“Get Your Swabs Out of My Face!” Or “Why Not, It’s Just a Swab”: Americans’ Optimism and Pessimism about Scientific Innovation
Abstract:When and why is the public receptive, or hostile, to scientific innovations – and which members of “the public” hold which views? We seek to answer those questions by using a public opinion survey to examine responses of residents of the United States to medical and forensic biobanks. The latter are highly institutionalized and well known; the former are private, scattered, and virtually invisible. By comparing views of the two kinds of biobanks, we can determine 1) the impact of institutionalization on opinions, 2) associations of this new technology with partisanship, ideology, and ethnicity, and 3) the explanatory power of knowledge, self-interest, religion, and trust in making sense of opinions. We conclude with reflections on the ways that genomic science may upend conventional understandings of liberal progressivism and conservative caution.
Speaker:Jennifer L. Hochschild is the Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.
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