Tousignant leverages a loss narrative to think about what scientific capacity, both narrowly and broadly defined, means in settings of (threatened) peripheralization, scarcity, dependence, and stagnation. She cites Geissler’s work which describes a shared idea of working towards a better future in which the progressive principle of science fused with individual career ambitions and societal projects of development to argue that such forward-moving, synchronous, equivalent capacity has never been more than a promise that has grown increasingly elusive.
Tousignant looks at the loss of the plausibility of toxicology as equivalent both in its capacity to advance, or keep up, and in its capacity to protect in Senegal.
Tousignant also uses a vocabulary of temporality and rhythmn as her overall framing to describe and think about capacity.
Tousignant notes discourses about “Africanizing” science or “Senegalizing” science when cuts in both French assistance and Senegalese state funding in the 1980s led to lab leadership being handed over from French to Senegalese. She also notes a later period of “Sahelian” ecotoxicology when eco-toxicology’s methods were being “Sahelianized” to durable relocation in Sahelian institutions.
She builds on work related to infrastructures to think through the relations between time, science, and the public good.