Silke Gülker

Transcendence and (Un-)Availability in Stem Cell Research. A Research Perspective beyond Dichotomies

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Debates on the relationship between science and religion often reproduce the dichotomy of science versus religion and thereby co-write the narrative of a science based on pure rationality and continuously making the world more available. Focusing on constructions of boundaries between availability and transcendence, the paper looks for a research perspective beyond those dichotomies. The analysis is based on two ethnographic case studies in international stem cell research laboratories, one located in the United States and one in Germany. Following a differentiation made by Schütz and Luckmann, it is analyzed how intermediate and great transcendences are constructed in scientifi c work and what meaning these constructions have for ethical legitimization on the one hand and content-related interpretations on the other. The empirical focus is upon experiments carried out on animals. Constructions of intermediate transcendence are of particular signifi cance in the relationship between the researchers, the mice/rats, and the cells. The unquestioned species order points to constructions of great transcendence.

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