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Understanding Systems Biology: A Place for Social Science Analysis

  • Regine KollekEmail author
  • Imme Petersen
  • Anne Brüninghaus
  • Martin Döring

Abstract

Systems biology is a new approach in the life sciences aiming at a more holistic understanding of biological entities. Developing out of the shortcomings of molecular biology in explaining complex and dynamic features of living systems, it can have far-reaching implications for science and society, as well as for our understanding of life. In order to understand the potentials and impacts of systems biology, a broad analysis of this new approach was undertaken from the social and cultural studies of science perspective, the results of which are laid down in this book. This chapter introduces the subject and our research concept and outlines the scope and the aims of the book. The first section describes the rise of systems biology, its definitions and main aims. In a second step the conceptual approach of our analysis is laid out. We introduce the concept of context and context analysis and outline the cultural, practice-related, and societal environments, which were considered in our exploration of systems biology. The second section first describes the methodical approaches applied in our study before it depicts the goals and hypotheses of this book and provides a short synopsis of the following chapters.

Keywords

Systems biology Context Social and cultural analysis of science Philosophy of science Holism Implications for science and society 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Regine Kollek
    • 1
    Email author
  • Imme Petersen
    • 1
  • Anne Brüninghaus
    • 1
  • Martin Döring
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Centre for Biotechnology, Society and Environment (FSP BIOGUM)University of HamburgHamburgGermany

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