Sociology

Dmitriy Myelnikov

Until 1986, laboratory animal research in the UK was regulated by the 1876 Cruelty to Animals Act – a century of dramatic techno-scientific progress governed by a Victorian law. Pressure to reform the law grew in the 1970s with the expansion of animal rights and changing political orientation of animal welfare organisations. It was in this context that the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) was born, as a compromise between scientific and moderate welfare interests. How did civil servants and politicians balance the diversity of stakeholder voices, welfare concerns, scientific goals, and practicalities when drafting ASPA? Drawing on the recently opened government archives, personal papers of campaigners, published sources and interviews, this chapter shows that constant emphasis on the fragility of the consensus was a useful tool in curtailing dissent and steering ASPA through Parliament. At the same time, bringing together a relatively diverse range of perspectives aided the Act’s regulatory longevity, even though it did not defuse strong feelings, with direct action campaigns against animal experimentation intensifying in the 1990s. This chapter suggests that reconstructing how consensus within ASPA was forged and recruited by various actors is key to understanding its impact and may point towards new ways to encourage openness and communication across animal research communities.

in Researching animal research
Intersectional inequalities in urban space
Alexandrina Vanke

The chapter considers ‘a sense of one’s place’ that, according to Pierre Bourdieu, means spatial dispositions and the feelings of social divisions and possibilities. It explains how a sense of one’s place marked by class, gender, age and ethnicity operates within deindustrialising urban infrastructures. Drawing on the intersectional approach by Kimberlé Crenshaw and the feminist geography by Doreen Massey, the author views ‘a sense of place’ as emerging at the intersection of class, gender, age and ethnic/ racial inequalities experienced by workers in deindustrialising urban settings. However, the aspect of gender appeared to be the most important framing workers’ activities and navigation of social and spatial divisions in both neighbourhoods. The author suggests the concept of ‘a gendered sense of place’ that she defines as gendered spatialised dispositions to explore intersectional inequalities in the city space. It is argued that workers’ sense of place in industrial neighbourhoods represents positions they take in the space of social distinction and in the power hierarchy of Russian society. The chapter looks at the examples of places inside the industrial neighbourhoods, such as pubs, garages, workshops, crafts exhibitions and benches near social housing blocks, that bear some traits of ‘working-class’-ness and are mediated by gender, ethnic/ racial and age inequalities.

in The urban life of workers in post- Soviet Russia
Open Access (free)
Morality, emotions, and expectations of care in zebrafish aquariums
Reuben Message

Zebrafish are one of the most important species used in contemporary bioscience research. As vertebrates, they have, in the UK, the same legal or welfare protections as other commonly used animals like rats, mice, and rabbits. However, the human–animal relationships that emerge between animal technologists and zebrafish are different to the case of relations between terrestrial mammals. What does this mean in terms of care relations? Specifically, this chapter investigates how animal technologists who work with fish (aquarists) navigate the disjuncture between their embodied experiences of caring for zebrafish and the social expectations around empathy and inter-species bonding that increasingly accompany regulatory discourses and ideas of professional identity and responsibility in the wider animal technology and welfare arena. In this light, the chapter focuses on how aquarists conceive of and present themselves as moral agents in the relative absence of the kinds of emotional attachment typically seen as desirable, and the experience of which might normally be expected to act as signs of moral and professional virtue. Concretely then, this paper empirically investigates some of the quotidian activities, attitudes, and modes of speaking adopted by aquarists who, like all animal technologists, wish to do good and be perceived as doing so – despite the ambivalence of their personal experiences and the specificity of human–fish relations in the research aquarium.

in Researching animal research
Abstract only
Alexandrina Vanke

The introduction sets out the aim of the book to dispel the stereotypes of working-class people in dominant discourses. It starts with the key argument of workers’ diverse ways of life and their active engagement in a wide range of practical activities in post-industrial cities. The author defines the urban working class by focusing on people’s belonging to local communities, residential status, type of employment and level of social insecurity. The introduction situates the research within the scholarly debate about the working classes considering both their global and local dimensions. It is argued that despite varying geographical and political contexts, the urban working classes across the world face a similar set of problems and life difficulties caused by global capitalism. However, there are some peculiarities of the everyday life of workers in post-socialist cities that combine in urban development Soviet socialist and post-Soviet neoliberal patterns and strategies. The introduction describes the methodology and geography of research. The study underlying the book is built on multi-sited ethnography conducted in the cities of Moscow and Yekaterinburg (2018–19) where the author collected data in two industrial neighbourhoods and larger urban contexts. This study was complemented by the previous research that the author did in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg (2010–17) and the additional ethnographic data collected in Moscow in 2022. The author explains her creative strategy of writing with multi-sensory data. The introduction finishes with outlining the book chapters.

in The urban life of workers in post- Soviet Russia
Open Access (free)
Gail Davies
,
Beth Greenhough
,
Pru Hobson-West
,
Robert G. W. Kirk
, and
Alexandra Palmer

The Animal Research Nexus Programme (AnNex) used methods from the social sciences and humanities to deliver new research and engagement on the social aspects of animal research. AnNex took place across five UK universities from 2017 to 2023 and involved six distinct but interrelated strands of work. These were: 1) History and Cultures, focusing on the recent history of animal research in the UK; 2) Species and Spaces, examining new species and sites in animal research; 3) Markets and Materials, exploring the breeding, supply, and rehoming of research animals; 4) People and Professions, investigating how professionals, including veterinarians, are seen by wider publics and vice versa; 5) Engagement and Involvement, charting the changing interfaces between patient representatives and those who use animals in research; and 6) Collaboration and Communication, using nexus thinking to engage stakeholders, publics, and researchers from different disciplines in productive dialogue. This chapter explores the disciplinary and conceptual trajectories that underpinned our research together, introduces the range of organisations and actors that animal research involves, and outlines the methods we used to engage these in our work. We explain the emerging themes used to organise this book, introducing chapters under the headings of ‘Changing and implementing regulation’, ‘Culturing and sustaining care’, ‘Distributing expertise and accountability’, and ‘Experimenting with openness and engagement’. We reflect on what we learnt by collaborating with those within and outside of the animal research community, introducing the stakeholder commentaries in this book that enrich our understanding of the animal research nexus.

in Researching animal research
Exploring assumptions around patient involvement in animal research
Gail Davies
,
Richard Gorman
, and
Gabrielle King

This chapter asks how we can move beyond assumptions that impede patient involvement in research using animals in the UK. It proposes that there are a set of common but contradictory assumptions influencing contemporary patterns of patient involvement around animal research. These can be encapsulated through paraphrasing different people's suggestions that 1) ‘patients don’t want to know about the use of animals’; 2) ‘patients will always support this research’; 3) ‘patients don’t have relevant expertise to contribute’; and 4) ‘patients won’t make a difference to animal research’. The chapter explores these assumptions through in-depth qualitative interviews with patient representatives, scientific researchers, and involvement professionals who have experience of patient involvement in research using animals. The analysis highlights the changing way that patient voices and experiences have been brought into conversations around animal research, from the challenges of being aligned with publicly mediated controversies to the complexities of being involved in setting research priorities. The chapter identifies opportunities for future exchanges that make more space to listen to patient voices and different perspectives in biomedical research.

in Researching animal research
Renelle McGlacken
and
Pru Hobson-West

In the UK, societal dialogue around animal research remains limited, with few opportunities for individuals to publicly discuss the topic or feed into policy decision-making processes. Although partly intended to enhance public dialogue, existing openness and transparency initiatives in the UK bioscience sector have largely focused on unidirectional transmissions of information. To develop an activity to promote dialogue amongst publics and stakeholders, this chapter focused on medicine consumption as a material, everyday, and localised practice, aiming to avoid treating animal research as a distant matter reserved for experts. It also considers the policy proposal to include information about scientific animal use in labels on medicine packaging as a mechanism for educating publics and improving support for animal research. The chapter discusses and critically reflects on the experience of planning and facilitating an activity on the topic of medicine labelling, which ran four times between 2019 and 2021. Overall, the topic of labelling medicines has potential as a route into engagement with animal research. However, as a policy initiative it does not, as may have been assumed by some proponents, offer a clear solution to a perceived problem. Rather, it generates further questions and conversations around how openness regarding animal research is navigated and enacted. The provocation of including information on animal use in medicine labelling therefore opens up wider themes of knowledge, power, and positionality.

in Researching animal research
Alexandrina Vanke

The chapter explores how structures of feeling shape everyday life and local atmospheres in the Moscow and Yekaterinburg neighbourhoods. Developing Williams’s concept through multi-sited ethnography, the author defines structure of feeling as an affective principle regulating sensual experiences, spatial imaginaries and practical activities of local communities within socio-material infrastructures. Following Doreen Massey’s vision of space as ‘a discrete multiplicity’ imbued with temporality, the authors extends and theorises structures of feeling as temporal and spatial micro-orders, coinciding in multiple centres of the social universe. In deindustrialising urban areas of Russia, structures of feeling manifest in convergences of temporal and spatial registers and in combinations of discrete elements from the Soviet and post-Soviet eras. Co-existing structures of feeling generate multiple lived experiences of residents of industrial neighbourhoods. It is argued that this co-existence of Soviet (socialist/ industrial) and post-Soviet (neoliberal/ post-industrial) structures in landscapes and infrastructures sometimes result in contradictions of spatial imaginaries of industrial neighbourhoods. Working-class and long-standing middle-class residents show an affective attachment to place and tend to imagine their neighbourhoods with the help of an industrial residual structure of feeling comprising values of factory culture, communality and shared space. In contrast, an emergent structure of feeling is informed by values of neoliberal development, individual comfort and private space. Structures of feeling shape sensual and imaginative relations between people within local communities and relations of people with their places of residence. They create particular local atmospheres and moods of places and regulate how deindustrialising communities sense and imagine their neighbourhoods.

in The urban life of workers in post- Soviet Russia
Alexandrina Vanke

The moral economy of the working class implies particular moral codes, values and norms embedded in the everyday life of those who are often called ‘workers’, ‘ordinary people’ and ‘the poor’. Even though these codes, values and norms of morality may differ from country to country being rooted in national, folk and ethnic cultures, the moral signification of groups that reproduces social divisions and inequalities can be found anywhere around the globe. This chapter draws on the idea by Mike Savage that social classes have ‘morally loaded signifiers’ that are underpinned by structures of feeling bearing particular cultural meanings. It is argued that in contemporary Russia, the emergent moral signifiers of class co-exist with residual ones due to the convergence of Soviet and post-Soviet structures. The moral signifiers of the working class continue to be informed by an industrial residual structure of feeling. Simultaneously, the working class as a semantic category contains the new meanings associated with ‘service workers’ and ‘labour migrants’. The chapter also examines the moral value and signifiers attached by representatives of different classes to social and ethnic ‘others’ residing in their industrial neighbourhoods. The analysis of narratives about the moral value of class allows a better understanding of the emergent system of the moral signification of classes that are being formed in changing Russian society. The author complements this examination with the analysis of blaming and shaming narratives about Russia-based ‘ordinary people’ and ‘the poor’ intensified in 2022 after the start of the Russia–Ukraine war.

in The urban life of workers in post- Soviet Russia
Open Access (free)
What can curiosity-driven public engagement activities contribute to dialogues about animal research?
Emma Roe
,
Sara Peres
, and
Bentley Crudgington

Despite efforts by the industry to be more open about the use of animals in research, opportunities for the public to learn about this are limited by the traditional public engagement format, which typically follows a knowledge-deficit approach. Coupled with barriers around public willingness to learn about something that stirs up complex feelings, there is a need to develop new public engagement activities that allow for open, nuanced, curiosity-driven explorations of animal research. The Mouse Exchange (MX) achieves this by allowing participants to feel in control of their experience, and to explore the hesitancy, distrust, suspicion, anxieties, and guilt that some associate with animal research. The MX approaches openness via focusing on the making and supply of animals used in research, rather than on the experiment itself. The MX has no script, but rather creates a space where participants converse and craft, becoming curious, creative, and imaginative about the topic as a research mouse, stitched together from felt fabric, forms in their hands. Through this process of crafting, an attachment can form between maker and mouse that gives participants a different stake in animal research. We argue that the MX offers a new, valuable approach to engaging publics in discussions around animal research.

in Researching animal research