Lab Coat: Robe of Innocence or Klansman's Sheet?

Bleier, Ruth

Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction

Genre: Criticism

Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela
  • Date of entry: Aug-05-1994


Bleier uses the image of a lab coat as a basis to discuss the objective status of science. Is the white lab coat a symbol of purity, of aseptic neutrality, in which the scientist is wrapped? Or does it give the scientist a faceless authority that cannot be challenged? Bleier believes that our conception of science must be changed. It is not enough to simply clear androcentric bias. Scientists must recognize the values and beliefs that inform their work, rather than assuming they work in an apolitical, asocial vacuum. Scientists should commit themselves to human values.


Bleier's argument is persuasive. One limitation is her disregard for determining which values and beliefs should motivate scientists. Surely it is not enough that the politics of science be "recognized." Some politics are better than others. Still, her argument is worth making. Ethics and politics are a part of science.

Primary Source

Feminist Studies/Critical Studies


Indiana Univ. Press

Place Published





Teresa de Lauretis