1. ESRC Genomics Network (archive)
  2. Gengage
  3. The Human Genre Project

Cesagen · Research

Imaginaries: Mapping the conceptual terrain of STS’s uses of the concept

Maureen McNeil, Joan Haran, Michael Arribas-Ayllon, Adrian Mackenzie, Larry Reyn

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This collective project entails an exploration of the concept of the imaginaries, including its etymology, a mapping of its use within STS, an analysis of the variations in its meanings and connotations, with some reflections about the significance of its recent use within this interdisciplinary field.


This multi-dimensional project is designed to provide a guide to the range of uses of this increasingly important term within STS and to highlight the variations in the forms of conceptualisation around it. The authors hope to encourage debate within STS about this concept: to generate more awareness of its genealogy and to pose some critical questions about its use.


This study involves genealogical investigations, documentation and mapping exercises, some linguistic and etymological research, as well as textual and conceptual analyses.


We have identified six key strands in the conceptualising of imaginaries—science fictional, psychoanalytic, anthropological/ethnographic, socio-political/institutional, symbolic interactionist, feminist. We are particularly interested in the relative neglect of science fictional and psychoanalytic approaches as resources for STS research.

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