Life Sciences & Society Lab

Centre for Sociological Research
Faculty of Social Sciences

The Life Sciences & Society Lab studies the social aspects and implications of life sciences innovations and technologies (genomics, digital health, personalised medicine, AI). Using a range of qualitative methods, the group conducts politico-sociological research into biomedical knowledges and their appropriation within diverse societal practices, ranging from insurance markets, public health, welfare institutions, and family lives to citizens’ lived realities and the European polity. Our goal is to conduct robust social science research that reveals the challenges and opportunities of present-day biomedicine and seeks to articulate them as new vistas for living together in European biosocieties. The LSS Lab, under the supervision of Prof. dr. Ine Van Hoyweghen, currently hosts 6 PhD students and 3 postdocs. Providing a dynamic environment to discuss research, while obtaining feedback from researchers with varying background disciplines, the Lab provides a concrete foundation for the acquisition of a broad variety of theoretical and methodological skills from Science and Technology Studies (STS) and the sociology of biomedicine.

The aims of the LSS Lab are: – to promote and facilitate social science research on the life sciences-society interface; – to maintain a broad research and teaching agenda that links our key interests in biomedicine with wider issues in science and technology, and in health care innovation and social policy; – to contribute to societal debates on life science innovations that will be relevant to policy makers, practitioners, patients, and European citizens; – to foster cross- and interdisciplinary research across the life sciences, social sciences and humanities in order to explore ‘real-world’ problems of the 21st century which consistently involve both biological and social processes. The research group has an interdisciplinary character, including researchers working in the fields of medical sociology and anthropology, science and technology studies, political science, biomedical sciences, and biomedical humanities. We are committed to conceptually rigorous, empirically informed, and critical explorations of the interactions between the life sciences, politics, and society through analyzing and comparing practices locally, nationally and globally. We address a broad range of topics, including research on the governance of life sciences (genomics, reproductive medicine, food technologies), health care innovations, insurance, patient knowledge and activism, and social ramifications of biomedicine including issues of responsibility for health, solidarity, and privacy.