What we want to point out is that this collaboration was important for the humanities and social sciences to become a part of XTP research. It also gave the XTP researchers tools for talking about a holistic perspective, as Bo Samuelsson calls it, or intuition, as Håkan Widner says. At the same time as the scientists from the humanities and social sciences were invited to the projects, an equally important aspect was to convey facts to the XTP researchers.
Anders Persson: ―There was a French researcher who was close to clinical trials. He wanted to replace a trachea on a small child and this trachea had been grown in a mouse stomach. But because of the risk of infection and the debate that followed, it was stopped. He really wanted to start. He even wanted to do this against the hospital‘s wishes. This was his workday – to see these children die. Because there was nothing to do, this was a last resort.‖
Kristofer Hansson: ―But how were you and Stellan advice-givers?‖
Anders Persson: ―Above all it was our ethical competence that was requested. When can we start, when is it right to step in and do this? These types of questions, what would the ethicists say? It was pretty broad, you could say, many different issues. But most revolved around this: When can we get started, when is it ethically correct, which patients should we focus on and so forth.‖
In summary, the ethical competence which developed during the course of the XTP project were valuable to the XTP researchers. We think this was crucial in a period where there were no obvious guidelines to follow; instead, XTP researchers were compelled to start a discussion to find new guidelines. This is also something that Susanne Lundin mentions in the interview.
Susanne Lundin: ―I presented for the research groups and there was good collaboration with them in Stockholm and in Lund. An understanding from both sides, an understanding of this irrational opinion that the public can have, an understanding of me as a cultural researcher, an understanding that you sometimes have to distance yourself and just watch what happens in the lab and so on. It has been built on a lot since then, to take this interdisciplinary approach seriously, trying to understand each other.‖
What the interviews reveal is how an understanding of the different perspectives grew among these researchers from different fields. This strengthened the ties between the natural sciences and the humanities and social sciences.
There were no more clinical trials in the 1990s and the PERV virus created an ethical dilemma that the scientists from the humanities and social sciences couldn‘t handle, so a new policy process started in a parliamentarian committee (which we will describe more specifically in the next chapter). For this reason, it is hard to pinpoint specific policy changes from the work that Stellan Welin, Anders Persson and Susanne Lundin did in their different projects. But the scientists from the humanities and social sciences had an impact on different levels in the 1990s, which becomes visible in the interview with Susanne Lundin.
Kristofer Hansson:‖ How do you think you influenced with your ethnological knowledge?‖
Susanne Lundin: ―Looking at the Swedish Gene Technology Advisory Board, or the Nordic Council of Ministers, where I have been a member, I think there has been an impact. Take for example the Swedish Gene Technology Advisory Board. When I started there, they only focused on ethics. If there was anything that was not hard data, it was ethics. This has been replaced, more and more, with a cultural studies perspective, and today they bring in anthropologists and social scientists in a completely different way.‖
The researchers from the humanities and social sciences seem to have an impact on different levels of society, not only affecting specific medical research groups but also different committees. In the example that Susanne Lundin refers to, she has not only initiated a cultural competition, but she also demonstrates the importance of the academic fields of, for example, ethnology, anthropology and social science. Once again, it is hard to say more precisely what impact there has been on policy processes. What we can say is that there does not seem to be much impact on the XTP committee. The members of the committee were interested in the articles Stellan Welin, Anders Persson and Susanne Lundin had written, and the articles are referred to and discussed in the report. None of them were experts on the committee.
Going back to Bruno Latour once again, we want to emphasise that the scientists from the humanities and social sciences were, from their own profession, fact-builders (Latour, 1987b). In different contexts, they built their own facts on how to relate to XTP and XTP research. They were also a part of the XTP research teams and mediated these facts on different levels, which, we assume, had an impact on how the XTP researchers acted. Their involvement on different committees was significant, but this was not the only field where they mediated their knowledge; the media was also an important arena for these scientists.
As we pointed out in earlier articles, the scientists from the humanities and social sciences wrote their own articles for the newspapers (Hansson, 2003). Journalists also often contacted them for comments on XTP. In addition, this group saw that they had a task in the community informing the public about these technologies. Susanne Lundin says:
Susanne Lundin: ―What happens when you have this mandate, which we cultural researchers have, is that there is always a demand from the media.
So the media notices you and the media is a third party in this context. I became involved in the media via many discussions with doctors or politicians on the radio and TV.‖
For the humanists and social scientists, it was essential not only to produce facts for the XTP researchers, but also to inform the public about their findings. Thus, they became a link between XTP research and the public by being interviewed or writing their own articles. At the same time, and this is a criticism of the media, many times the humanists and social scientists were expected to tell funny anecdotes about how people related to XTP (c.f.
Hansson 2003). For example, that people thought they would develop animal characteristics if they received animal cells or organs in their bodies. Journalists never asked XTP researchers such questions . There were also questions that resulted in other, perhaps more important, issues not being discussed in the media. For example, the journalists never asked about what role the animals would have in a future XTP society.
At the same time, there were arenas where the social scientists could present their own arguments. One was in their own articles in the media; other arenas included oral presentations to the public, sometimes in collaboration with the XTP researchers. Professor Stellan Welin contributed at the Science Festival that was held in Gothenburg and other contexts where the public were present. He says: “Mostly we were at the Science Festival at Chalmers [University of Technology in Gothenburg], where they had Science Days each year for the students”. This was how the researchers reached out to the public with their knowledge about XTP. What is crucial to note in this context is that none of the three scientists interviewed had any intention of creating public opinion about XTP; they simply saw it as their task to inform the public about their knowledge.