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Durham University

Department of Anthropology


Publication details for Professor Yulia Egorova

Egorova, Y. (2007). The Meanings of Science: Conversations with Geneticists. Health Care Analysis 15(1): 51-58.

Author(s) from Durham


It is often suggested in the mass media and popular academic literature that scientists promote a secular and reductionist understanding of the implications of the life sciences for the concept of being human. Is adhering to this view considered to be one of the components of the notion of being a good scientist? This paper explores responses of geneticists interviewed in the UK, the USA and Russia about the cultural meanings of their work. When discussing this question the interviewees distinguished between their ‘personal’ and ‘professional’ views. When talking as ‘lay people’ they demonstrated a wide range of opinions none of which was perceived as incompatible with scientific practice. When talking as ‘scientists’ the respondents stressed that the cultural implications of their research were not a matter of their professional concern. It is suggested that these two trends in their answers could be explained by scientists tending to relegate the implications of their work to the realm of the social which they construe as divorced from scientific practice.