Open Panel Topics 100-129
100. Governing Future Possibilities: Telecommunications Policy and Law as Sense-making
Organized by: Ryan Ellis, Northeastern University; Tolu Odumosu, University of Virginia
This open panel seeks to bring together critical scholarship on telecommunications policy and law in moments (both contemporary and historical) when they are concerned with governing the future. As telecommunications continues to evolve, the panel asks: How are (both formal and informal) policy and law making sense of future possibilities? Who participates in this sense-making, and who is left out? What socio-technical imaginaries of the future inform these discussions and debates? STS offers a number of lenses through which to explore telecommunications law and policy; the panel is open to different methodological and regional foci and is particularly interested in historically informed and critical scholarship that bridges STS, infrastructure studies, media studies, and work in telecommunications policy and law. Through a collection of case studies and empirical examinations, we seek to explore a number of broad themes and questions, including: How are the sunk politics of infrastructure alternately made visible and hidden in contemporary telecommunication policy debates? In what ways do contemporary conflicts over policy articulate a vision of the future? How can studies of other infrastructures (such as, the study of electric power systems, transportation networks, and others) inform our understanding of telecommunications? We strongly encourage submissions that examine these matters from a non-western perspective. Key words: infrastructure studies; telecommunications; technoscientific imaginaries.
101. Clashing Environments in Latin America
Organized by: Raoni Rajão, Federal University of Minas Gerais; Susanna Hecht
Since the beginning of STS a few decades ago, the environment has become an important site for understanding the relation between different forms of knowledge (Wynne, 1996), the delimitation of science-policy interfaces (Jasanoff, 1990) and the management of technological risks (Wiertz, 2016). But as with most of STS, these discussions tend to have a distinctively Northern perspective, taking as a starting point the emergence of post-industrial risk societies in Europe and North America. At the same time, the body of literature that discusses environmental issues in Latin America and other developing countries tends to focus on power struggles while ignoring the central role of science and technology in framing environmental issues. In this context, we aim to bring together studies that look at different aspects of the relation between the environment, science, technology and society in Latin America. We believe that in this way STS could offer new perspectives to contemporary environmental controversies in Latin America. We expect contributions from a wide range of perspectives within STS and beyond, covering topics such as payments for environmental services (PES), REDD+, urban pollution, (post)colonial conservation, local knowledges about the environment, socioenvironmental conflicts, production of environmental knowledge across the north/south divide.
102. Dissemination, Disembodiment, Diversity: Science and Technology in a Post-Truth World
Organized by: Ravi Shukla, Jamia University, Delhi
In normative STS understanding, state as well as corporate actors draw upon the supposedly objective, impersonal nature of science to make their decisions appear impartial and free from bias. Put differently, the scientific claim to truth — where mathematical and abstract rationalities prevail over sensory evidence — has traditionally formed the basis of public credibility. In a social media driven, “post-truth” world, where objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion, are the nature and mechanisms of state/corporate influence changing? Digital information technologies, in the form of the internet and mobile devices, have played a significant role in this shift. As Katherine Hayles and others have suggested, these technologies tend to assume a disembodied view of the world, one in which the information about an object is seen as distinct from the object itself. How does the traditional debate between social shaping of technologies and technology as an autonomous force change in a scenario wherein the nature and extent of social influence is shaped by the selfsame technologies? Is it possible to have a more embodied approach without abandoning the idea of an objective truth? This panel suggests that post-truth is not a sudden, epochal phenomenon but a more gradual shift that has been in the making. Since the shift to a post-truth world appears to be global, the panel invites both empirically oriented as well as conceptual papers that engage with the tension between a more embodied approach and the need for objective truth.
103. Indigenous Knowledges and Technologies
Organized by: Tiago Ribeiro Duarte, University of Brasília; Claudia Magallanes, Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla - Mexico
Indigenous knowledges and technologies are a marginal topic in STS, with few studies, articles, and books being published on the topic despite the array of experiences and approaches from other fields such as media studies, visual anthropology, telecommunications, human rights, to mention a few. In its early years, STS focused mainly on scientific knowledge, particularly on controversies and on the construction of scientific facts. In the mid-1980s it expanded its focus to the construction of technology with the emergence of SCOT and other research programmes. About the late 1980s and early 1990´s, a turn towards the science-policy interface brought new attention to local knowledges and expertises in the field. Nowadays, citizen and open science are popular research topics and receive growing attention from STS scholars. However, indigenous knowledges and technologies remain marginal. STS appears still to be in need of a process of decolonisation, as to a large extent it is still insensible to knowledges, technologies, and epistemologies that have arisen from indigenous, aboriginal or native peoples around the globe. This panel seeks to bring together researchers interested in topics related to indigenous knowledges and technologies, including, but not restricted to: a) appropriations of indigenous knowledges and technologies; b) indigenous knowledges and biopiracy; c) indigenous knowledges and technological policymaking; d) uses and developments of information and communication technologies (ICT) by indigenous peoples; e) decolonial and postcolonial indigenous STS; f) clashing ontologies between indigenous and modern societies.
104. Shaping the Human-Technology Frontier
Organized by: Rick B. Duque, SUNY Polytechnic Institute
This session welcomes interdisciplinary research from an STS lens that critically evaluates and/or is actively involved in developing projects where integrated technologies (sensors, communication, computation, virtual intelligence) are embedded around, on, and in human subjects and the environments they inhabit. Thematic questions this session will explore: How are emerging integrated technologies shaping human behavior and health in relation to natural and built environments? How are they shaping social organizations in relation to natural and built environments? What are the ethical/legal implications of integrated technologies on privacy and security?
105. Articulating the Sensibilities of Social Media
Organized by: Ricky Leung, University at Albany - SUNY
As a communication technology, social media pertains to a myriad of STS theories. Yet, given social media’s popularity and fluidity, it is unclear if existing theories are sufficient to capture its role in transforming established practices with respect to science-making. This panel invites papers to articulate the sensibilities of social media in relation to STS. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following: 1) To what extent is social media a citizen science? How do citizens contribute to advancing the science of social media? 2) Is it appropriate to use social media for purposes beyond personal communication? When using social media in public health promotion, emergency preparedness, and STEM education, what may be relevant analytic and security concerns? 3) How can we utilize social media to measure, operationalize, and refine STS concepts, such as expertise, collaboration, networks, and diversity? 4) Can we rely on default metrics (e.g. likes and shares) to evaluate social media? How can we better utilize social media’s big data? 5) How do social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) enable and/or restrain transnational scientific work? To what extent do these platforms envision, promote and undermine specific future imaginaries? 6) What is—and is not—social media in the Internet world? Is it necessary to give social media a formal definition? We welcome papers that address these and similar topics, adopting any theoretical orientation(s) and empirical approach(es). Perspectives from outside STS are also welcomed.
106. Sense and Sensibility: Science and Religion in a Secular Age
Organized by: Renee Blackburn, MIT; Marie Burks, MIT
STS scholars have demonstrated the persistence of religious beliefs and values in shaping sense and sensibility, even in a supposedly secular age. In this panel, we investigate ways of knowing, doing, and being that complicate narratives of strictly secular science and technology in the twentieth century. We are interested in exploring “alternative modernities” and conceptions of rationality that unsettle the dichotomy between science and religion. In practice, the borders between the two are contested and ever-shifting, as actors stake out diverse political and ethical positions. We invite papers that seek to understand the myriad ways and means by which claims to reason and truth are articulated and adjudicated. We draw inspiration from historians of science and STS scholars who have considered such alternative modernities and conceptions of rationality: Karen Barad’s Meeting the Universe Halfway, Carol Cohn’s “Sex and Death in the Rational World of Defense Intellectuals,” Hugh Gusterson’s Nuclear Rites, Deirdre McCloskey’s The Rhetoric of Economics, Matthew Stanley’s Practical Mystic, John Tresch’s “Cosmologies Materialized: History of Science and History of Ideas,” and, shifting from Western culture, Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar’s edited volume, Alternative Modernities. Perspectives from the history of science and technology, STS, and beyond are welcome.
107. Social and Solidarity Economies
Organized by: Robert Gouveia, Ministério do Trabalho do Brasil
This panel invites papers that explore aspects of the emerging Social and Solidarity Economy, which names an alternative way of producing, distributing and consuming goods and services in relation to traditional capitalist forms. In Brazil and in other countries of the world, this proposal has public policy status and suggests the self-organization of participants in productive groups (associations, cooperatives, among other types) with the objective of sharing, in an equitable way, the results of these productive processes. It aims to effect a transformation of the world in which we live to be a more just and self-sustaining environment, where solidarity among peoples is the watchword.
108. Limits of "Infrastructure"
Organized by: Robert Montoya, UCLA; Gregory Leazer
As George Lakoff reminds us, we understand complex social systems through conceptual metaphors and other linguistic constructions. Within STS and other fields, a predominant metaphor is that of "infrastructure", which is used to describe a variety of systems, regimes and arrangements of phenomena. Steven J. Jackson defines "infrastructure" as the "social and material forms foundational to other kinds of human action," but clearly the concept of "infrastructure", understood both literally and as a metaphor, implies more than that. What are the properties of "infrastructure"? Why has this concept been so generative? What are the limitations to the concept, especially when understood as a metaphor? What blind spots are created by the shared theoretical approaches of STS? For example, do conceptualizations of "infrastructure" presuppose standards as inherited and constitutive of the object of analysis? How do notions of infrastructure open up or foreclose discussions of ethics? The concept of "infrastructure" has allowed STS scholars to extend their work into new domains by characterizing them as sociotechnical. Recent work in STS in particular has explored the concept in terms of "knowledge infrastructures." Are there other kinds of infrastructure that either concern us or illustrate the limits of the concept of infrastructure? Research is welcome from all areas of STS. We are particularly interested in papers that explore the relationships between STS and Information Studies.
109. Analyzing Race as a Ghost Variable in Human Research
Organized by: Rebecca Jordan-Young, Barnard College, Columbia University; Katrina Karkazis, Stanford University
The routine collection of subjects’ "race" in studies on humans ensures that race is present in research, even if investigators choose not to analyze it. Moreover, research on domains that are potently racialized in the larger world (aggression, criminality, sports prowess, health, leadership, intelligence) engenders a sense that findings are relevant to race, and vice versa, even when researchers do not explicitly address race. Race is ubiquitous, but usually as a background variable, its meaning opaque, the reasons for its inclusion vague. For these reasons, racial content may register on levels that resist representation and analysis with tools that are familiar (or seem “proper”) to technoscience and STS. We propose a panel that explores methods and analytic models for identifying the operation of race in scientific research that is devoid of explicit racial content and messages. The panel asks: What are the mundane practices that position race as a “ghost variable” in studies of human evolution, behavior, and health? What methods and models are required to account for the relational nature of race, and to ensure that STS analyses avoid the reification of race as a material property of bodies? In a context in which deep analyses of race expose researchers to charges of “going too far” or reading too deeply into the implicit content of studies (alongside or even against the explicit content), what strategies can we employ to counter this?
110. The Politics of Deficit Construction
Organized by: Sebastian Pfotenhauer, Munich Center for Technology in Society, Technical University Munich; Erik Aarden, Univ. of Vienna
The construction of societal “deficits” with regard to science and technology – e.g. in public understanding of science, in development or modernization contexts, or in terms of technical democracy – has been a target of STS critique for several decades. While the identification of such “deficit diagnoses” has yielded important insights, research on deficits has hitherto been sporadic and fractured, with no systematic framework connecting the various sites, practices, and politics of deficit construction. This track aims to put the politics of “deficit diagnosis” front and center and to develop it as a theoretical lens for understanding ongoing reconfigurations in the science-technology-society relationship. We are interested in the entire range of sites and levels of analysis at which deficit diagnoses occur (e.g. national, regional, institutional, individual…), the variegated functions for which deficits are being mobilized, and the normative agendas deficit diagnoses entail. Among the topics we hope to attract are: • Diagnosed deficits in technological or innovation capability; • Democratic or legal deficits ensuing from advances and technology; • The relationship between science, expertise, and the public, e.g. in science communication and public engagement; • Metrics and benchmarking practices associated with deficit diagnosis; • Modes of policy-making and governance related to deficit diagnosis (e.g. proliferating competitiveness rhetoric, technocratic approaches); • The co-construction of deficits and solutions/cures, and corollary constructions of deficient (and ideal) publics; • Questions of inequality and power in the diagnosis and addressing of deficits; • Future-making and promise-generation based on deficit diagnosis.
111. Entangled Sciences of Gender, Sexuality, Race: Latin American Issues
Organized by: Sandra Harding, UCLA; Manuela Fernandez Pinto; Tania Perez-Bustos
The miscegenation policies that the Spanish and Portuguese introduced into the Americas in the Sixteenth Century established more hierarchical and rigid categories of gender, sexuality, and race than had existed earlier. These new, pre-Darwinian, sciences of race, sexuality and gender were complexly entangled with each other from the beginning. Some Latin American scholars, such as philosopher Maria Lugones, have argued that they still have powerful effects today, while others, such as social scientists Silvia Cucicanqui, Mara Viveros, and Marilise Matos have argued for a more complex understanding of the intersectionality that the categories of gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity have in the region. This panel invites papers that ask: In what ways has this colonial scientific legacy persisted? In what ways has it been revised? How do Latin American feminists, both in Latin America and in the North, discuss this issue? How has it shaped (or not) STS methodological projects in Latin America? What role have such discussions played in democratizing projects? How has it influenced conceptions of gender as an analytic category, as well as theories of ethnicity, race, and cultural diversity in Latin America?
112. Citizen Science Politics and Practices
Organized by: Shun-Ling Chen, Academia Sinica; Iris Eisenberger; Melanie Dulong de Rosnay
The term “citizen science” has a plurality of meanings: from various forms of public participation in science, crowdsourced science, community actions for regulating risks, and grassroots hacking. The roles of citizens in these initiatives vary: they may act as scientists’ sensors, trained to collect and analyze data; they may challenge regulatory standards, collect and analyze data — sometimes with the tools they design — in order to set their own agenda. The relationships between lay participants and professional in these initiatives range from tamed/collaborative to radical/competitive. The intended outputs of these projects also differ — from scientific publications, monitoring systems, new devices, identifying and removing hazards, to policy changes. Despite the ambiguity, the term “citizen science” has gained popularity in public policies and grant awarding opportunities, although often only for those on the "tamed" side of the spectrum. Exactly what citizen science can bring or is expected to deliver cannot be answered without resolving such ambiguity. This panel invites STS scholars, historians of science and techno-legal researchers to propose case studies and theoretical contributions exploring the boundaries of citizen science, as well as its techno-scientific and public policy impact for community-building, civic participation, the development of commons, and the production of knowledge.
113. Emerging Technologies and Conservation
Organized by: Katie Barnhill-Dilling, North Carolina State University; Jason Delborne
If the broad (and sensible) approach to conservation is the protection and ethical use of natural resources (with an emphasis on the ‘natural’), one could argue that emerging technologies — especially but not limited to the tools of genetic engineering — have rendered some conservation efforts ‘insensible.’ In our understanding of meaning-making behind how conservation efforts might unfold, emerging technologies’ role in conservation may spark calls for reimagined landscapes that integrate multiple knowledge bases (e.g., historical ecology and responsible innovation), require hybridized and problematized notions of the ‘natural,’ and disrupt assumptions about traditional partnerships and positions. Importantly, such an amalgam of ethical and technical considerations also calls for emerging analytical and governance frameworks to explore the dynamic socio-technical landscapes and relationships. This session invites papers that address the complex intersections between emerging technologies and conservation. With an emphasis on the at-times surprising dynamics between the tools and techniques that emerging technologies are making possible in conservation efforts, papers may address one of the following questions: What new tools or new applications might bridge traditionally oppositional actors, and what new meanings must be constructed? What combinations of knowledge bases are being called for as emerging technologies impact traditional conservation efforts? What surprising partnerships and positions are emerging as a result of the application of emerging technologies in conservation? What assumptions are being disrupted about what is deemed natural? What surprises might emerge as emerging technologies are brought into the spheres of conservation?
114. Biolegalities in Globalization: Investigating Ethical In/sensibilities
Organized by: Sonja Van Wichelen, University of Sydney; Marc de Leeuw, University of New South Wales
The life sciences are fundamentally reshaping law and legal practice. This panel engages with contemporary cross-border challenges and implications of new biotechnologies and biological knowledges in the field of law. It is interested in papers that examine the complex and often contested ways in which biotechnologies or biological knowledges are reworked by, with, and against legal knowledge. Reproductive technologies, genetic privacy, GMOs, biobanks, patents and intellectual property, transgenic animals, nanotechnology, neuro-interventions, gene “editing”, xenotransplantation, and diasporic proxies in global biomedicine are increasingly becoming common practice in the 21st century. While the growing scholarship on biopolitics has studied the ways in which such practices are entangled with certain modes of governance and neoliberal economies, their translations, deployments, and reconfigurations in the realm of law or legal practice has been relatively understudied. The panel seeks to explore the in/sensibilities of legal knowledge in responding to challenges actioned by emerging biotechnologies and biological knowledge. The normative is a constitutive element in these responses and the panel explicitly seeks to examine how ethical and normative sensibilities play out in expanding jurisdictions such as in European or international law. We welcome paper proposals that can speak to academic audiences across Law, the Social Sciences, and the Humanities, and are especially interested in empirical cases that look at the larger geopolitical context in which jurisdictions increasingly expand and cross states and nations.
115. Beyond Identification: Biometrics and the Governance of Social Life
Organized by: Michelle Spektor, MIT; Ranjit Singh, Cornell University
From unlocking personal smartphones and designing national IDs and passports, to conducting criminal investigations and verifying financial transactions, the use of fingerprints, facial recognition data, iris scans, and other biometric modalities in ID cards, databases, and scanning devices is increasingly becoming part of governing social life. The use of biometric identification technologies not only places the locus of identity onto the quantified human body, but also intervenes in and (re)configures a variety of sociotechnical relationships. These include, but are not limited to, relationships across: security, risk, and civil liberties; exclusion, criminalization, and citizenship; data, subjectivity, and ontologies of the body; power, expertise, and resistance to surveillance; and histories of biometrics, antecedent identification practices, and techno-optimistic (or pessimistic) future visions of achieving “unique” identification. The ubiquity of biometric technologies as preferred methods of identification, and their inscription into everyday digital infrastructures, presents opportunities to critically examine how the use of biometrics constitutes new conditions of governance and resistance. This open track welcomes papers that investigate how identification technologies, particularly those based on biometrics, are reshaping the governance of social life across national, social, political, administrative, institutional, infrastructural, and technological contexts. It aims to interrogate the socio-cultural and techno-political dimensions of biometric identification technologies beyond their usual framing in terms of security or surveillance by bringing insights from STS into conversation with perspectives in surveillance studies, critical security studies, information science, and other fields.
116. Bodies, Technologies, and In/Sensibilities in Movement
Organized by: Sam Haraway, University of California - Davis; Robin Rae, University of Vienna
A central and ongoing theme of works in STS concerns the entanglement and dis-entanglement of bodies and technologies. Bodies become enabled and/or disabled, move or are moved, through the distribution and coordination of materially heterogeneous entities. These processes may also be explored in terms of bodies becoming sensible and/or insensible. For example, in dancing, hiking, running, cycling, or other forms of everyday im/mobilities, bodies become entangled and disentangled with technologies, disciplinary techniques, environments, and more. In their material-collective movement, bodies learn to sense the world differently, such as through enjoyment, balance, or loosing oneself, all of which may equally include discomfort or pain. Bodies are not only multiple in their enactments, but also in the ways their senses are continuously re-formed with diverse material and discursive practices that enable and disable their movement. This panel welcomes contributions that explore the complex relationalities of bodies, technologies, and the enabling/disabling of their senses in movement. Questions to consider include, but are not limited to: As action is made (in)accessible to bodies, what becomes of their senses? How are bodies enabled and/or disabled from sensing? How do various (dis)entanglements of sensing bodies, technologies, and other entities affect one another? How are modes of sensing made durable? How do they fade away? The panel seeks a wide range of empirical cases and topics that explore these issues, and others related to the theme of im/mobile, dis/entangled bodies becoming in/sensible, using diverse methodological techniques.
117. Studying Science Communication
Organized by: Sarah Davies, University of Copenhagen; Maja Horst
The last decades have, in a number of countries, seen an increase in science communication and public engagement activities. In many places a well defined 'deficit to dialogue' narrative tells of the move from 'public understanding of science' (PUS) models of communication (dominant in the 1980s and '90s) to more dialogic approaches, based on twoway communication between science and its publics. STS scholarship has been instrumental in these developments. Theoretical and analytical attention, as well as experiments with practice, have, however, tended to focus on policy oriented or governmentally sponsored engagement, and especially on overt efforts to 'democratise' science. This panel focuses on forms of science communication that do not claim to formally influence policy or scientific research, and which may at first glance feature oneway communication. This includes, for instance, science in museums, science fairs and festivals, popular science media, science blogging, sciart activities, and university and lab open days. We invite critical STS analysis and discussion of these activities. This might include, for example, reflections on the role science communication may play in the democratisation of science, analyses of the constitution of publics and knowledges within particular science communication activities, or accounts of experimental practice. The panel will thus use the methodologies of critical STS to reflect upon the problems, potential and practice of contemporary science communication.
118. Life and Death of Partnerships in Research and Innovation
Organized by: Signe Vikkelsø, Copenhagen Business School; Julie Sommerlund, University of Copenhagen
Innovation is emphasized as a crucial means of ensuring economic growth, employment and welfare in society. Public funding bodies throughout the world argue that universities, businesses and society must be linked closely to ensure this aim, and multiple programs seek to stimulate network formation and knowledge transfer. Collaborative research aimed at commercialization is not new, but rather described as an integral part of a ‘Mode 2’-science (Gibbons et. al., 1994). Today, however, collaborations are no longer conceptualized primarily as networks enabling open innovation, but increasingly as contractual partnerships and consortia working towards predefined ‘societal challenges’ and/or commercialization. While this contractual partnership-principle pervades current funding policies, there is little clarity regarding governance principles and evaluation criteria. The situation is one of massive investment in an experimental organizational model. How partnerships work, what type of research and innovation they foster, and how they can or should be governed are open questions. This panel invites contributions that address questions pertaining to the idea, mobilization and constitutive effects of ‘partnerships’ in research and innovation. Papers might address: Enrollment, mediation and exclusion of partners across industry and universities; Exploration versus exploitation: how to govern partnerships in a time romanticizing radical innovation?; Virtues and vices across different types of partnerships; The role of performance indicators in partnership governance: input, output, impact and ‘process indicators’; Theorization of ‘innovation’ and the drift towards ‘big is beautiful’.
119. Sacred Sensibilities: Spirit meets Matter
Organized by: Lisa McLoughlin; Simon Wilson, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK
The science that grew out of natural philosophy became Modern through a shift in methodologies, objects of study, participants, products, and goals. The overarching themes of these changes were separation and mechanization: complex interdependent systems were "solved" by being simplified to mechanistic individual ones, participation in the endeavor labeled science was restricted to "qualified" individuals, and processes were standardized as those that clearly isolated observer from observed. Nature became a dead machine uninhabited by spirit(s), and scientists became impartial and logical, denying the sacred had any place in their work. We are interested in exploring how, and what happens when, a sense of the sacred enters human experience of nature and culture on the personal, disciplinary, and societal levels. Openness to spirit has varied in pre-modern, modern, and post-modern scientific eras; it remains a point of contention between western and other cultures' sciences; and it continues to affect how we understand, inhabit, design, and interpret natureculture. We invite papers that address such questions as: What happens when spirit meets matter? What ethical and other transformations may occur when the object of study is conceived of as alive with spirit(s), or when the knower is believed to be enspirited in body and mind? Many sacred traditions talk of spiritual senses: what may they be, what kind of knowing may they entrain? May they teach us the limits of and how to go beyond technoscience’s apparatus of senses and sensing,? How is this holistic way of sensing being conceived of and incorporated into scientific (including social sciences and technological) disciplines?
120. The Politics of Forensic Identification in the Wake of Disaster and Atrocity
Organized by: Victor Toom, Goethe University Frankfurt; Sarah Wagner, George Washington University
Forensic sciences like anthropology, archaeology and genetics are important mechanisms to restore names to anonymous remains. Such mechanisms are increasingly deployed to identify victims of mass human fatality incidents like political violence, war, atrocities and disaster. Research in STS and beyond has clearly shown that processes of locating, recovering, identifying and repatriating someone’s remains are shaped by intersecting regimes of scientific, legal, and sociopolitical value—from juridical reckoning and reconciliation projects to funerary rites and commemorative events. This panel has two aims: to scrutinize forensic practices in a field sometimes (inappropriately) called “disaster victim identification," and to reflect on the analyses of those practices by STS and other scholarship. What is it that forensic mechanisms help to reveal, and what is it that remains hidden with respect to, for example, the objects of research or the events leading to mass death? Similarly, what becomes enacted through the research(er), chosen methodologies, and political and theoretical affiliations? We invite papers that will engage critically with forensic scientific practices in the wake of mass human casualty events as well as with our own research practices, ethics and the politics of our interventions.
121. Working at the Edges: Migrants, Women, and Minorities in Technosciences
Organized by: Sharon Traweek, UCLA; Diane Yu Gu, UCLA; Reynal Guillen, Univ. California, Riverside; Jarita Holbrook, AAAS
Global circulations of migrants, women, and minorities (MWM) through technosciences, including STS, fundamentally transform sense/knowledge makings, material cultures, and infrastructures, while remaking technoscience MWM and exposing the glocal political economies/exclusions at play. MWM can strategically negotiate intersectional distinctions at work while building alternative processes and engagements with technoscience work. This open panel calls for projects using an array of discursive, methodological, and theoretical strategies that explore such queries as: What strategies enable technoscience MWM to work successfully at the edge? When and where? How do they vary between MWM and differ from others? * How do MWM workforces/practices in STS resemble other technoscience MWM? * How have MWM gained/maintained access to, engaged with, and changed technoscience (education, jobs, projects, techniques, discourses, data, instruments, etc)? * What kinds of webs of relations do technoscience MWM build/maintain/avoid? * What kinds of sense/knowledge making strategies and pedagogies do MWM employ, and why? * How do MWM circulations enable new kinds of sense/knowledge making? * How do MWM interventions differ across technoscience fields? * How do socio-cultural (in)sensitivities affect sense/knowledge making when technoscientists often believe their work is neutral about socio-cultural distinctions?" * What are MWM discursive and narrative strategies? * What STS theories make sense of MWM practices? How do MWM practices intervene in STS theory making? * What do MWM strategies expose about glocal technoscience ethics and political economies? * Why has the global representation of MWM in the biomedical/social/STS technosciences changed so much since 1970, compared to physical sciences/engineering?
122. Property Matters
Organized by: Veit Braun, LMU Munich
Despite its recent interest in markets and economics as well as its longstanding focus on things, STS has so far largely neglected property as an object of its research. When property is brought up, it is usually in the form of property rights which, in turn, are mostly understood as intellectual property. But what about the property matters itself? Are they, like John Locke's acorn, just patiently waiting to be appropriated, leaving everything to lawyers, courts, and legislatures? Or do they also get a say in if, how, and under what conditions they will enter into a property relationship? This panel invites contributions that closely engage with the nature of property objects and the societies, economies, and institutions they summon. Understanding property in a broad sense — from locked bikes to research papers to kidneys — it asks what it takes for these things to work as property. Apart from laws and rules, which technologies demarcate, identify, move, and hold property in place? How much work does appropriation and, conversely, alienation of property take? And how does the division of labor between owners and property bring both into being? Extended abstract at: https://www.academia.edu/30664954/Property_matters
123. Affect and Emotion across Sites of Technoscience
Organized by: Venla Oikkonen, University of Helsinki; Mianna Meskus
Affect and emotions not only connect the mind and the body, they also connect us to human and nonhuman others. Affects and emotions are ambivalent: they may both challenge and strengthen dominant social orders. This panel seeks, firstly, to understand the complex ways in which emotion and affect shape the production, circulation, routinization and cultural reception of science. Secondly, the panel charts the role of science and science studies in the emerging political landscapes of “post-truth” reality in which emotions often override factual evidence. The deployment and circulation of affect and emotions within and between sites of technoscience poses an urgent challenge for STS. To make sense of this challenge, we seek to connect empirical analyses of emotions at specific sites of technoscience to theorized accounts of the affective dynamics of technoscientific society. We hope to chart elusive and elucidatory connections between sites where affect and emotion emerge as powers that shape our social worlds. The panel is open to papers that address any empirical site or historical moment. We welcome a range of theoretical approaches that address affect/emotion, for example, as flows, intensities, pulsations, embodied sensations, global networks, culturally circulated objects, socially negotiated structures, or cultural frameworks that shape our actions. Papers may address questions such as: How is affect or emotion evoked, appropriated and embraced at a particular site of science and technology? What kinds of constellations of actors and relations these affective dynamics produce? How are different sites of affect and science connected?
124. The Sensibilities of East Asian STS: Strategies, Trajectories, and Visions
Organized by: Wen-Hua Kuo, National Yang-Ming University; Michael Fischer, MIT
STS in East Asia is, in effect, theory from the Global East that has fast come to challenge, supplement, and rearrange theory from the Global North (traditional STS), theory from the Global South, postcolonial theory or subaltern studies from India, or white settler postcolonial theory from the antipodes. The historical antecedents of STS in Asia are undergoing dramatic re-narrations; they have answered contemporary needs to go beyond “methodological nationalism,” which uses zombie categories long after they have become destabilized by national boundary crossings at all scales and levels. The anthropology of STS in Asia requires new methodologies and planning orientations that acknowledge the technological and science and that entail profound changes in human-technology-nature investments. STS in Asia manifests in variegated configurations from more politicized contests in the STS communities of Korea, Taiwan, and Japan to more development-oriented dilemmas and moral contests between the common good and individual entrepreneurship in Asia, along with more integrative anthropological and historical approaches in Singapore, China, and Australia. The mission of this panel is, therefore, to make East Asia STS sensible in terms of trajectories, strategies, and visions. Expanding the critical scope of both earlier policy studies and the history of ideas and the history and philosophy of science, this panel welcomes papers that address new topics, methods, and thoughts derived from this sizeable scholarship with particular awareness that STS has become a growth field, where, as at the 4S, people from different regions and disciplines meet, converse and inspire each other.
125. Synthetic Actors: Drones, Robots and Algorithms as Sensible Interaction Partners
Organized by: Niklas Woermann, University of Southern Denmark; Karin Knorr Cetina, U Chicago
In particular situations or social settings, humans begin to encounter drones, robots, and even software algorithms as interaction partners. That is, they are being experienced, treated, or addressed as actors by everyday participants of, e.g., stock markets, robotics development labs, or UAV test facilities. This open session will be dedicated to theorizing empirical phenomena of this type. We do not intend to theoretically declare all material entities to be potential actants, or to frame all social conduct to be enmeshed into ‘ontologically flat’ actor-networks; such a move would render the particularity of these cases invisible. Instead, we aim to investigate synthetic situations (Knorr Cetina 2009) in which either screens or robotics afford the response presence of not only human interaction partners, but also software or machines. Actorship and the experience of being-in-interaction are thus tied to the situation, and are structured by its organization, temporality, and regime of attention. We call for empirical and theoretical papers investigating the forms, effects, structures, or problems of mediated, robotic, or synthetic situations that afford interaction or synthetic actors.
126. Techno-Jobs and Capital
Organized by: Winifred Poster, Washington University; Norma Möllers, Queen’s University
STS has a long tradition of inquiring about techno-work and providing foundations for studies of locality, partiality, contingency, and agency. Less attention is paid to the connections of techno-jobs to the systems of political economy in which they are embedded. The goal of this track is to encourage explicit discussion of the ways these new jobs are shaped by and sustain capital, and how they relate to broader shifts in the organization of labor and workers. We emphasize how this applies to both elite and subordinate types of techno-labor. It includes high-status jobs like the entrepreneurs and evangelists who market and distribute technical products for firms and nations, software coders who are bound by corporate non-compete contracts, techno-venture firms that are scrutinized for under-employing women, high-tech developers that rely on immigrant labor and the ‘body shopping’ practices of intermediary contracting firms, etc. It also includes a growing sector of middle and low status workers like the data janitors who clean up the internet, senior citizen ‘workampers’ who travel in their RV’s to labor at Amazon.com warehouses, manual workers who dispose of our phones and laptops, etc. We welcome papers that engage issues such as: transnational and post-colonial labor dynamics; techno-venture capitalists; R&D labor; crowdsourcing and micro-labor; outsourcing; sharing economies; creative, media, and game labor; automation; bot labor; algorithmic controls of labor; consumer labor; maintenance, repair, and care; labors of techno-waste and breakdown; racialized, gender, queer, and (dis)abled inequalities of technical labor; and digital strategies within the labor movement.
127. ‘Make Do and Mend’: How to Prepare for a “Post-Solar Flare Future” with and by Collaborative Practices
Organized by: Yana Boeva, York University; Leo Matteo Bachinger, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
The technological promises and desires to cure and solve instabilities in societies and systems recur with every new development. Nonetheless, contemporary techno-societies become ever more fragile in their dependency on global, techno-scientific infrastructures of information and communication, transportation and logistics, medicine, food production and distribution, etc. This panel assumes a highly speculative scenario: A solar flare triggering a geomagnetic storm, wiping out global(ized) electrical and communications networks on a large scale without a chance to recover it. With this narrative intervention serving as starting point, we seek to inspire questioning of globalized techno-social foundations, and their political and social dimensions. Confronted with a troubling future, this panel invites ideas for preparation, making do and mending. Extreme scenarios serve to reveal humanity’s inescapable reliance on technology in daily life, at the same time rendering us vulnerable. Narrative strategies such as this are not new to STS, related academic disciplines, or the realm of speculative fiction, and have produced a large array of countercultural ideas, guides and movements, from Steward Brand’s ‘Whole Earth Catalog’ (1968) and Buckminster Fuller’s unconventional constructions to contemporary collaborative technologies and practices involving non-experts and users. Starting from this proposition, the panel invites theoretical, empirical, artistic and speculative contributions that address everyday issues of our global techno-society implementing practices of self-sustainment such as do-it-yourself, tinkering, and care, and consider how these can generate theory through practice.
128. Can AI "Do science?"
Organized by: Yuko Murakami, Tohoku University
It is claimed that AI could replace employment in many sectors in the coming decades. What then will humans (of our next generation) work for? Creative jobs such as musicians and educators of social skills are unlikely to be replaced, but what about scientists? The question animating this session — "can AI do science?"— means to focus on the essence of scientific conduct. Can AI reasonably realize modelling and theorizing from observed data and simulations? Or will human beings still be required to do such tasks? Papers concerning the issue, especially from the approaches towards conceptualization, modelling, and simulation, are invited. Papers with online demonstration or visualizations are also welcome.
129. Internationalizing Science and Technology
Organized by: Leandro Rodriguez Medina, Universidad de las Americas Puebla
If we accept, with most STS scholarship, that science and technology are the outcome of heterogeneous networks that transcend the relatively fixed spaces where they are enacted (from laboratories to cities to national systems of innovation), then it seems difficult to consider their internationalization as a phenomenon worthy of study. Nevertheless, from pioneering works in the field, such as Shapin and Schaffer’s Leviathan and the Air Pump and Latour’s Science in Action, there is interest in exploring how knowledge changes when it travels from its place of production to others where it is used, appropriated, and eventually critically defied. In this open panel we want to analyze the current and seemingly unstoppable trend of knowledge internationalization by addressing issues such as (i) the international dimension of knowledge production in both social and natural sciences, (ii) the policies that encourage internationalization and the challenges they bring about, (iii) the effects of asymmetries in knowledge circulation, (iv) the role of materialities (e.g. instruments, standardized procedures, software, etc.) to dis/encourage internationalization, (v) the relevance of language(s), and (vi) the adaptations of researchers, research teams, and institutions to increasing pressures to internationalize their work by national and international funding agencies. We call together scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds, different geographical locations, and using a diverse range of theoretical and methodological approaches in order to problematize internationalization and to understand its macro and micro configurations.