The long hard road to the doability of interdisciplinary research projects: the case of biosocial criminology

This paper combines Bourdieu’s Field Theory with the concept of “doability” to investigate an interdisciplinary scientific project, namely biosocial criminology. Biosocial criminologists seek to incorporate genetic and neuroscientific findings in criminology. Drawing on literature analysis and semi-structured interviews, I show how the doability of this interdisciplinary research project, which is mainly determined by considerations surrounding data and technologies, is a function of biosocial researchers’ position within the scientific field. This is made apparent at two different levels. First, the availability of genetic data, which is attributable to behavior geneticists’ “generosity” and inter-field exchanges, largely explains why biosocial criminologists mostly focused on genetic factors of crime and neglected neuroscience, a more costly area of endeavor. Second, the problem of doability prevents biosocial criminologists from performing any kind of genetic research. Because behavior geneticists’ generosity has its limits too, biosocial criminologists cannot resort to the most advanced methodological designs.

This content has been updated on 5 November 2019 at 15 h 00 min.