Contagion and Capaciousness: The Shifting Worlds of Living Models

By: Gary Genosko


Volume: 07
Issue: 01:2021
ISSN: 2459-2943
DOI: 10.18680/hss.2021.0008
Pages: 131-140
Lic.: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
Living mouse models
Dirty models
Affect theory
Agency, intentionality



Today, most models are computer-generated simulations of some kind. However, there is a vast world of living models that serve the biomedical industries. Mouse models are discussed here, but in the context of the questions they raise about agency. Living models, it is maintained, can have abundant relations with their laboratory worlds, that is, they have a capaciousness that may be enhanced by processes of dirtying and wilding. The controlled introduction of contagions allows for living models to get messy in a productive way, expanding their lifeworlds as well as those of their handlers. Configurational enunciations of lively assemblages are detailed in terms of more robust microbial encounters, as well as the affective attunements and attachments of the dirty mice initiative in biomedical laboratories.


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