Greenhough, Beth and Roe, Emma J.
Ethics, space, and somatic sensibilities: comparing relationships between scientific researchers and their human and animal experimental subjects.
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 29, (1), . (doi:10.1068/d17109).
Drawing on geographies of affect and nature-society relations, we propose a radical rethinking of how scientists, social scientists, and regulatory agencies conceptualise human and animal participants in scientif ic research. The scientific rationale for using animal bodies to simulate what could be done in human bodies emphasises shared somatic capacities that generate comparable responses to clinical interventions. At the same time, regulatory guidelines and care practices stress the differences between human and animal subjects. In this paper we consider the implications of this
differentiation between human and animal bodies in ethical and welfare protocols and practices. We show how the bioethical debates around the use of human subjects tend to focus on issues of consent and language, while recent work in animal welfare reflects an increasing focus on the affectual dimensions of ethical practice. We argue that this attention to the more-than-representational dimensions of ethics and welfare might be equally important for human subjects. We assert that paying attention to these somatic sensibilities can offer insights into how experimental environments can both facilitate and restrict the development of more care-full and response-able relations between researchers and their experimental subjects.
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