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Social epigenetics: a science of social science?

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journal contribution
posted on 04.02.2016, 10:25 by Emma Chung, John Cromby, Dimitris Papadopoulos, Cristina Tufarelli
Epigenetics has considerable potential to transform social science by embedding mutually regulative reciprocal connections between biological and social processes within the human activities it studies. This paper highlights common epigenetic methods and outlines practical considerations in the design of ‘social epigenetics’ research addressing the identification of biomolecular pathways, statistical inference of causality, conceptualization of the environment as a biochemical event, heritability of epigenetic alterations and intergenerational accountability, and concept of time implied by attempts to capture complex, non-linear gene-environment interactions. Finally, we reflect on the social epigenome as a conceptual space and try to identify barriers to translation, and practical and ethical issues raised by epigenetics research. In order for social epigenetics and social science to contribute to the emergence of this putative ‘science of social science’ and to capture meaningful human experience they will both need to change significantly.

History

Citation

The Sociological Review, 2016, Volume 64, Sociological Review Monograph Series: Biosocial Matters: Rethinking Sociology-Biology Relations in the Twenty-First Century Pages 168–185

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/School of Management

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

The Sociological Review

Publisher

Wiley

issn

0038-0261

eissn

1467-954X

Acceptance date

05/10/2015

Copyright date

2016

Available date

21/04/2017

Publisher version

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2059-7932.12019/abstract

Notes

The file associated with this record is under a 12-month embargo from publication in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.

Language

en