(Not) Knowing and (Not) Caring About Animal Research

An Analysis of Writing From the Mass Observation Project


  • Renelle McGlacken University of Nottingham


Animal research remains a practice marked by controversy and moral dilemma. However, UK science-society dialogues on the issue are increasingly managed via one-way transmissions of information which construct publics as passive and attribute their concerns to a lack of ‘correct’ knowledge. Challenging such assumptions, this paper questions how and why people actively manage their interactions with animal research through entangled practices of knowing and caring. Based on an analysis of writing from the UK Mass Observation Project, this paper explores difficulties and discomforts associated with animal research which can cause strategic withdrawals from engagements with the topic. In doing so, it extends existing concepts of ‘uncomfortable knowledge’ (Rayner) and ‘strategic ignorance’ (McGoey) to develop novel concepts of ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘strategic’ care. Finally, in examining desires to respond to animal research, I engage with Haraway’s notion of ‘response-ability’ to introduce the concepts of ‘responsive caring’ and ‘responsive knowing’


Download data is not yet available.
Research Papers


2021-10-11 — Updated on 2022-09-15


How to Cite

McGlacken, R. (2022) “(Not) Knowing and (Not) Caring About Animal Research: An Analysis of Writing From the Mass Observation Project”, Science & Technology Studies, 35(3), pp. 2–20. doi: 10.23987/sts.102496.