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Organizing for ontological change: The kernel of an AIDS research infrastructure.

Ribes, David; Polk, Jessica Beth.
Soc Stud Sci ; 45(2): 214-41, 2015 Apr.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26477206
Is it possible to prepare and plan for emergent and changing objects of research? Members of the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study have been investigating AIDS for over 30 years, and in that time, the disease has been repeatedly transformed. Over the years and across many changes, members have continued to study HIV disease while in the process regenerating an adaptable research organization. The key to sustaining this technoscientific flexibility has been what we call the kernel of a research infrastructure ongoing efforts to maintain the availability of resources and services that may be brought to bear in the investigation of new objects. In the case of the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study, these resources are as follows specimens and data, calibrated instruments, heterogeneous experts, and participating cohorts of gay and bisexual men. We track three ontological transformations, examining how members prepared for and responded to changes the discovery of a novel retroviral agent (HIV), the ability to test for that agent, and the transition of the disease from fatal to chronic through pharmaceutical intervention. Respectively, we call the work, 'technologies', and techniques of adapting to these changes, 'repurposing', 'elaborating', and 'extending the kernel'.