The Open UniversitySkip to content

The biosocial event: responding to innovation in the life sciences

Lee, Nick and Motzkau, Johanna (2012). The biosocial event: responding to innovation in the life sciences. Sociology, 46(3) pp. 426–441.

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (65Kb)
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Innovation in the life sciences calls for reflection on how sociologies separate and relate life processes and social processes. To this end we introduce the concept of the ‘biosocial event’. Some life processes and social processes have more mutual relevance than others. Some of these relationships are more negotiable than others. We show that levels of relevance and negotiability are not static but can change within existing relationships. Such changes, or biosocial events, lie at the heart of much unplanned biosocial novelty and much deliberate innovation. We illustrate and explore the concept through two examples; meningitis infection and epidemic, and the use of sonic ‘teen deterrents’ in urban settings. We then consider its value in developing sociological practice oriented to critically constructive engagement with innovation in the life sciences.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2012 The Authors
ISSN: 1469-8684
Keywords: biosocial; climate change; epidemic, event; innovation; life sciences; meningitis; Mosquito teen deterrent; sustainability; untimely
Academic Unit/Department: Social Sciences > Psychology in the Social Sciences
Social Sciences
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)
Related URLs:
  • (Other)
Item ID: 29627
Depositing User: Johanna Motzkau
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2012 15:11
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2016 02:43
Share this page:


Scopus Citations

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340