Chasing science: Children's brains, scientific inquiries, and family labors

Rayna Rapp

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Over the last three decades, an escalating portion of U.S. school children has been classified for special education; those with diagnoses entitled to services now number 15 percent of all public school pupils. At the same time, American scientists have focused increasingly on juvenile brains, studying what one psychiatric epidemiologist labeled "social incapacities." This article reports on the laboratory labors of two scientific groups: neuroscientists who scan children's brains in search of resting state differences according to diagnosis and psychiatric epidemiologists who look to epigenetics to distinguish differential diagnostic populations. The article focuses on the medicalization of childhood differences and the harmonies and discordances between what researchers and parents understand to be at the root of children's learning and social capacities.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)662-684
    Number of pages23
    JournalScience Technology and Human Values
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - Sep 2011


    • children's brains
    • epigenetics
    • ethnography of science
    • neuroscience

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Anthropology
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Philosophy
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Human-Computer Interaction


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