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Call for Reviews: Volumen 5 (1): “Science, Technology, Society – and the Americas?”

Deadline: December 15 2015

Updated: November 06 2015

Technological and scientific innovations affect society. How would you access, read and process this call for CROLAR if not on a computer screen? Through webpages, email, and social networks, we are able to distribute information in an instant, to connect with people across spatial and social boundaries, to maintain personal bonds and to create collectives that transcend the online/offline division. At the same time, technological and scientific innovations also dissolve collectivity and dis-connect people. New and old forms of exclusion and discrimination are (re-)produced along the lines of age, gender, race, class, or geographical location. Re/configurations of the social through science and technology have been studied for a wide range of subjects – from the mundane world of domestic appliances such as Cowan’s “Where the Refrigerator Got its Hum” (Cowan 1985), through to the futuristic public transport project of Latour’s Aramis (Latour 1996), all the way to “Seeing like a Rover” on Mars (Vertesi 2012). Beginning with the work of Robert Merton in the 1940s in which he analysed science as a social institution (Merton 1973), this field has since developed into a heterogeneous set of studies focusing on the various relations between science and technology, and society.

Instead of assuming that innovations or paradigmatic changes occur out of nothing, these scholars increasingly combine perspectives from the fields of anthropology, sociology, political science, philosophy, history and communication studies to account for the complex constellations of actors behind processes such as scientific ‘discoveries’ and technological inventions. Criticising and adding to these perspectives, feminist and postcolonial authors like Donna Haraway, Karen Barad, Helen Verran, and Sandra Harding have pointed us to the power-asymmetries and unequal distributions of agency amongst those actors. In the meantime, Latin America was developing its own studies into the rapport between society and science and technologies, spurred by scientists and engineers concerned with the disconnect between the knowledge being produced locally and the influence and pressures from the global North (Kreimer 2007). More recently, research concerned with social inequality in Latin America has developed new concepts such as “social technologies” (tecnologías sociales), technologies dedicated to resolving social or environmental problems (Thomas 2011). Perhaps ironically, research such as Thomas’ and other Latin-American authors’ are outnumbered in mainstream academic journals of the field in favor of publications and projects that focus on social and techno-scientific processes in the US and Europe.

This Volume of CROLAR asks about the other part of the Americas: What can authors from the global North learn from the rich and long-standing tradition of research at the intersection of technology/science and social inequality, politics, or activism from or about Latin America? We are calling for reviews on recent publications that develop a critical perspective on the influence of technology and science on society – or vice versa! We are especially interested in reviews that interrogate the potential of those studies for countering social and political inequalities by making knowledges that have long-time been exclusively shared among “experts” in the natural sciences available to a broader public. In addition to traditional single-book reviews, this volume features a new CROLAR-format of review articles with a thematic focus. These reviews should cover 3-5 books on current debates or a given topic. We are also actively encouraging reviews on works that transcend the limits of academic production, aimed at a larger audience and related to current events. They will be published in the section “interventions” and may include reviews of works by journalists, activists, practitioners, artists and others. For this particular section we suggest reviewers to write about projects that do not have a book format, such as documentaries, blogs, websites and artistic projects.

Reviews must be sent before December 15th, 2015. Publication is planned for April 2016. Please get back to us as soon as possible so we can organize the volume and the ordering of review copies via CROLAR. Reviews might be written in English, German, Portuguese, or Spanish. Ideally, the review should be in a different language than the reviewed publication or project. The section policies and formal requirements for the reviews can be found at the website.

We are looking forward to reading from you! If you are interested in writing a review or have any other suggestions or questions please contact the editors of the volume: Laura Kemmer (laura.kemmer[at] and Raquel Velho (raquel.velho.12[at]

CROLAR is an online review journal offering critical reviews of recently published writings on Latin America, founded in July 2012 and domiciled at the Institute for Latin American Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. It is an interdisciplinary journal embracing contributions on literary studies, history, sociology, economics, anthropology and political science. It is an open access and free to use journal. CROLAR is published twice a year and multilingual since July 2012.

Cowan, Ruth Schwartz. 1985. "How the refrigerator got its hum." In The Social Shaping of Technology, edited by Donald MacKenzie and Judy Wajcman, 202-218. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Kreimer, Pablo. 2007. "Social Studies of Science and Technology in Latin America: A Field in the Process of Consolidation." Science, Technology & Society 12 (1).

Latour, Bruno. 1996. Aramis, or, The love of technology. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Merton, Robert K. 1973. The sociology of science: Theoretical and empirical investigations: University of Chicago press.

Thomas, Hernán. 2011. "Tecnologías sociales y ciudadanía socio-técnica: notas para la construcción de la matriz material de un futuro viable." Ciência & Tecnologia Social 1 (1).

Vertesi, Janet. 2012. "Seeing like a Rover: Visualization, embodiment, and interaction on the Mars Exploration Rover Mission." Social Studies of Science 42 (3):393-414.