“For a sociologist more than any other thinker, to leave one’s thought in a state of unthought is to condemn oneself to be nothing more than the instrument of that which one claims to think.”
— Pierre Bourdieu in “The Practice of Reflexive Sociology” (1992)
My research is situated at the intersections of political sociology, economic sociology, and science and technology studies. More specifically, I am interested in the ways in which experts and expertise interact with the state amidst the backdrop of globalization and transnational flows of capital. Some questions that I tackle through my research include: How does scientific and technological expertise influence policymaking and statecraft? How do local and transnational networks sustain the workings of global science? How does globalization impact the ability of states and firms to attract experts and expertise?
1. Global Emergence of Precision Medicine and Genomics
Ever since the National Research Council’s 2011 report, Towards Precision Medicine, and the Obama administration’s announcement of the Precision Medicine Initiative in 2015, governments and organizations around the world have initiated various projects that deploys genomic information and other types of health-related “big data” to improve processes of medical diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. Since 2017, I have begun collecting interviews with researchers and biotech entrepreneurs associated with the emergent field, focused around Mainland China. This research is supported by a grant from the Precision Medicine and Society Program.
2. Encounters Between Biomedicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine
This project began in 2016 and is based off of 50 interviews with researchers in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. It attempts to trace the contours of the TCM field and the different types of boundary work deployed to separate and blur the boundaries between TCM and the biomedical sciences. In doing so, I identify the various scientific strategies that are associated with actors in this field. This research was made possible with grants from the Henry Luce Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Weatherhead East Asian Institute.