Marc Geddes, Co-Director of SKAPE, explores how MPs and officials interpret the idea of ‘evidence’ as part of their committee scrutiny in the UK House of Commons. In this blog, Geddes notes the legalistic setting in which ‘evidence’ is gathered, how this echoes similar notions found in courtrooms, and reminds us of the political nature of ‘evidence’ in policy settings.
From the beginning of this crisis, we have witnessed a growing importance of the questions of the role of science, knowledge and expertise in politics and society. As the SKAPE community, we have been exploring these themes from multiple perspectives for nearly a decade and during this challenging time, we would like to open up a discussion on potential impacts of COVID-19 on this field and offer a space for scholars working in different disciplines to engage in a debate. In this blog, we identify seven questions that emerge in this new reality and explain them in the UK context – though we are aware that our themes are not comprehensive nor that the UK is alone in this pandemic.
The use of biological ideas and techniques in the study of mental ill-health and the practice of psychiatry is nothing new. But just because it isn’t new doesn’t mean that’s the only thing that’s going on in research and in the clinic: many other notions (psychological, sociological, and so on) interpolate with somatic emphases in psychiatry.