Vibeke Pihl - Following pigs and people at work in biomedical science
Vibeke Pihl is a sociologist, who holds a PhD in Medicine, Culture and Society. She is affiliated with the Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies, University of Copenhagen.
Following pigs and people at work in biomedical science
This talk analyses the use of pigs as models of human patients with the aim to enhance human health. More specifically, I will discuss the various kinds of work that are involved in transforming obese minipigs into gastric by-pass models of obese type-2 diabetic human bodies in contemporary veterinary biomedical research. By following pigs’ travels across the sites involved in an experiment, I will point to how different ways of knowing pigs emerge through the practices of scientists at the lab and animal technicians at the stable. Moreover, the ways of knowing pigs depend on both technicians and scientists occupying different positions in their relations with pigs, which point to how experiments are enabled by varying ontologies. Finally, I address how the joint engagement of pigs and humans in work enables experiments. As such, the experiment entails recognition of the interdependency between species on various levels, as not only their physiological similarities but also the ability of pigs and humans to work together is required for experiments to succeed.