AHP readers may be interested in a new open-access piece in Science, Technology & Human Values: “A Science of Hope? Tracing Emergent Entanglements between the Biology of Early Life Adversity, Trauma-informed Care, and Restorative Justice,” by Ruth Müller, Martha Kenney. Abstract:
The biology of early life adversity explores how social experiences early in life affect physical and psychological health and well-being throughout the life course. In our previous work, we argued that narratives emerging from and about this research field tend to focus on harm and lasting damage with little discussion of reversibility and resilience. However, as the Science and Technology Studies literature has demonstrated, scientific research can be actively taken up and transformed as it moves through social worlds. Drawing on fieldwork with actors in education and juvenile corrections in the US Pacific Northwest, we found that they employed the biology of early life adversity not only to promote prevention but also to argue for changes within their own institutions that would allow them to better serve children and youth who have experienced adversity and trauma. Our study shows that biosocial narratives are neither inherently liberatory nor inherently oppressive but that the situated narrative choreographies in which they are enrolled are essential for their political effects. In our case, we show how these biosocial narratives have been articulated with knowledge and practices from restorative justice and trauma-informed care to reimagine the social meaning of the biology of early life adversity.