I am a cultural anthropologist and my teaching and research focus on science, medicine, and technology. I am especially interested in digital technologies, data ethics, and how people think about privacy and surveillance.
I conduct fieldwork in Sweden exploring how people live and work with data. My main project right now is an ethnographic study of how experts, professionals, and activists go about the ethical and pragmatic work of protecting and sharing personal data. This project compares the everyday work of people who produce privacy and security in Sweden with the protections offered in transnational data regulation. The aim of this research is to identify discrepancies between data law and data practice and to understand how people develop ethical relationships with data.
I also research and write about how behavioral economists see the world and the role of twins as scientific and medical research subjects.
Alison Cool is accepting graduate students for Fall of 2020
Selected Course Offerings:
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Politics of Data and Numbers, Cultures of Expertise, Ethnography of Scandinavia, Science Technology and Society
2016 “Detaching data from the state: Biobanking and building Big Data in Sweden,” BioSocieties, 11(3): 277-295.
2016 “Laboratories.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Anthropology. Ed. John L. Jackson. New York: Oxford University Press.
2015 “Agreeing Together: Comment on Alain Marciano’s Freedom, Choice, and Consent,” Homo Oeconomicus 32(2): 297-300.
2015 “Twin Astronauts: The Perfect Research Subjects,” Platypus, 15 September.
2014 “Twins, nature and nurture,” BioSocieties, 9(2), 225-227.
2014 “Scandinavia,” In Oxford Bibliographies in Anthropology. Ed. John L. Jackson, Jr. New York: Oxford University Press.