Power and the Environment in Type 2 Diabetes Science

Mon, August 2, 2021 1:30 PM at Zoom

Sociology PhD Student Jennifer Lai will defend her dissertation "Power and the Environment in Type 2 Diabetes Science"

Abstract: In this dissertation, I use three concepts from science and technology studies – political sociology of science, boundary objects, and actor-network theory – to examine how relations of power engender the production of environmental knowledge within type 2 diabetes science. Under a political sociology of science framework, I show how diversification of expertise associated with environmental knowledge production has been consolidated among a handful of scientific institutions. Next, in likening environmental factors to boundary objects, I show how such objects can facilitate a collective process of knowledge production that nevertheless reinforces unequal opportunities for scientific participation. Finally, I engage with actor-network theory to show how medical experts elaborate on structural constraints regarding the provision of effective interventions for people living with type 2 diabetes while simultaneously articulating on environmental factors. This work reveals how environmental discourse within type 2 diabetes science is shorthand for relations of power that reproduce unjust distributions of disease.

Committee: Sandy Marquart-Pyatt (Co-Chair), stef shuster (Co-Chair), Cathy Liu, and Sean Valles