Domesticating and democratizing science: a geography of do-it-yourself biology

By turning private homes and community spaces into sites where biological experimentation can be carried out , do-it-yourself biology promises a democratization of science. This democratization is based upon material processes : efforts to increase the affordability, the accessibility and the mutability of scientific equipment can be observed. In particular, do-it-yourself biology relies on ‘creative workarounds’ around objects (to transform and combine them in novel ways) and around institutions (to circumvent established university – industry business linkages). By tinkering with objects and by sharing knowledge via various communicative devices – websites, blogs, wikis , forums, videos – do-it-yourself biologists aim to create a new, collective and open economy of scientific equipment and render biology more accessible to citizens. A distinct form of individuality is constituted by providing people access, transforming them into active makers of science, making their bodies/aliments more knowable and demonstrating that one can do it oneself . Do-it-yourself biology thus offers a site for exploring the ethics , the boundaries and new forms of sociability for biology.