Handbook for the Ages: Peeking into the forthcoming 4th Edition of the STS Handbook
27 June, 2016
Like those infrequent but recurring celestial events, the appearance of a new Handbook of Science and Technology Studies can be a landmark event for a generation. It is no surprise then, that the STS community eagerly anticipates seeing themselves and their field reflected and diffracted in the Fourth Edition of the Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, due to be published later this year. Here, the editors of the volume—Ulrike Felt, Rayvon Fouché, Clark Miller and Laurel Smith-Doerr—speak with Backchannels’ Yelena Gluzman to give a taste of what we can expect.
Question: When you began working on the Fourth Edition of the Handbook, you spent a lot of time reaching out to the STS community. I appreciated, for example, your 2012 call for feedback on an initial vision of the book. Did feedback from the community and from chapter authors impact the themes of the volume? How does the current version of the book compare to your initial vision of what the book would be?
Answer: We initiated our call for chapters in late 2012, inviting people to think about advances in STS theories and methods, the development of new ideas, the evolution of long-important themes, and the engagement of STS with other disciplines and with the public sphere. We strongly emphasized our wish for a broader geography of authors, encouraging chapter proposals from STS scholars in parts of the world that have historically been underrepresented in prior STS handbooks, including Asia, Latin America, and Africa, as well as proposals that offered global and/or comparative perspectives. The imagined readership focused on STS graduate students entering the field. We also envisioned it as relevant to scholars and colleagues new to STS who desire insights into key STS concepts and approaches, and professionals outside of cognate fields and even outside of academia for whom the Handbook might present a broad, deep, and nuanced view of STS scholarship. We opened a webspace to give us feedback in this early phase.
As has been the case for the previous STS handbooks, the call for papers was a key moment in the making of the volume. We were impressed by the large number of proposals we received, by the richness of ideas about STS related topics they proposed to capture, and by their diversity of authorship. The proposed chapter abstracts were an expression of the huge diversity of the field. We spent several days organizing the submissions, categorizing, and identifying overlaps and blank spots where we did not have any submissions. We received invaluable feedback from the handbook committee as well as from our colleagues in different settings in which we presented the first outline. In that sense, the process of compiling a table of contents was simultaneously bottom-up and top-down. Feedback and discussions at the annual 4S meetings in San Diego (2013) and Buenos Aires (2014) also helped sharpen our vision.
The Handbook then proceeded through several stages of further transformation on its path toward a final product: authors writing their chapters, which in the end sometimes looked quite different from the initial abstract submitted; reviewers providing extensive feedback, challenging authors to rethink and reshape their chapters; feedback from the editors, in an attempt to advance an integrated vision of how chapters might fit together to strengthen the volume as a whole. In the introduction, we compare our work with landscaping. You have to imagine how the landscape might look, in the future, even if you are working with seedling versions of the plants. While the chapters grow, it is a constant negotiation between how individual chapters develop over time and the desire to achieve important goals in the overall handbook. Each chapter went through (at least) three rounds of revisions and it was a fantastic (although quite work-intensive) experience of collaboration and engagement among the editors and chapter authors.
Question: The Third Edition of The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies was published in 2008, edited by Ed Hackett, Olga Amsterdamska, Michael Lynch and Judy Wacjman. The previous two editions were published in 1977 and 1995, respectively. The Handbook seems to be more than a compendium of important disciplinary issues; each new edition indexes the trajectory of the field itself. Based on your work on the Fourth Edition, could you describe your sense of how the field is changing?
Answer: Yes, a handbook is always more than a collection of chapters. We reflect extensively on how the different editions of the handbooks illustrate the trajectory of the field in our introductory chapter. We review each of the three previous handbooks, showing how they capture a specific moment in time and in the development of STS as a field. We won’t say more here— you have to wait and read the introduction. What we also did was to map the institutions where authors came from and how this developed over time. Here is a glimpse of what the map looks like for the 4th Edition of the Handbook.
Question: Could you tell us when the Fourth Edition is expected to come out? Are there launch events planned that we should know about?
Answer: The Fourth Edition of the Handbook is currently in the last phase: correcting the page proofs. The entire manuscript should go to the printer by September. The book will actually carry a 2017 date, but is likely to be out later this year. MIT Press will publish a hard cover version, but for the first time readers will also have the option to download individual chapters electronically. In this way we hope to reach audiences who would not necessarily want to read the full Handbook but would be very interested in some chapters in their areas of interest.
We are organizing a pre-launch event that will occur at the 4S/EASST conference in Barcelona at the beginning of September. We will invite one author from each of the five sections of the Handbook (see the Table of Contents below—the sections are broadly focused on STS methods, knowledge production, technology and technoscience, institutional organization of science, and ‘grand challenges’ and STS). The event will focus on issues that cut across the volume and how we think this handbook reflects the current moment and trajectory of STS as a field. We will ask the authors to reflect on how they approached their topic in order to turn it into a handbook chapter, their key argument(s), and any pleasant surprises they encountered in writing about developments in the field. This is likely to be a lunchtime session--so do look it up once the program is out!
At the 4S conference in 2017 in Boston, we plan to have a launch party. This Fourth Edition will appear exactly 40 years after the first did. There is ample reason for celebration of the developments in our field.
Question: Could you give Backchannels readers a sneak peek of the Table of Contents?
Answer: Here it is, below, in all its length and breadth.
Handbook of Science and Technology Studies
Editors: Ulrike Felt, Rayvon Fouché, Clark A. Miller, Laurel Smith-Doerr
Introduction to the Fourth Edition of the Handbook of Science and Technology Studies
Ulrike Felt, Rayvon Fouché, Clark A. Miller, Laurel Smith-Doerr
Doing, Exploring and Reflecting on Methods
STS as Method
Kalpana Shankar, David Hakken and Carsten Østerlund
The Intellectual and Practical Contributions of Scientometrics to STS
Sally Wyatt, Staša Milojević, Han Woo Park and Loet Leydesdorff
Ethnomethodology, Video Analysis, and STS
Philippe Sormani, Morana Alač, Alain Bovet and Christian Greiffenhagen
Art, Design, and Performance
Chris Salter, Regula Valérie Burri and Joseph Dumit
Engaging, Designing and Making Digital Systems
Janet Vertesi, David Ribes, Laura Forlano, Yanni Loukissas and Marisa Leavitt Cohn
Experiments in Participation
Javier Lezaun, Noortje Marres and Manual Tironi
Making and Doing: Engagement and Reflexive Learning in STS
Gary Lee Downey and Teun Zuiderent-Jerak
Making Knowledge, People, and Societies
Science and Democracy
STS and Social Movements: Pasts and Futures
Steve Breyman, Nancy Campbell, Virginia Eubanks and Abby Kinchy
Structural Inequality and the Politics of Science and Technology
David J. Hess, Sulfikar Amir, Scott Frickel, Daniel Lee Kleinman, Kelly Moore and Logan D. A. Williams
Race and Science in the 21st Century
Ramya Rajagopalan, Alondra Nelson, and Joan Fujimura
Sex, Gender, and Sexuality in Biomedicine
Jennifer R. Fishman, Laura Mamo and Patrick R. Grzanka
Feminism, Postcolonialism, Technoscience
Banu Subramaniam, Laura Foster, Sandra Harding, Deboleena Roy and Kim TallBear
Conceptualising Imaginaries of Science, Technology and Society
Maureen McNeil, Michael Arribas-Ayllon, Joan Haran, Adrian Mackenzie and Richard Tutton
Performing and Governing the Future in Science and Technology
Kornelia Konrad, Harro van Lente, Christopher Groves and Cynthia Selin
Reconceptualizing Users with Enriching Ethnography
Lisa-Jo K. van den Scott, Carrie B. Sanders and Antony J. Puddephatt
How Infrastructures Matter
Stephen C. Slota and Geoffrey C. Bowker
STS in the City
Ignacio Farías and Anders Blok
The Sociotechnical Architecture of Information Networks
Hector Postigo and Casey O'Donnell
Machineries of Finance: Technologies and Sciences of Markets
A Critical Theory of Technology
STS for Development
Aalok Khandekar, Koen Beumer, Annapurna Mamidipudi, Pankaj Sekhsaria and Wiebe E. Bijker
Organizing and Governing Science
Gender, (In)Equity, and the Scientific Workforce
Mary Frank Fox, Kjersten Bunker Whittington and Marcela Linková
The Social and Epistemic Organization of Scientific Work
Edward J. Hackett, John N. Parker, Niki Vermeulen and Bart Penders
Harry Collins, Robert Evans and Martin Weinel
Surveillance and Regulation of Laboratory Practices
Ruthanne Huising and Susan S. Silbey
Ethics as Governance in Genomics and Beyond
Stephen Hilgartner, Barbara Prainsack and J. Benjamin Hurlbut
Responsible Research and Innovation
Jack Stilgoe and David Guston
Reframing Science Communication
Maja Horst, Sarah R. Davies and Alan Irwin
Engaging with Societal Challenges
Aging: The Socio-Material Constitution of Later Life
Kelly Joyce, Alexander Peine, Louis Neven and Florian Kohlbacher
Agricultural Systems: Co-Producing Knowledge and Food
Alastair Iles, Garrett Graddy-Lovelace, Maywa Montenegro and Ryan Galt
Knowledge and Security
Kathleen M. Vogel, Brian Balmer, Sam Weiss Evans, Inga Kroener, Miwao Matsumoto and Brian Rappert
Researching Disaster from an STS Perspective
Kim Fortun, Scott Gabriel Knowles, Vivian Choi, Paul Jobin, Miwao Matsumoto, Pedro de la Torre III, Max Liboiron and Luis Felipe R. Murillo
Environmental Justice: Knowledge, Technology, and Expertise
Gwen Ottinger, Javiera Barandiarán and Aya H. Kimura
The Making of Global Environmental Science and Politics
Silke Beck, Tim Forsyth, Pia M. Kohler, Myanna Lahsen and Martin Mahony