Beth Kewell

Dr Beth Kewell

Research Felllow



Dr. Beth Kewell is a Research Fellow at Surrey University Business School's Centre for the Digital Economy (CoDE), where she specialises in interpretative research, positioned at the boundary of innovation management, Science and Technology Studies (STS) and the qualitative exploration of uncertainty and risk. In relation to the latter, Beth has formerly published articles and given talks about the role played by risk expertise in science and society. In 2014, Beth co-authored a research monograph about the intellectual history of risk science entitled Risk: A Study of Its Origins, History and Politics (with Matthias Beck). Beth's current activities for CoDE focus on the promissory nature of blockchain technology and related innovations.

My publications


Morrison M, Hogarth S, Kewell EJ (2013) Biocapital and Innovation Paths: The Exploitation of Regenerative Medicine, In: Webster A (eds.), The Global Dynamics of Regenerative Medicine: A Social Science Critique2 Palgrave Macmillan UK
Kewell EJ, Beck M (2011) Regenerative Medicine and New Labour Life Science Policy: Rhetoric?s of Success, Narratives of Sustainability and Survival, Prometheus: critical studies in innovation29(2)pp. 105-119 Taylor & Francis
Advances in stem cell science and tissue engineering are being turned into applications and products through a novel medical paradigm known as regenerative medicine. This paper begins by examining the vulnerabilities and risks encountered by the regenerative medicine industry during a pivotal moment in its scientific infancy: the 2000s. Under the auspices of New Labour, British medical scientists and life science innovation firms associated with regenerative medicine, received demonstrative rhetorical pledges of support, aligned with the publication of a number of government initiated reports presaged by Bioscience 2015: Improving National Health, Increasing National Wealth. The Department of Health and the Department of Trade and Industry (and its successors) held industry consultations to determine the best means by which innovative bioscience cultures might be promoted and sustained in Britain. Bioscience 2015 encapsulates the first chapter of this sustainability narrative. By 2009, the tone of this storyline had changed to one of survivability. In the second part of the paper, we explore the ministerial interpretation of the ?bioscience discussion cycle? that embodies this narrative of expectation, using a computer-aided content analysis programme. Our analysis notes that the ministerial interpretation of these reports has continued to place key emphasis upon the distinctive and exceptional characteristics of the life science industries, such as their ability to perpetuate innovations in regenerative medicine and the optimism this portends ? even though many of the economic expectations associated with this industry have remained unfulfilled.
Kewell EJ, Robson-Brown K, Webster A, Halls P (2011) Stakeholder Responses to Regulatory Reform: Evaluating Governance Changes with the Field of Human Tissue Regulation, Journal of Risk and Governance2(1)pp. 27-43 Nova Science Publishers
The United Kingdom's plethora of laws and regulations governing the procurement, handling, storage and disposal of human body tissue underwent significant reform in the 2000s. This research briefing note describes a 'model study' for investigating the impact of these changes across a field of regulation that incorporates museums and anatomy collections, bioscience establishments, universities, and hospitals; and is thus largely distinguished by patterns of sectoral and stakeholder heterogeneity. It is postulated within our discussion that one way of accounting for stakeholder heterogeneity in regulatory research may be to combine Locock and Dopson's (1999) conception of 'HQ' governance with Bourdieusian correlations of 'field dynamics'.
Kewell Elizabeth, Adams Richard, Parry G (2017) Blockchain for Good?,Strategic Change26(5)pp. 429-437 Wiley
The blockchain innovation appears to represent viable catalysts for achieving global sustainable development targets. Projects and initiatives seeking to extend the reach of distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) seem mostly intended for the benefit of for-profit businesses, governments, and consumers. DLT projects devised for the public good could aim, in theory, to fulfill the United Nation?s current sustainable development goals. Blockchain technology is being applied in ways that could transform this ambition for good into a practical reality.
Beck M, Kewell B (2014) Risk A Study of Its Origins, History and Politics, World Scientific Publishing Company
Over a period of several centuries, the academic study of risk has evolved as a distinct body of thought, which continues to influence conceptual developments in fields such as economics, management, politics and sociology. However, few scholarly works have given a chronological account of cultural and intellectual trends relating to the understanding and analysis of risks. Risk: A Study of its Origins, History and Politics aims to fill this gap by providing a detailed study of key turning points in the evolution of society's understanding of risk. Using a wide range of primary and secondary materials, Matthias Beck and Beth Kewell map the political origins and moral reach of some of the most influential ideas associated with risk and uncertainty at specific periods of time. The historical focus of the book makes it an excellent introduction for readers who wish to go beyond specific risk management techniques and their theoretical underpinnings, to gain an understanding of the history and politics of risk.
Linsley P, Kewell EJ (2015) Risk management: mindfulness and clumsy solutions, ICAEW
Kewell EJ (2013) Depicting the Uncertainties of Stem Cell Science: First Sort, Then Splice, Then Represent, Science, Technology, & Human Values38(5)pp. 599-620 Sage
Stem cell researchers labor in unpredictable circumstances, beset by uncertainties allied to the study of cellular signaling behaviors. STS research, based primarily on the work of Star (1985), has demonstrated that medical scientists often approach these vicissitudes using a type of phronesis that aims to better qualify the causes of experimental ambiguities, while also identifying optimistic reference points to help guide future research. Knowledge of this type of phronesis is extended by this article, which examines the composition of the three most popular citations allied to the regenerative cellular biology/human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) literature. When analyzed, these papers afford evidence that the adducement of positive signals begins with sorting and categorizing. This article finds that, when representing the outcomes of this cataloging for peer-review consumption, the authors concerned predicated their observations in a perspicacious rhetoric, which serves to reinforce positive-leaning ascriptions by couching them in images of virtue, fortitude, and due diligence. The research findings presented herewith suggest that adducements of this kind may be anchored in a representational practice that could be described as ?modal splicing.? This article contributes to the STS literature by observing connections between modal splicing, perspicacious representation, and knowledge affirmations in hiPSC contexts.
Kewell EJ (2011) Heteroglossic Representations of Scientific Uncertainty: A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Expert Witness Testimony to The Bristol Inquiry, Science, Technology, & Human Values36(6)pp. 816-841 Sage
The Bristol Inquiry is arguably one of the most important cases of judicial medical investigation held in the United Kingdom (UK), which continues to raise important insights into the social construction of medical and scientific risks. As a way of marking the inquiry?s tenth anniversary year, this article returns to an important conversation held between noted pediatric cardiothoracic and cardiovascular specialists, on days 49 and 50 of the inquiry?s proceedings. Their conversance principally describes a pathway of scientific advancement across four decades (c. the mid-1960s to 1999). Risks, and the avoidance of medical error (iatrogenesis), represent important subtopics of the ensuing historical narrative, within which the experts describe opportunities for error as diminishing in-line with paradigmatic advancement. The telling of this story of risk mitigation involves the expurgation of considerable sensitivities to scientific uncertainty. In analyzing this example of expert scientific witness testimony, the article primarily considers how representations of uncertainty are formulated in language. The article concludes that, in this instance, the social construction of risk and uncertainty were heteroglossically premised upon language catalysts, cognitive metaphors, and logic-based mathematical rubrics.
Kewell EJ, Linsley P, Beck M, Mkumbuzi W, Guo N (2011) Financial Investment and Sustainability in the RM Field,In: SEVENTH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME THEME SSH-2007- 8.1. Regenerative medicine in Europe: emerging needs and challenges in a global context University of York
The BSE crisis represents one of the worst policy disasters experienced by a UK government in recent years. In material terms, it led to the slaughter of 3.3 million cattle and an estimated economic loss of £3.7 billion. In administrative terms, the crisis led to the dissolution of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), an institution that was heavily criticised by the Phillips Inquiry for its lack of openness and transparency. Although far less severe in terms of its economic impact, with estimated losses of between Euro 0.8 and 1.05 billion, the German BSE crisis resulted in extensive political fallout, leading, inter alia, to the resignation of two government ministers. This paper compares the handling of the crisis in the UK and Germany and the regulation put in place in its aftermath. It explores the reasons for the failure of both governments to manage this crisis in a credible, timely and proactive fashion. Examining the institutional contexts in which decisions about scientific evidence on BSE were made, the paper argues that, in both countries, a centralised system, in which government agencies controlled ?science for government?, was vulnerable to expert-interest group alliances which undermined the potential for a credible assessment of public health and safety risks. Looking at the policies adopted in the aftermath of these crises, the paper notes that, although being far less affected by BSE, Germany paradoxically adopted far more rigorous measures for the prevention of future incidents, which included the strict administrative separation of the risk assessment and management functions. Our paper concludes that the extent of administrative reforms which are initiated in response to crises is more likely to correspond to that general receptiveness of the political environment to these reforms, than the ?objective? impact of the crisis itself.
Winstanley D, Weil T, Kewell EJ, Baker R, Raby R, Spirling A (1998) Final Report: Evaluation of Disability Databases and Information (Parts 1 and 2). ICON Report., Imperial College: University of London.
Oliver M, Kewell EJ, Bonetti L, Conole G (1999) The Independent Learner: A Case Study,In: ELT Report No. 10 University of North London
Kewell E, Webster A (2009) A tale of ?cautious pessimism?: Biotechnology, recession and the ?new economy?,Biotechnology Journal4(8)pp. 1106?1108-1106?1108 Wiley-VCH Verlag
Barack Obama?s best selling memoir, The Audacity of Hope [1] was first published in 2006. Chapter 5, entitled ?Opportunity?, set out an agenda for rekindling an American economy that had entered into decline, despite the espoused prosperity of an enriched Wall Street venture capital culture. Obama?s vision of a reinvigorated America has since become a blueprint for recovery from the ?third quarter crash? (or credit crunch) of 2008. Obama?s plan is to reassemble the ?New Economy? of the 1990s in the 2010s, remodelling its least palatable features ? ineffective Schumpeterian innovation policies [2,3], the Enron model of corporate ?venturisation?, speculative investment in technology stocks, and the concentration of wealth generation capabilities within private equity houses and hedge funds (financialisation) [4]. These policy changes presage a ?new deal? for the life and environmental sciences, in which gross domestic product will depend on neither cars nor coal as the source of future wealth creation. Instead, current Whitehouse policy seems to pin its hopes on a virtuous cycle of patent-led bioscience, cleantech and computer industry engineered prosperity [5]. The United Kingdom (UK) is following suit in this respect, as seen in recent government responses to Sir David Cooksey?s report on the competitive position of the UK biotechnology [6], while the European Commissioner for Research, Janez Potocnik, has called for more investment in the biosciences to help ?relaunch the economy?. The prevailing view assumes that as children of the ?New Economy? paradigm, biosciences and biotechnology can help rescue it, if they are made ready for this purpose. Thus, whilst a renewal of government commitments to science, engineering and biotechnology is always welcome, on this occasion, new investment may come with a heavy price tag.
Kewell EJ, Mkumbuzi W, Linsley P, Beck M (2011) Accounting For The Costs Of Regenerative Medicine: A Chasm Too Far? Work Package 1: The EU in a Global Market: Investing in Regenerative Medicine,In: SEVENTH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME THEME SSH-2007- 8.1. Regenerative medicine in Europe: emerging needs and challenges in a global context University of York
Kewell EJ, Hopkinson S, Oliver M, Conole G (1999) A New Kind of Knowledge Transfer? A Report into the Feasibility of Embedding Learning Technologies within the SME Market for Vocational Training,In: Cascade Report No. 1 University of North London
Kewell EJ, Hopkinson S, Oliver M, Conole G (1999) Media Adviser Toolkit, Connected Learning Ltd; London Metropolitan University
Cook J, Oliver M, Conole G, Kewell EJ (1999) Using Educational Dialogues to Design Learning, University of Bristol
Kewell Elizabeth, Ward P (2017) Blockchain Futures: With or Without Bitcoin?,Strategic Change26(5)pp. 491-498 Wiley
Blockchain technology is considered, in some quarters, to have outgrown its primary association with the Bitcoin payments ecosystem. This belief has fostered numerous predictions of blockchain futures, in which the Bitcoin ecosystem is largely absent. It is nevertheless wholly possible to imagine a future for blockchain in which Bitcoin plays a presiding role. In drawing attention to subtexts of this kind, expectations of the future can prove highly persuasive within the context of technology selection and adoption processes of the present, lending an invisible hand to the design of business models, while also guiding strategic choices and the purchasing decisions made by managers.
Maull Roger, Godsiff Philip, Mulligan C, Brown Alan, Kewell Elizabeth (2017) Distributed Ledger Technology: Applications and Implications,Strategic Change26(5)pp. 481-489 Wiley
Distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) are rewriting conventional notions of business transacting, creating fresh opportunities for value creation and capture. Using qualitative interview data as a primary resource, the proposed five-point model synthesizes these possibilities, demonstrating how they may lead to ?disruptive innovation.? A further conceptual model is subsequently provided with a view to assisting future problem solving in the area.