Egenis, the Centre for the Study of Life Sciences, is based at Exeter, under the directorship of Professor John Dupré. We have a strongly interdisciplinary culture, encompassing a range of perspectives from social science, biology, and philosophy.

We have a vibrant and growing postgraduate student community, undertaking research in all areas, and supported by expert supervision. See our postgraduate pages.

Our research

Our research is avowedly interdisciplinary in nature, integrating Sociology, Anthropology and Philosophy together with Science and Technology Studies. Each of these intellectual domains has flexible and porous boundaries, with ideas and activities originating primarily from one flowing into the others. All our staff routinely operate in interdisciplinary ways, from how their teaching is structured and presented, through to which topics, methods and conceptualizations are deployed in their research.

At the core of all activities is a unifying commitment to using and extending advanced social theory. This commitment in turn animates all the forms of empirical inquiry undertaken in our research. The theoretical, methodological and empirical aspects of social science are thoroughly intertwined in all we do.

Our environment is unique in that the fusion of subjects allows for both highly philosophically-literate social analysis on the one hand, and methodologically rigorous applied and empirical social philosophy on the other. Our sociologists draw upon sophisticated philosophical paradigms, while our philosophers operate in a sociological register. Likewise, there is a productive fusion of anthropology with both sociology and philosophy, leading to the construction of cross-over research domains such as the field of music, aesthetics and cognition, which researchers with diverse disciplinary trainings pursue together.

The three main research clusters are:

Many staff are involved in more than one cluster, and ideas and findings from each domain routinely inform the others. More specific areas of investigation include:

  • Philosophy of science
  • Genetics and biological science
  • Science policy
  • Health and health technologies
  • Disabilities
  • Cultures of warfare
  • Security and insecurity
  • Cognition, embodiment and consciousness
  • The sociology of art, aesthetics and music
  • The sociology and anthropology of sound
  • Human-animal relations
  • Social critique

We are very active in UK, European and  global scholarly activities. Members of staff are initiators or members of a wide range of scholarly networks, encompassing both those run by and for professional organisations (e.g. the European Sociological Association), and funded by leading funding bodies, such as ESRC, AHRC and the Leverhulme Trust. We also regularly undertake review work, for scholarly journals and for funding bodies; for example, a significant proportion of staff are members of the ESRC’s Peer Review College.

Our research is guided and supported by the University’s Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS) Research strategy, which is aimed at augmenting research capacity in areas such as Science, Technology and Culture; Societal and Lifestyle Shifts; Environment and Sustainability; Global Uncertainties; Medical Humanities; and Identities and Beliefs. Staff in SPA contribute to all of these themes through their broad portfolio of research projects.

We also have strong links to research and teaching in other parts of the University,  including the Medical School (research on genetics, health and health technologies, and teaching within the Medical Humanities programme), the Law School, Politics, and the University’s new flagship Strategy and Security Institute (research on the changing nature of war, and the regulation of weapons).

We have a vibrant and growing postgraduate student community, undertaking research in all of the areas mentioned above, and supported by expert supervision. More information on our postgraduate pages.

We also have an excellent reputation for undergraduate teaching. More information for prospective undergraduate students in Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology degrees.