Monday 10th December – 1-2pm – Seminar Room, Byrne House

Rachel Ankeny will be leading the session which will be based on a paper which grew out of collaboration with Sabina Leonelli, the historian Ed Ramsden and the sociologist Nicole Nelson. Currently under review, Rachel and Sabina look forward to comments so as to incorporate them into the final version of the paper when they work on it again. This paper can be obtained by emailing Jim Lowe at jwel201 [at] As this is a work in progress, please do not pass it on without Rachel and Sabina’s express permission.

Below is the abstract for this paper:

We examine the criteria used to validate the use of animals as experimental organisms in alcohol addiction research. Through an analysis of the history and current state of experiments on alcoholism, we demonstrate that these criteria have been and continue to be hotly debated; yet these debates do not hinge on the standardization of one type of organism in isolation, as is often the case with genetic model organisms. Rather, model validity is assessed with reference to the environment in which organisms are studied. The experimental organism is viewed as necessarily situated: it cannot be understood in isolation from its environment, since it is constantly responding to environmental stimuli and the material conditions in which it finds itself. Hence the environment is an essential part of modeling behaviors such as addiction, and clear criteria must exist for the environmental conditions under which an experimental set-up can be argued to represent humans.

For further information about this session or BIG in general, please contact me at the above email address and/or Sabina Leonelli at S.Leonelli [at]


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