice, the production of credibility of expert advice, challenging expert advice, sustaining expert advice, how advisory bodies bring authoritative advice to the public stage, measuring bio-economics, bio-societies, public proofs, making things public, map-making, mapping social order, Sokal affair, research tools, human values, ethics, science and technology and human values, ethical and legal and social issues, knowledge and technology and property,

Hilgartner, Stephen. 2000. Science on Stage: Expert Advice as Public Drama, Stanford University Press.

“Behind the headlines of our time stands an unobtrusive army of science advisers. Panels of scientific, medical, and engineering experts evaluate the safety of the food we eat, the drugs we take, and the cars we drive. But despite the enormous influence of science advice, its authority is often problematic, and struggles over expert advice are thus a crucial aspect of contemporary politics. Science on Stage is a theoretically informed and empirically grounded study of the social process through which the credibility of expert advice is produced, challenged, and sustained. Building on the sociology of Erving Goffman, the author analyzes science advice as a form of performance, examining how advisory bodies work to bring authoritative advice to the public stage. This lively and accessible analysis provides not only new insights about science advice but also a fresh look at the social dimensions of scientific writing.” (from the book jacket)

Hilgartner, Stephen. “Making the Bioeconomy Measurable: Politics of an Emerging Anticipatory Machinery” (Comment). BioSocieties 2(3):382-6, 2007. http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php

Hilgartner, Stephen. “Overflow and Containment in the Aftermath of Disaster” (Comment). Social Studies of Science, 37(1):153-58, 2007. http://www.hurricanearchive.org

Hilgartner, Stephen. “Voting Machinery, Counting, and Public Proofs in the 2000 US Presidential Election.” Michael Lynch, Stephen Hilgartner, and Carin Berkowitz, in Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, edited by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel. MIT Press, 2005.

Hilgartner, Stephen. “Making Maps and Making Social Order: Governing American Genome Centers, 1988-1993.” In From Genetics to Genomics: The Mapping Cultures of Twentieth-Century Genetics, edited by Jean-Paul Gaudillière and Hans-Joerg Rheinberger, Routledge, 2004.

Hilgartner, Stephen. “Mapping Systems and Moral Order: Constituting Property in Genome Laboratories.” In States of Knowledge: The Co-Production of Science and Social Order, edited by Sheila Jasanoff, Routledge, 2004.

Hilgartner, Stephen. “Biotechnology.” In Smelser, Neil J. and Paul Baltes, eds., International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2:1235-40, Elsevier, 2002.

Hilgartner, Stephen. “Acceptable Intellectual Property.” Journal of Molecular Biology, 319(4):943-46, 2002.

Hilgartner, Stephen. “Data Withholding in Academic Genetics: Evidence From a National Survey.” Eric G. Campbell, Brian R. Clarridge, Manjusha Gokhale, Lauren Birenbaum, Stephen Hilgartner, Neil A. Holtzman, David Blumenthal, Journal of the American Medical Association 287(4):473-80, 2002.

Hilgartner, Stephen. “Data Access Policy in Genome Research.” Pp. 202-18 in Arnold Thackray, ed., Private Science: Biotechnology and the Rise of the Molecular Sciences, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998.

Hilgartner, Stephen. “Access to Data and Intellectual Property: Scientific Exchange in Genome Research.” Pp. 28-39 in National Academy of Sciences, Intellectual Property and Research Tools in Molecular Biology: Report of a Workshop, National Academy Press, 1997. http://www.nap.edu/books

Hilgartner, Stephen. “The Sokal Affair in Context.” Science, Technology & Human Values, Vol. 24, No. 2, Autumn 1997, pp. 506-22.

Hilgartner, Stephen. “Biomolecular Databases: New Communication Regimes for Biology?” Science Communication, Vol. 17, No. 2, December 1995, pp. 240-63.


Hilgartner, Stephen. Spring 2007 – (S&TS 391/Govt 309/AmStud 389) Science in the American Polity: 1960- Now TR: 1:25-2:40, 4 Credits

Hilgartner, Stephen. Spring 2007 – (S&TS 411) Knowledge, Technology and Property MW: 2:55-4:10, 4 Credits

Hilgartner, Stephen. Fall 2006 – (BSOC/S&TS 205) Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine TR: 10:10-11:25 + Section, 4 Credits

Hilgartner, Stephen. Fall 2006 – (S&TS 645/Govt 634) The New Life Sciences: Emerging Technology, Emerging Politics T: 2:30-4:25, Credits


Department of Science & Technology Studies: www.sts.cornell.edu

Undergraduate major in Biology & Society: www.sts.cornell.edu/programbsoc.php

Ph.D. Program in Science & Technology Studies: www.sts.cornell.edu/programphd.php

Cornell New Life Science Initiative: Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues: http://www.genomics.cornell.edu/focus_areas/elsi/

Voting Technology Archive: http://www.sts.cornell.edu/voting_technology_archive/