This podcast features Dr Des Fitzgerald (King’s College London) and Dr Felicity Callard (Durham University) on ‘Experimental Entanglements: Re-thinking the dynamics of interaction across the social sciences and neurosciences’. It was recorded at a Hearing the Voice Research Seminar in the Birley Room at Hatfield College at Durham University on Thursday 8 May 2014, 5.15 pm – 7.15 pm.
Abstract: Interactions between the social sciences and neurosciences are increasingly hard to avoid these days – both in institutions committed to ‘interdisciplinary’ engagements between these domains, and in often worried accounts from the field. However, this paper proposes a new way of understanding, and interacting with, these developments. Starting from the position that contemporary opportunities for collaboration between social scientists and neuroscientists need to be taken seriously, this paper asks how we are to imagine and theorize these emerging possibilities. It argues that the first step in this imaginary act must be to set ourselves against a bloodless and sterile rhetoric of ‘interdisciplinarity, ’and to instead pursue a much more bold and risky sense of what an experimental approach can look like in this space. The paper analyses existing frameworks for understanding the dynamics between the social- and neuro-sciences, and argues that these (whether enthusiastic or horrified) all take place within ‘the régime of the inter-’, a subterranean frame that interprets interaction ‘between’ disciplines on the basis of their fundamental separateness. The paper argues that, contra this régime, it is no longer practicable or desirable to maintain a hygienic separation between sociocultural webs and neurobiological architecture, whose entanglements remain indifferent to disciplinary ethos and history. But more importantly, it suggests that the cognitive neuroscientific experiment, as a rich space of epistemological and ontological excess, offers a still-mostly-uncharted space for researchers, from all disciplines, to understand, explore and register the outcomes of this realization.
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