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The UK Stem Cell Bank as performative architecture

Stephens, Neil James, Atkinson, Paul Anthony and Glasner, Peter Egon 2008. The UK Stem Cell Bank as performative architecture. New Genetics and Society 27 (2) , pp. 87-98. 10.1080/14636770802076977

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Abstract

Since November 2006 the UK Stem Cell Bank has made human embryonic stem cell lines available for international distribution. As the first Bank of its type in the world it has an important role in the movement and guardianship of stem cell material. In this paper we discuss the flows of people and biological material through the very building itself. By taking issues of space seriously we make explicit a number of arrangements that are central to the Bank's performance of sterile and legitimate practice. We begin by reporting ethnographic fieldwork conducted at the Bank over a three year period. Then we develop Nigel Thirft's concept of performative architecture on a micro-sociological level. Drawing these together provides fertile ground for an analysis of the pollution beliefs and associated ritualistic practices operated at the Bank, and how this links to the Bank's wider symbolic representation. This focus on flows offers further opportunity to discuss how technical standards at the Bank allow for both stability and fluidity while maintaining symbolic legitimacy. By highlighting paradoxes within these practices we make explicit the nuances within the Bank's metaphorical vision of sterility.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (CESAGen)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords: UK Stem Cell Bank; sterility; performative architecture; stem cells
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 1463-6778
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:17
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/19331

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