Dr Javier Lezaun

Javier Lezaun

Javier Lezaun is Associate Professor in the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, Director of the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, and Governing Body Fellow at Kellogg College.

Javier joined the Oxford faculty in 2008, after stints at the London School of Economics and Amherst College. He received a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from Cornell University.


Email: javier.lezaun@insis.ox.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1865 288943 


Teaching and research interests

Javier’s research focuses on the intersection of science and politics. Most of his current work focuses on scientific and political change in the context of global health interventions, specifically those targeting mosquito-borne diseases. This work includes ethnographic investigations into the work of entomologists and the impact of urban mosquito control programmes, as well as research on the governance of transgenic and gene drive technologies for the suppression of insect vectors.

Javier is currently co-PI of the project Acting in an uncertain world: Mapping public health responses to the Zika epidemic in Brazil, in collaboration with colleagues at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz). The project, funded by the British Council’s Newton Fund, examines the evolution of public policy and scientific research in response to the outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil in 2015.

At InSIS Javier also directs the programme Changing Ecologies of Knowledge and Action (CEKA), which explores the potential of citizen science and DIY communities in tackling medical and environmental challenges. This includes experimenting with open hardware approaches for the development of laboratory equipment in low-income countries and other under-resourced research settings.

Between 2010 and 2014 Javier directed the programme BioProperty: Biomedical Research and the Future of Property Rights. Funded by a Starting Grant from the European Research Council, BioProperty explored patterns of exchange and appropriation in the contemporary life sciences. This line of work continues, with ongoing research on organizational transformations in malaria drug discovery, and policy work on the adoption of open source principles in pharmaceutical R&D.

In addition to his work on the life sciences and global health, Javier is involved in current research at InSIS on the potential role of geoengineering and negative emissions technologies to tackle climate change. This includes the development of new formats of consultation and deliberation on the acceptability of climate technologies (see here and here), part of a broader interest in the experimentalization of publics and political action.

Javier is a member of the editorial boards of the journals Social Studies of Science and Science as Culture. He also sits on the advisory boards of the journals Valuation Studies; Demonstrations: Journal for Experiments in Social Studies of Technology; Revista de Dialectologia y Tradiciones Populares; and Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society. He is also a member of the editorial collective for Somatosphere, an online platform exploring the intersections of anthropology and science and technology studies.

In addition to his responsibilities at InSIS, the School of Anthropology, and Kellogg College, Javier is a member of the Management Committee of the Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre, a Research Associate at the LSE’s Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation, and an Associate Member of the Centre for Invention and Social Process at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Teaching and Doctoral Supervision

Javier is currently teaching the option course Introduction to Science and Technology Studies, as well as occasional lectures in Medical Anthropology and Human Sciences.

Javier is currently supervising doctoral projects on CRISPR-based innovation, the social-scientific implications of epigenetics, and evolving cultural norms at the European Commission. He welcomes new doctoral students.


Austin Argentieri
Christiaan de Konig
Seamus Montgomery


Articles in peer-reviewed journals

Kelly, A. H., and Lezaun, J. (2017). The Wild Indoors: Room-Spaces of Scientific Inquiry. Cultural Anthropology, 32(3), 367-398.

Lezaun, J. and Muniesa, F. (2017). Twilight in the leadership playground: subrealism and the training of the business self. Journal of Cultural Economy 10(3): 265-279.

Bellamy, R., Lezaun, J., and Palmer, J. (2017). Public perceptions of geoengineering research governance: An experimental deliberative approach. Global Environmental Change. 45: 194-202.

Bellamy, R., and Lezaun, J. (2017). Crafting a Public for Geoengineering. Public Understanding of Science, 26(4), 402-417.

De Campos, A.S., Hartley, S., de Koning, C., Lezaun, J., and Velho, L. (2017). Responsible Innovation and political accountability: genetically modified mosquitoes in Brazil. Journal of Responsible Innovation.

Schneider, T., Eli, K., McLennan, A., Dolan, C., Lezaun, J., and Ulijaszek, S. (2017). Governance by campaign: the co-constitution of food issues, publics and expertise through new information and communication technologies. Information, Communication & Society, 1-21.

Lezaun, J. and Montgomery, C. (2015) The pharmaceutical commons: Sharing and exclusion in global health drug development. Science, Technology & Human Values, 40(1), 3-29.

Lezaun, J. and Porter, N. Containment or competition: Transgenic animals in the One Health agenda. Social Science and Medicine. 129:96-105

Woolgar, S. and Lezaun, J. (2015) Missing the (question) mark? What is a turn to ontology?. Social Studies of Science. 1-6

Kelly, A. and Lezaun, J. (2014) Urban mosquitoes, situational publics, and the pursuit of interspecies separation in Dar es SalaamAmerican Ethnologist, 41 (2), 368–383.

Lezaun, J. and Calvillo, N. (2013) In the political laboratory: Kurt Lewin’s “Atmospheres”. Journal of Cultural Economy

Woolgar, S. and Lezaun, J. (2013) The wrong bin bag: a turn to ontology in science and technology studies? Social Studies of Science, 43(3), 321-340.

Lezaun, J. and Kelly, A. (2013) Walking or waiting? Topologies of the breeding ground in malaria control. Science as Culture, 22(1), 86-107.

Lezaun, J., Muniesa, F. and Vikkelsø, S. (2013) Provocative containment and the drift of social-scientific realism. Journal of Cultural Economy, 6(4).

Lezaun, J. (2012) The pragmatic sanction of materials: notes for an ethnography of legal substancesJournal of Law and Society 39(1): 20-38.

Lezaun, J. and Schneider, T. (2012) Endless qualifications, restless consumption: the governance of novel foods in Europe. Science as Culture (forthcoming).

Lezaun, J. (2011) Offshore democracy: launch and landfall of a socio-technical experiment. Economy and Society 40(4): 553-581.

Marres, N. and Lezaun, J. (2011)  Materials and devices of the public: an introduction. Economy and Society 40(4): 489-509.

Lezaun, J. (2011) Bees, beekeepers and bureaucrats: parasitism and the politics of transgenic life. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 29(4): 738–756.

Lezaun, J. (2010) Eloquence and incommensurability: an investigation into the grammar of irreconcilable differences.Social Studies of Science 40(3): 349-375.

Lezaun, J. (2008) Self-contained bioethics and the politics of prohibition. Law, Culture and the Humanities 4(3): 323–338.

Lezaun, J. (2007) A market of opinions: the political epistemology of focus groups. Sociological Review 55(2): 130-151 [Also published in M. Callon, Y. Millo and F.Muniesa (eds.) Market Devices. Oxford: Blackwell, 2007.].

Lezaun, J. and Soneryd, L. (2007) Consulting citizens: technologies of elicitation and he mobility of publics. Public Understanding of Science 16(3): 279-297.

Lezaun, J. (2006) Creating a new object of government: making genetically modified organisms traceable. Social Studies of Science 36(4): 499-531.

Lezaun, J. and Groenleer, M. (2006) Food control emergencies and the territorialization of the European Union.  Journal of European Integration 28(5): 437-455.

Lezaun, J. and Millo, Y. (2006) Regulatory experiments: GM crops and financial derivatives on trial. Science and Public Policy 33(3): 179-190

Edited books

Bountra, C., Lee, WenHwa, and Lezaun, J. (2017). A New Pharmaceutical Commons: Transforming Drug Discovery. Oxford: Oxford Martin School.

Lezaun, J. and Sarat, A. (eds.) (2009) Catastrophe: Law, politics and the humanitarian impulse. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2009.

Book chapters

Lezaun, J. (2018). The Public’s Two Bodies: Food Activism in Digital Media. In Schneider, T., Eli, K., Dolan, C., and Ulijaszek, S. (Eds.). Digital Food Activism. London: Routledge.

Lezaun, J. (2017). Actor-Network Theory. In C. Benzecry, M. Krause and I. Reed (eds.) Social Theory Now. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 305-336.

Barandiaran, X. and Lezaun, J. (2017) The Mondragon Experience. In: J Michie et al (ed) Oxford Handbook of Co-operative and Mutual Business. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lezaun, J.,Marres, N., and Tironi, M. (2016) Experiments in Participation. In: Clark et al (eds.) The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, 4th Edition. Cambridge,MA: The MIT Press.

Lezaun, J. (2013) The ergonomics of democracy. In: K. Cupers (ed.) User matters: an alternative history of architecture. London: Routledge.

Rubio, F. D. and Lezaun, J. (2011) Technology, legal knowledge and citizenship: on the care of Locked-in Syndrome patients. In: P. Baert and F.D. Rubio (eds.) The politics of knowledge. London: Routledge, 2011, 58-78.

Lezaun, J. (2010) Bioethics and the risk regulation of 'frontier research': the case of gene therapy. In: B. Hutter (ed.) Anticipating risk and organising risk regulation. Cambridge University Press, 2010, 208-230.

Reviews and Commentaries

Lezaun, J. (2015) Speculative Markets: Drug Circuits and Derivative Life in Nigeria, by Kristin Peterson, Somatosphere

Lezaun, J. (2015) Democracy in America 3D. Journal of Cultural Economy.

Lezaun, J. (2013) The escalating politics of 'Big Biology'. BioSocieties, 8, 480-485.


Lezaun, J. (2014) Iconoclasm in the supermarket. Limn, Issue 4.

List of site pages