Internationalisation dynamics in contemporary South American life sciences: the case of zebrafish [article]

Rodrigo Liscovsky Barrera, University Of Edinburgh, Niki Vermeulen, Tod Van Gunten, Alfredo Yegros-Yegros
We tend to assume that science is inherently international. Geographical boundaries are not a matter of concern in science, and when they do – e.g. due to the rise of nationalist or populist movements – they are thought to constitute a threat to the essence of the scientific enterprise; namely, the global mobility of ideas, knowledge and researchers. Quite recently, we also started to consider that research could become 'more international' under the assumption that in doing so it becomes
more » ... , i.e. more collaborative, innovative, dynamic, and of greater quality. Such a positive conceptualisation of internationalisation, however, rests on interpretations coming almost exclusively from the Global North that systematically ignore power dynamics in scientific practice and that regard scientific internationalisation as an unproblematic transformative process and as a desired outcome. In Science and Technology Studies (STS), social research on model organisms is perhaps the clearest example of the influence of the dominant vision of internationalisation. This body of literature tends to describe model organism science and their research communities as uniform and harmonious international ecosystems governed by a strong collaborative ethos of sharing specimens, knowledge and resources. But beyond these unproblematic descriptions, how does internationalisation actually transform research on life? To what extent do the power dynamics of internationalisation intervene in contemporary practices of knowledge production and diffusion in this field of research? This thesis revisits the dynamics and practices of scientific internationalisation in contemporary science from the perspective of South American life sciences. It takes the zebrafish (Danio rerio), a small tropic freshwater fish, originally from the Ganges region in India and quite popular in pet shops, as a case study of how complex dynamics of internationalisation intervene in science. While zebrafish research has experienced a remarkable growth in recent years at [...]
doi:10.7488/era/2113 fatcat:ugyobxgrtfckrdneel5w2mxcsm