Mianna Meskus

Mianna Meskus
Tampere University | UTA · Faculty of Social Sciences, Sociology

Associate Professor in Sociology

About

33
Publications
2,331
Reads
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149
Citations
Introduction
I work as Associate Professor in Sociology at University of Tampere. Finland. I have previously acted as a fixed-term university lecturer in Science and Technology Studies and Acdemy of Finland research fellow, at University of Helsinki. I have been a visiting research fellow at London School of Economics and Political Science, King’s College, London, and University of Cambridge. My work is grounded in sociology, science and technology studies, gender studies and medical anthropology.
Additional affiliations
September 2001 - present
University of Helsinki
Position
  • Academy Research Fellow

Publications

Publications (33)
Article
Full-text available
Scientists are developing a technique called in vitro gametogenesis or IVG to generate synthetic gametes for research and, potentially, for treating infertility. What would it mean for feminist concerns over the future of reproductive practice and biotechnological development if egg and sperm cells could be produced in laboratory conditions? In thi...
Article
Full-text available
Therapies and prophylactics using biologically derived materials such as cells, microbes or tissues are often portrayed as key to increased future health. This article investigates the material preconditions of such visions. Building on feminist new materialist approaches, it explores the embodied material encounters between biologicals administere...
Chapter
This chapter traces the political and economic expectations placed upon stem cell research in translating human stem cells from the laboratory to the clinic and to the pharmaceutical market. It shows how the biological material but also the scientific craftwork co-constituting the material needs to be adjusted to yield therapeutic and economic valu...
Chapter
This chapter examines embodied skill and affective engagement as the foundational part of knowledge production in stem cell science, essentially entangled with the responsive characteristics of the research material. It traces patterns of constitutive relations between researchers and their living tool, underscoring the labor-intensiveness of the i...
Chapter
This chapter discusses current tensions and unfolding complexities between translational and basic research and the implications to the craft of biomedical research by turning to stem cell researchers’ accounts and experiences on the “ethos” of translation. It also traces the effort to accelerate the clinical use of stem cells to two high-profile i...
Chapter
In this chapter, the focus is turned from the hypothetical and anticipatory perspective of stem cell-based clinical translation to the “realities” of laboratory life with human pluripotent stem cells. Here practical challenges of instrumentalizing the artificially created iPS cell lines and their volatile and fickle vitality become poignant. The ch...
Chapter
The concluding chapter summarizes the results of the study, links back to discussion on ethnographic methodology introduced in Chap. 1, and discusses the future of stem cell science in the age of bioindustrialization and large-scale cell banking. Given that biomedical craftwork lies at the heart of the material politics of research, it offers an en...
Chapter
This chapter brings in the final perspective to scientific craftwork, which is the role of patients as voluntary donors of original tissue. It explores how cell-based disease modelling ultimately lies with patients’ and healthy controls’ willingness to take part in biomedical research. This act of donation ties in the threads of clinical translatio...
Book
Full-text available
This book explores the new ways in which biology is becoming technology. The revolutionary iPS cell technology has made it possible to turn human skin and blood cells into pluripotent stem cells, thus providing an unprecedented opportunity to study the pathophysiology of diseases, understand human developmental biology, and generate new therapies....
Article
In early 2014, Dr Haruko Obokata and her co-authors caused a global media storm by publishing two scientific papers in Nature on stem cells. The papers proposed a surprisingly simple new method called stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) to generate pluripotent stem cells for research purposes in a fast and inexpensive way. To the...
Article
Full-text available
This article considers the notion of ‘the capable actor’, a prevalent figure in social theory which contemporary people in Western societies are expected to embrace. The question of agency is approached by looking at the phases of life in which people ‘fail’ to perform individual agentic capacities. The article draws on studies on biographical disr...
Article
Full-text available
This article explores the idea of agential multiplicity in medical treatment of childlessness. The analysis illustrates the kinds of agencies that emerge in the use of assisted reproductive technologies. The article begins with a discussion on feelings as participants in IVF treatment and as elements of women’s embodied experience. This is followed...
Article
Full-text available
Prenatal testing for congenital anomalies and genetic diseases is a recurring topic for social scientific research on biomedicine. In this research, the question of ethics is often examined in terms of discrepancies between abstract bioethical principles and individuals’ grounded experiences. This article aims to contribute to discussions of the et...
Article
Doctoral dissertation work in sociology examines how human heredity became a scientific, political and a personal issue in the 20th century Finland. The study focuses on the institutionalisation of rationales and technologies concerning heredity, in the context of Finnish medicine and health care. The analysis concentrates specifically on the intro...
Article
Full-text available
This article reports the findings of a study concerning the politicization of abortion in Finland in the first half of the 20th century. The focus is on discussions and debates in the legal and medical professions, 1900-1950, showing the historical transformation of abortion from a criminal act to a medical issue, legalized by the 1950 abortion law...
Article
Full-text available
Endast avhandlingens sammandrag. Pappersexemplaret av hela avhandlingen finns för läsesalsbruk i Statsvetenskapliga biblioteket (Unionsgatan 35). Dessa avhandlingar fjärrutlånas endast som microfiche. Abstract only. The paper copy of the whole thesis is available for reading room use at the Library of Social Sciences (Unioninkatu 35) . Microfiche c...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
The project investigates the management of gendered chronic illness at the intersection of three ongoing developments: the introduction of personalized or precision medicine, public plans for rationalizing treatment, and global disruptions in the availability of pharmaceuticals. We focus on three diseases, endometriosis, migraine and fibromyalgia, which are all characterized by episodes of pain and debated in terms of their link to gendered embodied processes, especially ones involving hormones. The three diseases shed crucial light on tensions in emerging biomedicine: as chronic pain is difficult to standardize, it falls outside the logic of both precision medicine and rationalization, while pharmaceutical products used in its prevention may not be seen as ”essential drugs”, and are thus affected by drug shortages. We approach the management of gendered chronic disease through four sites: 1) patient organizations and activism, 2) patient-clinician encounters where individual treatment plans are negotiated, 3) public health governance of gendered chronic diseases, including both rationalization plans and approval of new and repurposed drugs, and 4) biomedical research on causative mechanisms and search for new therapies. The project also theorizes chronic pain as an embodied, intersectional phenomenon and explores the temporality of chronicity through questions of age. We have received a 4-year grant from the Academy of Finland as well as a 4-year grant from Kone Foundation.
Project
Reproductive futures is a project that aims to increase research on and diversify public discussion about reproduction and the apparent paradoxes of reproductive futures. We will focus on the paradoxes of reproductive futures by bringing together leading researchers and perspectives from the fields of – for example – bioethics, demography, gender studies, history and cultural sciences, science and technology studies, sociology, and legal studies. We will also advance dialogue between researchers, NGOs, politicians and journalists.
Project
My current research project (RESTEM, 2015-2020) explores human enhancement through biomedical technologies, aimed to transform and manage reproduction and aging on the level of biological processes. Since experimental biomedicine is increasingly enrolled in the production of therapeutic and commercial value, this project analyses scientific, regulatory and patient perceptions of the benefits and risks of this development. The project is funded by the Academy of Finland.