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Newsletter of the Society for Social Studies of Science

Winter 1998, Volume 11, Number 1 
Managing Editor: Jongwon Park, Executive Editors: John Hultberg, Merle Jacob

Editorial 4S/ESAC Annual Meeting
Calls for Papers
Workshops and Conferences
Grants and Fellowship
Listserves and Online Resources
General Announcement
Fieldnotes: Captivity and Commitment by Brian Martin
Opinion: Mourning Technology Review by Dick Sclove
Minutes of the 4S Council and BusinessMeeting: October 22, 1997


Technoscience and the 4S community have made it to another year. Judging from the number of notices, etc. in this issue, 1998 promises to be busier than ever. Before we go forward with this year's challenges we would like to take a brief moment to thank Jennifer Croissant on behalf of the whole 4S community for her excellent organisation of the Tucson, Arizona meeting. The meeting went off without a hitch and the weather cooperated for most of the time. Congratulations on a job excellently done, Jennifer!

The conference once again showed us what a diverse field the 4S covers. More and more it becomes obvious that, although trying to be openminded and interested in everything, one follows a certain track of sessions. Soon we will probably be forced to have sub-conferences in order to facilitate all directions. So what was new within science studies? Where is the field going? What are the big issues about? We will return in the next issue with a report from Tucson, for those of you who cannot wait check the March update of the website.

We would also like to welcome Gary Bowden and Richard Hadden, organisers for the joint 4S/ESAC meeting in Halifax, Canada and wish them the best of luck in their preparations for the meeting. If the initial soundings are anything to go by, it seems that Halifax is off to a flying start. Check out the website at [http://plant.mta.ca/~ssss/] and DO NOT FORGET to send in abstracts and proposals for sessions (see announcements in this issue).

For those STSers still interested in the nuts and bolts of science policy, the recently held Triple Helix II conference at Purchase, NY organized by Henry Etzkowitz and Loet Leydesdorff was the place to be in January this year. The conference was attended by people from all around the globe discussing the interrelationship between academy-industry-state. If you missed the conference, you can still read some of the papers and get a feel for what happended by checking out their homepage [http://www.chem.uva.nl/sts/loet/th2/index.htm]. While you are surfing stop by and check out TECHNOSCIENCE's web site, from March we will have updates every six weeks. There are no employables in this issue, we are still running this column but no one is sending us stuff.

You can contact us at: John Hultberg, Associate Professor, Center for Higher Education and Research, University College of Health and Caring Sciences, Box 190 95, S-400 12 Gothenburg, Sweden, Tel: 46-31-778-6419, Fax: 46-31-167252 Web: [http://viktor.ufhs.gu.se] E-mail: [john.hultberg@ufhs.gu.se]

Merle Jacob, Research Fellow, Department of Theory of Science and Research, Göteborgs University, PO Box 200, 405 30 Göteborg, SWEDEN, Tel: 46-31-773-1920 Fax: 46-31-773-4723 E-mail: [biosphere@vest.gu.se] Opinion pieces, conference reports, ideas for debates, and critical commentaries should be sent to us directly.

More routine announcements should be sent to the managing editor, Jongwon Park, School of Public Policy, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA 30332-0345, USA. Fax:404-894-0535. E-Mail: [Technoscience@mgt-sun2.iac.gatech.edu]

As you will see on the back of this issue, it is now possible for non-US residents with a VISA credit card to apply for membership to 4S by e-mail. It is also the address that members should use to make inquiries about their subscriptions and notify the society about changes of address: [acadsvc@aol.com]. Subscribers to 4S automatically receive Technoscience (3/yr) and the society journal, Science, Technology & Human Values (4/yr).

To find out the latest on the burning issues and breaking news in the world of science studies, subscribe to the sci-tech-studies network. To do so, send a message of 'subscribe sts YOURNAME' to [mailserv@cctr.umkc.edu]. To send a message to the network, post it to [sts@cctr.umkc.edu].

Readers of Technoscience are hereby permitted to reprint any articles in this (and other issues) for educational purposes.

4S/ESAC Annual Meeting

October 28 - November 1, 1998

Halifax, Canada

Conference Website: [http://plant.mta.ca/~ssss/]

CALL FOR PAPERS, 4S/ESAC 1998 Annual Meeting to be in Halifax, Canada, Gary Bowden, 4S/ESAC Program Chair for 1998. While most 4S members are still reminiscing about the 1997 meeting in Tucson, those of us on the Program Committee for the 1998 meeting have already begun our work. At this time we are ready to announce a call for papers for the 1998 annual meeting to be held Wednesday, October 28 to Sunday, November 1, 1998 in Halifax, Canada. Even before the program has begun to take shape, there are several reasons we expect the 1998 meeting to be an especially memorable one. The first is the location. Halifax is a port city, located on the eastern seaboard of Canada, noted both for its history and its seafood. As the leaders of the industrialized world recently discovered when Halifax hosted a G7 Summit, it has the amenities of a big city while retaining both the scale and the charm of a small town. Since the conference will be held at the centrally located Hotel Halifax, everything will be within easy walking distance. In addition, the direct flights from various European cities to Halifax should make the conference particularly appealing to our European members. The second reason for our excitement is more substantive. In his chapter in the Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, Stephen Yearley argued that the environment should be made a focal point for research in science studies, similar to laboratory ethnographies or replication studies. With the aim of furthering this agenda, the Program Committee is proud to announce that the Environmental Studies Association of Canada (ESAC) has agreed to act as a joint sponsor for the conference. The theme for the conference, "Science, Technology, and the Rise of Nature" aims to explore the interface between science, technology, and environmental issues. Equally as important, the arrangement with ESAC marks a new direction in inter-society relations for 4S. In the past 4S has jointly held annual meetings with other societies (like PSA, HSS, SHOT and EASST) that also cast their gaze upon science and technology. The current arrangement, however, involves an interdisciplinary society of social scientists and humanists interested in environmental issues. Hopefully this model, i.e., forging a relationship with another society around a particular theme of substantive relevance to both, will prove so successful that future Program Committees will aim to emulate it. While papers related to the conference theme are certainly encouraged, papers dealing with any subject within the broad scope of science and technology studies are suitable. Abstracts must be typed and should be between 300-500 words in length. The following information should be included: title of the paper, name, present institutional affiliation (if any), preferred mailing address, work and home phone numbers, fax number and email. Send this information to Dr. Richard Hadden, Department of Sociology, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 3C3. Abstracts may also be submitted via fax [(902) 420-5121] or email [rhadden@shark.stmarys.ca]. Abstracts must be received by Friday, February 20, 1998. Please note that, in an attempt to get an earlier fix upon the expected attendance, the due date for abstracts is relatively early this year. Individuals can, if they desire, organize entire sessions on their own and submit that information to the above address. The committee is very excited about the Halifax meeting, and we look forward to receiving your abstract.


EASST '98 GENERAL CONFERENCE, SECOND ANNOUNCEMENT, "CULTURES OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. EUROPE AND THE GLOBAL CONTEXT" EASST General Conference, ISCTE, Lisbon, 30 September - 3 October, 1998. Deadline for Abstracts, Feb. 28, 1998. The First Call for Sessions Organisers for EASST '98 met with a very positive and stimulating response. Almost fifty scholars volunteered to organise sessions, and more than forty topics were suggested for discussion. The Programme Committee for EASST'98 is now in the process of analysing and integrating these proposals with a view to building up the preliminary programme for the Conference. Topics suggested up to now include: international policies for science and technology at the European and national levels; European science and globalization; research collaboration and networking across national borders; public sector research; political sociology of large technical systems; health and technology, public understanding, expert, and public participation in European decision-making; controversies studies; gender and STS; interdisciplinary research for sustainable development; technology studies; the virtual society; social problems and STS; technological development and (un)employment; environmental issues and STS; STS and the Third World; urban planning, transportation; science and technology in contemporary art; history and sociology of the sciences; epistemics and cross-disciplinary dialogues among the social and the hard sciences. Abstracts for papers under these topics, as well as suggestions for other topics within the broader field of the social studies of science, should be submitted to the Local Organising Committee (see address below) until the 28th of February 1998. Abstracts (maximum one page) should include title, name of author/s, and the respective institutional affiliations, as well as postal address, telephone, fax, and e-mail. Following the reception of abstracts, the Local Organising Committee will convey them to Sessions Organisers for examination. The latter should thereafter inform the Programme Committee of the programme for the session, including abstract of session, title of presentations, speakers, discussants and chairperson. The First full draft of the programme will be available in April 1998. For further information contact: EASST'98 Conference, Local Organising Committee, (c/o Prof. Maria Eduarda Gonçalves) ISCTE, Avenida das Forgas Armadas, 1600 Lisboa, Portugal, E-mail: [EASST98@iscte.pt] Fax: (351.1) 796 47 10 [http://www.chem.uva.nl/easst]

Call for Papers for Anthology entitled Accounts of Transformation: Reflections on the Mode 2 Debate. Abstracts are invited for an anthology on the above subject. Abstracts should be 100-150 words in length and should be submitted by March 21st. 1998. Contact Persons: Merle Jacob, [biosphere@vest.gu.se] Tomas Hellström [tomas@vest.gu.se]

Journal of Information Technology, Special Issue - Call for Papers on Interpretive Research in Information Systems, Joint Editors for the Special Issue: Michael D. Myers, and Geoff Walsham. Deadline: February 10, 1998. Further information is given below and can be obtained at [http://www.auckland.ac.nz/msis/isworld/jit/journal.htm] With increasing interest in qualitative or "intensive" research within the information systems community, this special issue is devoted specifically to interpretive research. Interpretive research can be distinguished from other kinds of research by the underlying philosophical assumptions that guide the work. Interpretive studies generally attempt to understand phenomena through the meanings that people assign to them and interpretive methods of research in IS are "aimed at producing an understanding of the context of the information system, and the process whereby the information system influences and is influenced by the context" (Walsham 1993, p. 4-5). Interpretive research does not predefine dependent and independent variables, but focuses on the full complexity of human sense making as the situation emerges (Kaplan and Maxwell, 1994). The aim of the special issue is to publish a set of articles that exemplify the interpretive perspective. Conceptual, methodological, and empirical studies on any substantive area in information systems will be considered. We are especially interested in manuscripts that examine the relationships between people, organizations and information technology. Authors can submit empirical papers that use any research method. Case studies, ethnographies, action research and grounded theory are all acceptable, provided that the underlying perspective is interpretive. Conceptual papers are also welcome. For further information visit our website [http://www.auckland.ac.nz/msis/isworld/] or contact, Michael D. Myers, Department of Management Science and Information Systems, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand, Tel: +64 9 3737599 ext. 7468,Fax: +64 9 3737430, Email: [m.myers@auckland.ac.nz], Geoff Walsham, The Judge Institute of Management Studies University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 1AG, United Kingdom Tel: +44 1223 339606, Fax: +44 1223 339581, Email: [gw10@eng.cam.ac.uk]

SHOT 1998, Baltimore, MD October 15-18, 1998. The program committee welcomes proposals for individual papers and sessions on topics related to all facets of the history of technology, including pre-modern themes. Proposals for individual papers must include 1) a one page abstract, and 2) a one page curriculum vitae, including current postal and e-mail address. Proposals for complete sessions must include 1) a description of the session's thesis, 2) a list of the presenters' name and paper titles, 3) a one page abstract and one page c.v. for each of the presenters; 4) a one page c.v. for the commentator, chairperson, and session organizer - if she or he is not participating in the session. The session description should indicate the individual papers' relevance to the session's thesis. Send a hard copy of the complete proposal bearing a post-mark or equivalent indication of submission date by April 10, 1997, to: Brett D. Steele, SHOT Program Chair, Department of History, 6265 Bunche Hall, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1473, Phone: (310) 825-3888, Fax: (310) 206-9630, E-mail: [bsteele@ucla.edu]

CHEIRON: The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences will hold its thirtieth annual meeting June 18-21, 1998, at the University of San Diego in San Diego, California. Program submissions (symposia, papers, and posters) may deal with any aspect of the history of the behavioral and social sciences or with related historiographical or methodological issues. Submissions must be postmarked by February 2, 1998. Travel awards are available to assist students who present papers or posters. For further information, contact Leila Zenderland, Cheiron Program Chair, Department of American Studies, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA, 92834-6868. Phone: 714-278-3800, Fax: 714-278-5820. E-mail; zenderland@fullerton.edu] Cheiron web site: [http://www.yorku.ca/dept/psych/orgs/cheiron/cheiron.htm]

Conference on the History and Heritage of Science Information Systems. The American Society for Information Science (ASIS), the ASIS Special Interest Group/ History and Foundations of Information Science (SIG/HFIS), and the Chemical Heritage Foundation announce a call for papers for the conference on the History and Heritage of Science Information Systems, to be held October 23-25, 1998 (immediately prior to the annual meeting of ASIS) in Pittsburgh, PA. This conference will explore the history and heritage of the nature, development, and influence of all types of science information systems worldwide. Abstracts of papers to be submitted are due April 1, 1998, and authors of tentatively accepted papers will be notified promptly. Full acceptance will be based on receipt of the complete paper, which should be received no later than June 1, 1998. For accepted papers, several competitive scholarships will also be available for financial support for attendance and anyone wishing to apply for these should submit a completed paper by May 15, 1998. A panel of experts will referee all submissions. All accepted papers will be published. Science information "systems" is broadly interpreted to include not only the history of specific systems and services developed for the sciences but also the ideas, concepts, and historical context affecting their development. Alternative presentation styles (such as videos, photographic exhibits, demonstration of information technologies) are encouraged. For further information, contact: Robert V. Williams, Conference Chair, College of Library and Information Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA, Phone: 803-777-2324, Fax: 803-777-7938, E-mail: [bobwill@sc.edu]


TWENTIETH CENTURY EUROPEAN NARRATIVES: TRADITION & INNOVATION Sixth Conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas (ISSEI) Haifa, Israel, 16. - 21. August 1998. Self-image and popular narrative on science, Subject of this workshop are the function, means, context, possibilities and limitations of expert knowledge and its popularization; their respective textual structures; and the self-perception and identity of the scientist contrasted by the image of science as rendered in artistic accounts, the mass media and socio-anthropological studies - today and in historic precedent. These issues shall be surveyed and scrutinized with a plurality of methods and from all conceivable disciplinary angles resulting in a novel interdisciplinary discourse at the discussions of the workshop. Experts of all fields are invited to consider potential relevance of their specialty and what it may contribute to the scope of the workshop. Hence our transactions include but shall not be limited to: -representations of the subject matter in popular press, literary fiction, motion pictures and the fine arts, -popularization as a translation problem and as autonomous discourse, -specific aspects of mass media culture, -continued adult education, -the language game of science fiction, -the sociology of the scientific enterprise, -gender aspects, -tracing the topic throughout history, -intercultural differences in management of knowledge, -authentic testimonies by practicing scientists, in particular by those of prototype "hard" natural sciences. Hence this invitation extends to: comparative literature, linguistics, semiotics, philology, history, philosophy, sociology, psychoanalysis (as generic term), cultural criticism, to educators, journalists and to scientists themselves. To receive a full program listing all workshops and registration forms contact: Mr. Tsippi Lakser, International Travel and Congress Ltd.; 9 Rothschild Blvd. POB 29313m 61292 Tel Aviv, Israel fax: +972-3-516.0604 email: [100264.2432@compuserve.com] [http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/ELEG] choose: of related interest then: ISSEI 6th International conference Please reply to [A8421DAG @ helios.edvz.UniVie.ac.at]

The sessions organized by RC23 at the XIV World Congress of Sociology of the International Sociological Association, Montreal, Canada, 26 July - 1 August, 1998, General theme: "The role of the sociology of science in the present state of science studies". 1. "Sociological theory, sociology of science and STS-studies" 2. "The contribution of the sociology of science to science and technology policy studies". 3." The relevance of the European perspective for science and technology studies". 4. " The Triple Helix of academic-industry-government relations". 5. "Do we need a separate sociology of science for the developing world?" 6. Joint session with RC24 (Environment and Society). "Contested knowledge and environmental problems: approaches from environmental sociology and the sociology of science" 7. "Globalization and localization of science and technology". 8. Joint session with RC04 (Sociology of Education). Evaluating the development of universities: approaches from the sociology of science, education and organization". 9. "Techno-nationalism in war and peace". 10. Joint session with RC02 (Economy and Society). "Dynamics of Science and Economy at the End of the Century". According to the ISA Secretariat the deadline of pre-registration for all programme participants is 31 March, 1998. Research Committee on the Sociology of Science and Technology (RC23) Secretary: Marja Alestalo, University of Helsinki, Department of Sociology, P.O.Box 18 (Unioninkatu 35), 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland. Tel. 358-9-191 23964; Fax. 358-9-191 23967 E-mail. [marja.alestalo@helsinki.fi]

A preliminary information for the 25th Symposium of the International Committee for the History of Technology (ICOHTEC) is now on line on the ICOHTEC home page at: [http://www.history.rochester.edu/icohtec/] The symposium is being organized by the Unit for the History and Philosophy of Science of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the New University of Lisbon, Portugal, and will be held in Lisbon (Caparica - south side of the Tagus), 18-22 August 1998. The general theme of the Symposium is European Technology in a Global Context. The main topics are: Technology and the Maritime Discoveries Technology and World Exhibitions, Technological Identity and Institutions Globalization Structures of Technology, Technology, Science and Economy, Technological Teaching: Comparative Perspectives The Technology and Application of Gunpowder in an International Context, Additional information will be posted as it becomes available.

Fifth International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators: Use of S&T Indicators for Science Policy and Decision-Making, The Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), University of Leiden (The Netherlands), in association with the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex (UK), are organising the Fifth International S&T Indicators Conference from 4 to 6 June 1998 in Hinxton near Cambridge. A welcoming party will be organised on the evening of 3 June. Previous conferences have been held in Leiden, Bielefeld and Antwerp. The general scope of this conference can be characterised under three themes: the application of science and technology indicators in science policy issues at an international, national or strategic level; the use of such indicators for decision-making at an intermediate level and for the award of research grants to individuals; the development of new science and technology indicators and the improvement of existing ones. The conference will focus particularly on the potential use of S&T indicators for informed debate and decision-making. Detailed information on the conference can be obtained from: Mrs. Christine Ibler-Alkemade, Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) University of Leiden, Postbus 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, The Netherlands, Tel: ++31 71 527 3909, Fax: ++31 71 527 3911,E-mail: [conf@cwts.leidenuniv.nl] [http://Sahara.fsw.Leidenuniv.nl/S&Tconference/Home.Html]

American Sociological Association 1998, Annual Meeting, August 21-25. 1998, San Francisco, Theme: Inequality and Social Policy: A challenge for sociology. Some sessions of interest and contact information is listed below, * Technology and Society Fredrick W Buttel, Department of Rural Sociology, University of Wisconsin, 1450 Linden Drive, Rm. 350, Madison, WI 53706; (608) 262-7156; [buttel@ssc.wisc.edu] * Sociology of Knowledge and Intellectuals, Michele Lamont, Department of Sociology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08540; (609) 258 4538 [mlamont@princeton.edu] *Gender Issues Elizabeth(Almquist) Esterchild, Department of Sociology, Box 3675, University of North Texas, Denton, TX 76203; (940) 565 2289. * Applied Research and Evaluation, Andrew A Beveridge, 50 Merriam Avenue, Bronxville, NY 10708-2335; (718) 997 2837; Further information is available at [http://www.asanet.org] or from ASA Meeting Services, Fax (202) 785 0146, Tel. (202) 833 3410, x305

May 3-6, 1998 National Conference on Environmental Decision making (NCEDR) Knoxville, TN. Contact: UT Conferences, NCEDR Conferences, PO Box 2468, 600 Henley Street, Suite 212, Knoxville, TN 37901-2648; (423) 974-0280; Fax (423) 974 0290; e mail; [ces@gateway.-ce.utk.edu]

SLAHCT Congress in Rio (July 1998), the "Science and Empire" commission of the Division of History of Science (International Union of Philosophy and History of Science) will organize a symposium. Dhruv Raina. (NISTADS, New Delhi), Heloisa Bertol Domingues (MAST, Rio) and Patrick Petitjean (CNRS, Paris) will be in charge of this symposium. Any interested scholar should get in touch with: [dhruv@csnistad.ren.nic.in] (Dhruv Raina), [isadom@omega.lncc.br] (Heloisa Maria Bertol Domingues), [ppjean@paris7.jussieu.fr] (Patrick Petitjean), Title of the symposium : Colonial and imperial science revisited

CSI/WTMC WORKSHOP, Theorizing Bodies in Medical Practices, SEPTEMBER 9-11, 1998, PARIS. The Paris Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation (CSI) The Netherlands Graduate School of Science, Technology and Modern Culture (WTMC) 'The body' is at the center of revived attention in the social sciences and humanities. Medical sociology has 'rediscovered' the body, feminist theory has put the construction of 'sex' center stage, and several authors are arguing that social theory in general should be re-centered around the notion of 'embodiment' or a similar notion. Within the realm of science and technology studies, the 'body' has also received some attention, but relatively less so. Two tendencies seem to be prevalent in current theories of the body. One which puts an a-historical 'body' center-stage (through an alignment with classic phenomenology, for instance). Here, we are reminded of the constituent role that 'our' anatomy and physiology play in core social categories as 'the self' and 'society'. Yet the lived body that is brought in to inhabit and ground these categories is the non-problematized, biological 'fact' of evolution. It is this biological universal that then 'provides the foundational potentialities upon which endless cultural practices can be erected' (B. Turner 1992). Here are interesting but hard to tackle theoretical issues at stake for STS researchers: how to do justice to both the materiality of the body and to the central insight that corporeality cannot be but a historically specific notion? How to conceptualize the 'body' within our vocabularies that speak of 'humans' and 'non-humans' that interrelate; of 'objects' and 'subjects' - however contingent, emergent and co-produced? Do we need to extend our vocabularies, or does theorizing the 'body' require a wholly different approach? Other theoretical questions that cut through current STS debates are the relations between core notions as 'self', 'subject' and 'body', and the question whether 'the body' is a meaningful concept or unit of analysis in the first place. To narrow down this broad range of topics, we would like to focus on medical practices. Please send all queries, applications ELECTRONICALLY to one of the organizers: Madeleine Akrich [akrich@csi.ensmp.fr], Marc Berg [marc.berg@gw.unimaas.nl]

The final program and registration form for the HOPOS (History of Philosophy of Science 98), March 12-15, 1998 at The University of Notre Dame, are now available. Questions? Call (219) 631-6691 Center for Continuing Education fax number (219) 631-8083, Box 1008 E-mail: [cce.1@nd.edu] Notre Dame, IN 46556

This year's 1998 European Graduate Summer School in STS will be held on 17-21 August 1998. The theme for this year's conference is Science, Politics and the Law. Sheila Jasanoff (Cornell) will be the key resource person. Participants who are members of EASST can participate at a reduced rate. This reduced rate also applies to foreign participants from institutions that participate in European exchange programs in STS (like NECSTS, ESST, and TSAST). Scholarships: WTMC offers stipends of DFL 400,- for promising young foreign scholars who do not have sufficient means to cover the costs of their participation. Travel Stipends: To qualify for a travel stipend, the participant shall present a paper at the summer school. Send abstract and one letter of recommendation from an established scholar in the field to Rob Hagendijk. Letters of application for the summer school should include a short C.V. and a description of one's research. In order to qualify for a reduced rate or a stipend the letter of application should contain the relevant information about one's research, institutional affiliation and/or EASST-membership. If one applies for a WTMC stipend a letter of recommendation from a senior scholar in the STS field is required. For applications, stipends and further information please contact Rob Hagendijk, Dept. Science & Technology Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1018 WV Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Tel 31-20-525-6898, fax 31-20-525-6579, email [a498rob@horus.sara.nl] Application deadline: June 1, 1998.

The Human Genome Project: Science, Law, and Social Change in the 21th century. Sponsored by the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Association with the American Society of Law, Medicine, & Ethics. April 23-24, 1998. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Plenary Sessions; The information revolution in genetics, Privacy and genetic discrimination-effects on individuals and society, altering genes in individuals and populations, society responds to the genomics revolution. For a meeting brochure, call, write, or e-mail: Gus Cervini, Office of Public Affairs, Whitehead Institute, 9 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA, 02142, 617-258-0633, e-mail [cervini@wi.mit.edu]


The Societal Dimensions of Engineering, Science, and Technology program - Ethics and Values Studies, and Research on Science and Technology, in the Division of Social, Behavioral and Economic Research, at NSF is issuing a call for proposals for the February 1, 1998 target date. Information about the program and submission procedures can be found at [http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/sber/sdest] You can also get an electronic copy of the announcement by sending an e-mail message to [getpub@nsf.gov]. In the text of the message, write "get nsf9728.txt" and it will be sent to you. Once you have reviewed the material, if you have ideas that you wish to discuss, contact program directors Rachelle Hollander or John Perhonis, NSF, Room 995, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230. Telephone: 703-306-1743. Fax: 703-306-0485 or 0486. E-mail: [rholland@nsf.gov] or [jperhoni@nsf.gov]. The program has approximately $1 million to support awards from the proposals submitted.

The Chemical Heritage Foundation invites applications for its first Gordon Cain Fellowship in Technology, Policy, and Entrepreneurship for the 1998-1999 academic year. The inaugural Gordon Cain Fellow in Technology, Policy, and Entrepreneurship will have the task of researching and writing a paper, suitable for publication, on the different ways historical study of chemical industries can nourish a better understanding of effective strategy in technology, policy, and entrepreneurship. For example, how can the disciplines of history of science and technology, of economics, of public policy, and of business throw light on the historical study of chemical industry? The successful candidate for the Gordon Cain Fellowship in Technology, Policy, and Entrepreneurship should have a Ph.D. or equivalent in hand at the time of application and not be more than eight years past the doctoral degree. Applications should include a complete CV, the addresses and phone numbers of three references, and a proposal of 500-1000 words outlining the applicant's conception of the current intellectual territory surrounding issues of economics, policy, and entrepreneurship as they surround historical study of the chemical industries, giving specific suggestions of productive areas for inquiry. The Fellowship carries a stipend of $50,000 plus a small continuing award for research expenses and travel to allow the Cain Fellow to return to the Chemical Heritage Foundation periodically after the initial term. Applications should be addressed to Leo B. Slater, Cain Fellowship in Technology, Policy, and Entrepreneurship, The Chemical Heritage, Foundation, 315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106-2702. The deadline for application is 28 February 1998.

Applications invited for the 1998-99 Othmer Post-Doctoral Fellowship. The Othmer Post-Doctoral Fellow will spend 9 months in residence at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF), making use of CHF's Othmer Library of Chemical History for research surrounding issues of business history, specifically concerning one of the following fields: pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, or biotechnology. The fellowship provides a monthly stipend, as well as a travel allowance. Applicants should have a Ph.D. or equivalent, and an established academic interest in business history. Applicants must include a complete CV, the address and phone numbers of three references, and a description (no more than 1000 words) of the research project and its purpose. For preferential treatment, applications must be submitted by February 28, 1998 to Dr. Leo B. Slater, Chemical Heritage Foundation, 315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, phone (215) 925-2222 ext. 224; fax(215)925-1954.


Tenure Track appointment, 1998-99 - Science Education, York University, North York, Ontario, Canada, Salary: Not Specified CLOSING DATE: 15 February 1998. Applications are invited for a newly created position in Science Education. The successful candidate will have: a strong basic education in one of the science disciplines as well as in Education, and, will have engaged in scholarly work in relevant areas such as philosophy, curriculum or policy of science education, teaching/learning/assessment, or the relationship of science, technology and society. Experience in teaching and conducting research on science curriculum, pedagogy, assessment or the use of technology in science education is desirable, as is experience in a multicultural context. The candidate will have completed a doctorate and present evidence of broad engagement with the study and practices associated with the vacancy. While preference will be given to appointments at the Assistant Professor level, initial rank and salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. The appointment would normally commence 1 September 1998. A detailed letter of application should address your qualifications and research in relation to the advertised position and to the context described above. Submit your curriculum vitae, one or two samples of your scholarly writing, and the names/addresses of three or more potential referees to: Science Education Selection Committee c/o Dean Stan Shapson, Faculty of Education, S853 Ross, York University, 4700 Keele Street, North York, Ontario, Canada, M3J-IP3 FAX: 416-736-5609 or 416-736-5913 [bmerri@edu.yorku.ca] Bev Merriman, Secretary to Committee)

Post-Doctoral Fellowship, University of Minnesota. The Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota, will have a one-year post-doctoral fellowship available beginning July 1998. The goal of the fellowship is to foster scholarship and career advancement in the field of bioethics. The award will be $27,000. Research may be conceptual/ philosophical, policy analysis, empirical, or a combination of approaches. Applications must be submitted by February 16 1998. For application forms contact the Center for Bioethics at 612-624-9440; Fax 612-624-9108. Email [vange001@tc.umn.edu]. Information about the Center for Bioethics is available at the following web address: [http://www.med.umn.edu/bioethics/]

LECTURESHIP IN SCIENCE STUDIES, LANCASTER UNIVERSITY: Centre for Science Studies and Science Policy Salary: 21,894 pounds - 27,985 pounds. This full-time permanent post is tenable as soon as possible after 1 April 1998 in the Centre for Science Studies and Science Policy - a research institute with an extensive graduate programme. Applicants should have an established research record and graduate teaching experience. A capacity for developing connections between science studies, wider social, political and cultural theory, and/or the production of knowledge is advantageous. Informal enquiries to Elizabeth Shove or Brian Wynne (tel +44 (0)1524 594610 or e-mail: e.shove@lancaster.ac.uk). For an application form apply to Personnel Services quoting reference, answerphone + 44 (0)1524 846549, e-mail: [personnel@lancaster.ac.uk]. Closing date: 23rd February 1998.

Professor of Social Policy: School of Education, Politics and Social Science, South Bank University, London, London, UK. Salary is negotiable on the professorial scale. South Bank University is a dynamic institution at the heart of London, only minutes away from the professional, social and cultural facilities of the capital.The University has an ongoing commitment to the development and expansion of its research profile. The post will provide challenging opportunities for suitably qualified candidates who are prepared to play a full part in the academic life of the University. The University is seeking outstanding candidates for a Chair in Social Policy to contribute to academic and research leadership in a lively and successful school. The School was awarded a 4 in the 1996 Research Assessment Exercise for its submission in Social Policy, with a major contribution from Sociology - the highest awarded to a new University in these subjects. Candidates in any area of specialism will be considered, but the School has particular interests in health policy, education policy, welfare reforms, racial exclusion and family policy. Candidates are strongly urged to make informal enquiries to Professor Jeffrey Weeks, Head of School, on 0171 815 5736. An application form and further details are available from: Human Resources Department South Bank University, 103 Borough Road, London, SE1 0AA. Telephone: 0171 815 6223 (24 hour answering service) or e-mail: [wilkinla@sbu.ac.uk]. Please quote reference LPSS10. Closing date for applications: 20 February 1998. An Equal Opportunities Employer. A charity serving the community through excellence in teaching and research. The University of Choice



Changing Life: Genomes, Ecologies, Bodies, Commodities, Edited by, Peter J. Taylor, Saul E. Halfon, Paul N. Edwards, University of Minnesota Press (1-800-621-2736) 240 pages. Cultural Politics Series, Volume 13, $19.95 Paper ISBN 0-8166-3013-5 $49.95 Cloth ISBN 0-8166-3012-7, September 1997. Tel: 1-800-621-2736. In laboratories all over the world, life-even the idea of life-is changing. And with these changes, whether they result in square tomatoes or cyborgs, come transformations in our social order-sometimes welcome, sometimes troubling, depending on where we stand. Changing Life offers a close look at how the mutable forms and concepts of life link the processes of science to those of information, finance, and commodities. The contributors, drawn from disciplines within science and technology studies and from geography, ecology, and developmental biology, provide a range of interpretive angles on the metaphors, narratives, models, and practices of the life sciences. Their essays-about planetary management and genome sequencing, ecologies and cyborgs-address actual and imagined transformations at the center and at the margins of transnational relations, during the post-Cold War era and in times to come. They consider such topics as the declining regulatory state, ascendant transnational networks, and capital's legal reign over intellectual property, life-form patents, and marketable pollution licenses. Changing Life argues that we cannot understand the power of the life sciences in modern society without exploring the intersections of science and technology with other cultural realms. To that end, this book represents a collective attempt to join the insights of science and technology studies and cultural studies. As a work of cultural politics, it makes a contribution to changing life in a context of changing social order. Contributors: Simon Cole, Cornell U; Scott Gilbert, Swarthmore College; Herbert Gottweis, U of Salzburg; Yrjö Haila, U of Tampere, Finland; Rosaleen Love, Victoria U of Technology, Melbourne, Australia; and Richard A. Schroeder, Rutgers.


A Ph.D. student in France has applied all the latest postmodern theories and more than a hint of positivist methodology to understand STS discourse -- specifically, the internet debate that began in Fall 1994 on the sci-tech-studies listserv at the start of the Science Wars. Where were you when the first reviews of Higher Superstition came out? What did you think of Harry Collins' refusal to share a stage with Lewis Wolpert at British Association for the Advancement of Science meetings? Did you show up to the Durham conference that first brought together scientists with their sociological despisers? And what about Sharon Traweek's deconstruction of one of Steve Fuller's messages? You can now relive those memories in the latest issue of the journal, The Information Society (vol. 13, no. 4: October-December 1997). The article in question is 'Social dynamics of an online scholarly dispute', by Philippe Hert. You can find out more about the journal and its contents at [http://www.slis.indiana.edu/TIS]. Even if science studies never establishes proper objects of inquiry, its practitioners can at least rest assured that they themselves are such objects for the inquiries of others.

Technology Analysis & Strategic Management is a quarterly international refereed research journal, linking the analysis of science and technology with the strategic needs of policy makers and management. The journal presents research on the analysis and assessment of technologies, their impacts and potentialities, and the creation of methodological tools for the identification and analysis of key scientific and technological developments. The scope of the journal extends from technological issues and questions at the corporate and organizational level, through the intermediate levels of the firm and state/ national capabilities and supranational capabilities, as far as issues of technological geopolitics. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management also promotes strategic thinking about how science and technology can be exploited industrially. For submission information, including a copy of the notes for contributors, please telephone, fax, or e-mail the Editor: Professor Harry Rothman, Faculty of Economics and Social Science, Centre for Science & Technology Policy, University of the West of England, Coldharbour Lane, Frenchay, Bristol BS 16 1QY, UK. Tel: +44(0)117 965 6261, Fax: +44 (0) 117 976 3870, E-mail: [h-rothman@uwe.ac.uk] For more information visit: [http://www.carfax.co.uk/tas-ad.htm]

PROMETHEUS: The journal of issues in technological change, innovation, information economics, communications and science policy. The aim of Prometheus is to publish high quality peer reviewed research papers and contributions to national and international policy debate relating to issues in technological change, innovation, information economics, and telecommunications and science policy. Contributions on historical aspects are welcome. The journal is interdisciplinary and seeks to act as a bridge between disciplines, as well as between scholarly work and the policy process. Articles have covered subjects as diverse as job creation in high technology industries and road transport informatics. A series of special country reports have covered the Japanese innovation system, Korean industrial policy, the promotion of sophisticated technology in Israel, science and technology in modern China, telework in New Zealand, and the transfer of industrial technology to the Western Pacific. Manuscripts of articles and notes should be sent to Dr. Donald Lamberton, General Editor, Prometheus, Urban Research Program, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, Camberra ACT 0200, Australia, Tel: +61 (0)2 6249 3884, Fax: +61 (0)2 6249 0312, E-mail: [donald.lamberton@anu.edu.au] For more information visit: [http://www.carfax.co.uk/tas-ad.htm]


The WWW Virtual Library for the History of Science has recently undergone a much-needed major overhaul. The site has been completely redesigned, new sites have been added, and dead links removed. Check it out at: [http://www.asap.unimelb.edu.au/hstm/hstm_ove.htm]

SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION AND TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE PAPERS AVAILABLE ONLINE, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in collaboration with the Association of Research Libraries, is pleased to announce the availability of selected papers from the conference, Scholarly Communication and Technology. The two-day conference, organized by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and held at Emory University in April 1997, brought together technologists, publishers, librarians, and scholars to discuss the changing nature of scholarly communication in the electronic environment. The papers can be accessed via the ARL web site at: [http://arl.cni.org/scomm/ scat/index.html] Issues under discussion during this two-day event included, the economics of electronic scholarly publishing, incorporating technology into academia, the future of consortia and access versus ownership, electronic content licensing, and updates on several electronic scholarly initiatives, such as the Columbia University Online Books Project, Project Muse at Johns Hopkins University, and JSTOR. For further information please contact: Richard Ekman [re@mellon.org] Patricia Brennan [patricia@arl.org]

HYLE An International Journal for the Philosophy of Chemistry is now available with full online text at: [http://www.uni-karlsruhe.de/~philosophie/hyle.html] HYLE is distributed non-commercially. If you have an interest in philosophical topics of chemistry, you are recommended to subscribe to HYLE (free of charge!), in order to receive regular informations off-list. Dr. Joachim Schummer Institute of Philosophy, University of Karlsruhe Postfach 69 80, D-76128 Karlsruhe, GERMANY [Joachim.Schummer@geist-soz.uni-karlsruhe.de]

The Swif-Sito Web Italiano per la Filosofia - [http://lgxserver.uniba.it/lei/swif.htm] offers now two new services: 1) (what we hope is) the most complete list of web sites dedicated to specific philosophers, from A to Z. Please, let us know if there is someone missing. 2) the European mirror site of Suber's (USA) and Alexander's (Australia) Guides to Philosophical Sites on the Web. The SWIF is constantly looking for new collaborators to edit specific pages or projects. We wish to remind you that the SWIF is organising a new free service called Philoteso, the international FTP archive and webliography for PHIlosophy and LOgic TEaching SOftware. Authors of computer-aided learning software for philosophy or logic courses (including the history of philosophy) and text-based computer-aided instructions programs, in any language, are invited to make available - links to their pages or - freeware - shareware - demos of their products via Philoteso. For further information, please contact [floridi@ermine.ox.ac.uk] The archive will also contain a list of links to sites where teaching software is already available. Please, send an email with the url for inclusion. The Swif - Sito Web Italiano per la Filosofia [http://lgxserver.uniba.it/lei/swif.htm] Tutorial Page: [http://users.ox.ac.uk/~floridi/Index.htm] Email: [Luciano.Floridi@philosophy.ox.ac.uk] Tel.: +44/(0) 1865/274137 Fax: +44/(0)1865/274125, Mail address: Wolfson College, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX2 6UD, UK SWIF Editor

OUTBREAK, which started life as the Ebola Page, has a mission to bring information on agents of serious disease, such as Ebola virus, to the general public. It tries to make this information both scientifically accurate and easily understandable. Given the developing situation in the Middle East, we feel now may be a good time to add some information on a number of other agents to the site. These are agents which have been used, or may be used, in chemical and biological warfare attacks, or in terrorist attacks. You will remember the episode in 1995 when a Japanese cult released sarin gas in the Tokyo subway. On the new pages you will find information on sarin, VX gas, anthrax, botulinum toxin and other chemical and biological agents you may have been hearing about. They give short summary details on the agent, symptoms, prevention and treatment. The URL is: [http://www.outbreak.org/]

The Triple Helix II conference has a website complete with full text copies and abstract of the papers delivered, see [http://www.chem.uva.nl/sts/loet/th2/index.htm]


Social Epistemology Collaboration with 4S, Social Epistemology, founded by Steve Fuller and currently edited by Joan Leach is entering into a collaborative relationship with 4S. This is in response to the general interest in reviewing both books and issues of relevance to researchers and teachers in science studies. Social Epistemology will be

making a special effort to review books and issues of interest to 4S members. To aid the editorial staff with this duty, please feel free to send recommendations for books to be reviewed as well as offer yourself for potential review duties. While gradually moving to a review format with book reviews, essay reviews, and critical syntheses, Social Epistemology continues its commitment to interdisciplinarity and tradition of inquiry into areas of epistemology informing institutions, policy and the cultures in which we live and practice. Upcoming issues include:* Sites of Knowledge Production: the University * Real Knowing: commentaries on the work of Linda Alcoff * Boundary Work: Law and Science. For correspondence about these and other possible issues, please contact: Dr Joan Leach, Editor, Social Epistemology, Humanities Programme, Imperial College of Science, Technology & Medicine, London SW7 2AZ, UK. Phone 44 (0) 171 594 8753, fax 44 (0) 171 594 8763, e-mail: [j.leach@ic.ac.uk]

SKAT, the ASA section on Science, Knowledge, and Technology, invites nominations (including self-nominations) for the Robert K. Merton Professional Award. This award is given annually in recognition of scholarly achievement, represented by a book or body of work concerning science, knowledge and technology published during the preceding five years. The awardee, who should be a member of SKAT during the year in which the award is given, will be honored at the ASA annual convention in San Francisco in August 1998. The deadline for nominations is April 1, 1998. For each nomination please send a brief letter identifying the work(s) to be considered, their publisher(s) (presses or journals), and any supporting materials that would help the committee understand the contribution (for example, published book reviews). Please send material to Edward J. Hackett, STS Program, Room 995, NSF, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230 [email: ehackett@nsf.gov].

SKAT, the ASA section on Science, Knowledge, and Technology, invites nominations (including self-nominations) for the Hacker-Mullins Award. The award is given to a graduate student for a published article or unpublished paper concerning science, knowledge and technology that was completed during the preceding twelve months. Students are especially encouraged to nominate their own papers for this award. The award, which includes a cash prize, will be presented during the SKAT business meeting at the ASA annual convention in San Francisco in August 1998. The deadline for nominations is June 1, 1998. For each nomination please send a copy of the work nominated to Edward J. Hackett, STS Program, Room 995, NSF, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230 [email: ehackett@nsf.gov].

Centre for Technology and Society in Trondheim evaluated. The STS unit at Trondheim University is well known to many readers of Technoscience. Recently in connection with the fusion of a number of different higher educational and research institutions into the new Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the Senter for teknologi og samfunn (STS) was evaluated. The purpose was to assess the scientific merit of the unit and delineate its role in the new technological university system. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is a national facility that now includes humanities and social sciences faculties. The STS unit, created in 1988, is now recommended to continue in the new context to provide input to the higher education of engineers and natural scientists. The evaluation, carried out by a panel of three persons (Dr. Tarja Cronberg, Finland, Prof. Aant Elzinga, Sweden and Prof. Jon Gulowsen, Norway), concludes that the STS unit in Trondheim has been successful in creating a unique platform with regard to the sociology of technology and developing an approach which may be termed "pragmatic constructivism". The history of technology has followed a more traditional path in Trondheim, but here too scholarship is for the most part of a high quality. To a lesser extent the Centre has been involved in technology policy studies and technology assessment, but the panel sees a future potential in this field as well as in science studies, which is not so well represented compared to technology studies. It is found that the Centre in particular has contributed significantly within studies of technology and everyday life and gender related studies. Overall the empirical orientation of the centre is seen as a strength. One of the alternatives for the future of the Centre has been to close it down and integrate existing personnel into disciplinary departments, which lead a more stable existence since they have regular funding through a faculty structure which the STS unit does not. The panel strongly advises against this alternative, and suggests instead an upgrading of the status of the unit within NTNU. It is already clear that NTNU will retain the STS unit, but in what form is yet to be decided. Anyone interested in the evaluation report, which is about 40 pages plus an extensive bibliography that covers a wide range of publications coming from the Trondheim group, may write to Centre for Technology and Society, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), 7055 Dragvoll, Norway.


Captivity and Commitment

By Brian Martin

The May 1996 special issue of Social Studies of Science on the politics of SSK provides much intriguing commentary. Here I focus on two common though unstated threads: first, a resistance to generalization, specifically about becoming a "captive of controversy"; second, a distrust of overt commitment.


Quite a few authors commented on the findings of Pam Scott, Evelleen Richards and myself (SRM) in our paper "Captives of controversy". This paper spelled out three main conclusions. The first was that "sociological studies of contemporary controversies must be viewed as potential resources in social struggles over scientific or technical knowledge claims". No one seems to have questioned this point; it is affirmed by Sheila Jasanoff. The third conclusion was that "intervention by the analyst perturbs the dispute". Again, there has been little questioning of this point. By contrast, the second conclusion has been both disputed and misinterpreted. It has two parts:

(2a) "an epistemologically symmetrical analysis of a controversy is almost always more useful to the side with less scientific credibility or cognitive authority"; (2b) the "side with fewer scientifically or socially credentialed resources is more likely to attempt to enroll the researcher". We reached this conclusion as a result of our experiences in studying three controversies and also found it compatible with theoretical expectations. Note that neither 2a nor 2b posits an ironclad rule: 2a contains the phrase "is almost always more useful"; 2b contains "is more likely".

A number of commentators seem to have difficulty grasping that SRM's conclusions are less about what the researcher does and more about what the "subjects" (participants in the controversy studied) do. SRM make no major point about whether the analyst should be neutral or take sides. The paper is about how social analysts and their work are used by participants in controversies, whatever the intent of the analysts.

Harry Collins says "SRM argued that one ought, therefore, to commit oneself to the weaker side" and that according to SRM, the analyst "was bound to be captured by the underdogs". The first claim misrepresents SRM and the second replaces SRM's likelihood with a claim of certainty. Dick Pels says that, according to SRM, "neutrality is wrong in principle". This was not a central conclusion of SRM, though it might be extrapolated from SRM's position.

Malcolm Ashmore presents two hypothetical case studies "dying smokers sue a tobacco company, and Challenger's O-rings" to suggest that a symmetrical analysis can end up supporting the side with more money or power. Contrary to Ashmore, this is quite compatible with SRM's conclusions. SRM predicted that a symmetrical analysis would support the side with less epistemological authority. Tobacco companies have less epistemological authority, so a symmetrical analysis of a dispute between dying smokers and a tobacco company would quite likely help the tobacco company. The issue of the money and power of the company is secondary.

Brian Wynne refers to "SRM's argument that SSK practitioners should deliberately side with the underdogs". Again, this was not SRM's argument. Part of the confusion by Collins, Ashmore and Wynne may be due to their use of the expressions 'underdog' and 'overdog'. SRM did not use these terms, but rather referred to "the side with less scientific credibility or cognitive authority". This side may be an 'underdog' epistemologically but not necessarily in terms of power and money. Jasanoff says that symmetrical analysis of scientific controversies, they [SRM] charge, necessarily strengthens the weaker party' and 'the analyst may as well embrace commitment from the start by choosing sides in the controversy. Again, this is a misreading of SRM.

If SRM's claim had been that a symmetrical analysis always helps the side with less epistemological authority, then just one counterexample would be sufficient to reject the generalization. SRM's actual claim is obtained by replacing 'always' by 'almost always'. To test it, an enumeration of cases is in order. Among others, consider:

* Bammer and Martin on repetition strain injury ;

* Collins and Pinch on parapsychology ;

* Martin on fluoridation ;

* Martin on nuclear winter ;

* Richards on vitamin C and cancer ;

* Scott on the Australian Animal Health Laboratory .

By my assessment, each of these cases is compatible with SRM's generalizations 2a and 2b and none goes directly against them.

Collins, Ashmore and Wynne raise a number of points about SRM's conclusions, such as that 'sides' in the controversy were not problematized and that it is impossible to know in advance how a social analysis will be used.

True enough. Whenever one makes a generalization, it is possible to quibble with concepts, propose hypothetical exceptions and raise picky objections. But it seems to me that there is a reasonable group of case studies showing the value of SRM's conclusions. Just because these generalizations do not hold in every conceivable case and are a bit rough on the edges does not mean that they are useless. I view them as a fairly reliable starting point when undertaking a controversy study. It is well known that scientists prefer to publish reports of original investigations rather than replications of previous work. Does the same apply in social science? Is it more attractive to criticize someone else's generalization than to undertake a study that is likely to confirm it?


SRM did not say that analysts should make a commitment to a particular position yet, as noted above, several commentators have attributed such a claim to SRM. Furthermore, commitment is taken to be something inappropriate: attributing advocacy of commitment to SRM is taken as a criticism. It can be anticipated, then, that open advocacy of commitment is likely to encounter hostility.

In my paper 'The Critique of Science Becomes Academic', I presented an interpretation of social influences on the development of the academic critique of science, including SSK, essentially seeing it as shaped by academic imperatives. I pointed out that there is relatively little analysis in the field that addresses pressing social issues such as war, repression, poverty and patriarchy. I commented on the limitations of theory for aiding social action and provided some suggestions for a critique of science oriented to activists.

On the other hand, I did not say that everyone undertaking an analysis of science should address pressing social issues, nor that anyone is obliged to be committed to one particular side on an issue. The paper is a comment on the uselessness of much social analysis of science to social activists and some reasons why this is the case.

Collins says that in this article I argue for SSK practitioners to be committed, and then undertakes a critique of "commitment to Commitment". This was not my argument. I asked for more scholars "not all" to deal with pressing social issues. I presumed that most scholars studying torture technology, for example, would oppose its production, trade and use, though of course there are arguments on the other side. My assumption is that more attention to these issues will be a good thing. Collins also contested my interpretation of the history of SSK, arguing that SSK drew its inspiration from "academic questions" without any significant social contextual shaping.

Pels, as part of his sophisticated critique of the use of symmetry in SSK, argues the case for a "third position" beyond the "neutralists" such as Collins and the 'politicals' such as myself. He states that "professional autonomy and the institutional distance it measures out remain a crucially important precondition for any kind of serious critical work", both for science studies and science. This sounds good in principle, but what does it mean in practice? Few fields of scientific research can be said to be professionally autonomous, given extensive funding by militaries, governments and corporations plus the dependent position of scientists as employees. Does Pels' 'serious critical work' mean intellectual work? What is its relation to social action? Pels' paper is too abstract to provide clear answers to such practical questions.

Evelleen Richards says that 'Brian Martin has recently urged the obligatory politicization and commitment of all S&TS analysis'. This was not my argument: I offered suggestions for 'those who favor a more activist critique of science'. Certainly I did not and could not attempt to impose 'political correctness or activism' on colleagues, as Richards implies.

From the responses of several writers, it seems that it is risky for an SSK analyst to be seen as committed. SRM did not argue for commitment but are accused of doing so. I argued the value of addressing pressing social issues and am interpreted as arguing for 'commitment to commitment' and 'obligatory politicization'. Unfortunately, 'commitment' is not a very useful category to address the issues involved, since it is oriented to the psychology of the analyst. This is why SRM focused on capturing, a process in which the psychology of the analyst is not crucial, and why I focused on the relevance of science studies to 'crucial social issues'.

It is well known that scientists are highly committed to particular theories and methods, but that this apparent violation of objectivity is well disguised through standard portrayals of science. My informal meetings with science studies scholars show that they too are highly committed, variously to particular social causes, methodological positions, styles of discourse and, not least, their careers. As yet, though, acknowledging such commitments is not popular in spite of ample rhetoric about reflexivity.

In my critique of science studies, I commented that most work in scholarly journals 'is couched in an inaccessible academic style and deals with topics of peripheral interest' to activists. That applies to most of the contributions concerning "The Politics of SSK". This does not mean it is all a waste of time. I would never have bothered with my critique except that I know that there are quite a lot of science studies students and academics who are keen to be involved in current issues. This also applies to a number of the contributors who, whatever they consider their commitments, have played a prominent role in public debates about science. Whatever our disagreements, I am pleased to be part of a professional network in which people are concerned about the politics of their own work.


I thank Stewart Russell for helpful comments.

Brian Martin has carried out research on scientific controversies, suppression of intellectual dissent, nonviolent alternatives to military defence, and information in a free society.

Author's address: Science and Technology Studies, University of Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia. E-mail: [brian_martin@uow.edu.au]



By Dick Sclove

The Loka Institute,

For many years Technology Review magazine, published by MIT, has been a lively, visually appealing magazine, covering many aspects of science and technology. Read widely by engineers and technology policy analysts and decision makers, Technology Review has also been the most influential U.S. venue in which conventional, critical, and progressive perspectives on technology policy could appear side-by-side. For instance, the July 1996 issue included upbeat articles about the World Wide Web and animal-to-human organ transplants, sandwiched between John Horgan's pessimistic claim that the age of great scientific discoveries is over, and my own article about European "consensus conferences" for involving laypeople in technology policy deliberations. A note that we recently received from long-time Tech Review columnist Langdon Winner (see below) suggests that the magazine is relinquishing its function as a unique meeting place for divergent points of view on science and technology policy or those who believe that a healthy democracy requires mutually respectful engagement with ideological rivals, and not simply self-satisfied preaching to the already-converted, this is troubling news. Here at the Loka Institute, we will particularly mourn this narrowing of editorial vision, because Technology Review's co- sponsorship was essential to the success of our April 1997 pilot U.S. "Citizen's Panel" on telecommunications policy. see our Web page: [www.amherst.edu/~loka]

A letter from Langdon Winner,

As you may have heard, there's been an editorial shake up at Technology Review. Evidently, the new editor is pledged to emphasize "innovation" as compared to "policy." Several staff members have been sent packing and the rest are (at best) highly insecure. All four of the regular columnists have been discontinued as well. I've been given the opportunity to write one last piece, but I doubt that I'll bother. I told my editor, Herb Brody, that under the circumstances, my heart wouldn't be in it. In my judgment, "innovation" is a simply code word for boosterism. My own little soapbox doesn't matter all that much; ten years in a single venue is plenty and it's probably time to mosey on. But I fear the changes at Technology Review will mean that a once lively home for critical discussions about society, politics and technology will become something entirely different.

Best wishes,

Langdon Winner

Minutes of the 4S Council Meeting

October 22, 1997

Tucson, Arizona


Officers: Karin Knorr-Cetina (President), Sal Restivo (Immediate Past-President), Harry Collins, David Edge (Past- Presidents); W. Shrum (Secretary-Treasurer)

Council Members: Donna Haraway, Rachelle Hollander, Michael Lynch, Lucy Suchman, Gili Drori, Michael Gorman

Others: John Hultberg, Merle Jacob, Jennifer Croissant

President Knorr-Cetina called the meeting to order at 3:00 PM.

The tragic death of Diana Forsythe was mourned by Council. A memorial session in her honor is scheduled for the last day of the meeting and a special notice is to be published in Technoscience.

1. Minutes of the 1996 Council Meeting in Bielefeld, Germany were approved as published in the newsletter.

The 4S Web page contains membership information, links to societies and journals with 4S affiliations, a link to the site for the annual meeting, and information on prizes and awards as well as 4S journals and publications. Nominations for the Carson & Fleck Prizes can be made directly from the homepage: [http://www.lsu.edu/guests/ssss/public_html/]

Secretary-Treasurer's Report

2. Status of the Treasury and Projection for 1998

Shrum reported on the status of the 4S treasury as of September 1997. Membership revenues remain strong but royalties from sales of the Handbook of Science and Technology Studies are declining. The Handbook will be out in paperback in 4-5 months at a lower cost than the hardback edition. Sage has sold 2,329 copies of the Handbook in hardcover. It was proposed that planning for the next Handbook begin within the next few years to establish an appropriate lead time. Sage will not increase prices for 1998.

3. The Treasurer's Projection for 1998 is based on an estimated year-end balance of $34,000, which is lower than previous years. Conservative cost and revenue projections give a balance of $28,000 at the end of the year. Members are alerted that a dues increase will be necessary in about two years. It is noted that for $30 a regular membership provides ST&HV and Technoscience to all members, while individual subscription prices to ST&HV for nonmembers are at least $57 (institutional subscriptions at least $144).

4. Membership is up to 847, above last year's membership of 808.

There was a discussion of the possibility of providing electronic access to the membership list on the Technoscience web site. However, some members have expressed concerns about privacy and do not wish this information to be publicly available. It was decided to develop restricted access to this data for members only. The new editors will seek a means of doing this at the newsletter site.

The NSF grant for graduate students to travel to the 4S meeting will be in effect again this year. Lucy Suchman handled applications through email and was able to expand eligibility to include junior scholars. The application requirements are a current vita & acceptance of a presentation at the meeting. The applicant must travel on a U.S. airline (or KLM) and submit the NSF-approved form for reimbursement. The grant does not reimburse lodging but only travel expenses. Original receipts are necessary, because NSF will not reimburse 4S for any other form of documentation. An announcement will be placed once again in Technoscience for the 1998 awards.

A new contract with Sage for continuation of current arrangements for ST&HV has been arranged and is awaiting signatures. The new membership directory was mailed in August. This directory was produced jointly with EASST, the AAHPSSS, & ISA23. After providing for 4S members, we mailed 616 directories to other societies, which accounted for slightly less than half of the costs of production.

5. 1997 Election Results.

Elected to Council for 1999-2000 are Helen Longino, Brian Wynne, V.V. Krishna, with Sarah Jain the new student

representative. Council wishes to thank outgoing council members Michael Lynch, Kristina Petkova, Donna Haraway, and Gili Drori (Stanford) for their generous service to the Society.

Publications Committee

6. Rachelle Hollander reported on the activities of the publications committee in 1996-1997. Social Epistemology and Metascience are now affiliated with 4S and the publishers will give discounts to members of 4S. A draft memorandum of understanding from Taylor & Francis regarding Social Epistemology has been approved in principle, with small corrections to be handled by Michael Lynch. The arrangement specifies that a representative of 4S serve on the advisory board of the journal and one issue per year will be devoted to a topic of special interest to 4S members. Discounts will be offered for subscriptions to these journals and possibly other journals when the annual 4S renewal forms are mailed out. However, all subscription fulfillment will be handled by the publishers of these journals.

Sal Restivo has prepared a prospectus for an Encyclopedia of STS to be reviewed by Oxford University Press. Restivo will be the General Editor but the project will require a larger team. A full, detailed proposal will be reviewed by 4S and submitted to Oxford. The Publications Committee will not directly oversee the editorial board once the project has been given approval. The Editors and the Board will maintain quality control. Once the Publications Committee approves the Editors and the Board and makes recommendations regarding the topical areas to be covered, it will not be involved in the editorial process.

The Publications Committee received three excellent applications for the editorship of ST&HV. A subcommittee has been delegated to interview the candidates who are present in Tucson, and seek to make a final recommendation to Council for the transition in mid 1998.

Council and associate editors were asked to be active in soliciting paper submissions for ST&HV. Last year, a letter was sent to Sage asking the publisher, in the future, to clear advertising copy with the editor to avoid errors and they have agreed.

The new editors of Technoscience, John Hultberg and Merle Jacob, reported on changes and new features of the newsletter. A web version continues to be published. The Technoscience web page will update announcements (such as job openings) more frequently than the published newsletter, generally every six weeks.

Prize Committees

7. Announcement of Bernal Prize Winner, given by 4S and the Institute for Scientific Information, will be made at the banquet. (Note: H. M. Collins was the recipient of the 1997 Bernal Prize.)

8. Ludwik Fleck & Carson Prizes. The winner of the 1997 Fleck Prize is Theodore Porter for his book Trust in Numbers. The prize committees have yet to deliberate on the awards for 1998. As usual, the Fleck Prize committee for next year consists of senior council members and the President, while the Carson Prize committee consists of council members in their second year of office. Nominations for the award may be submitted by any member of the society to any member of council or the Secretary.

Nominations may be made by email from the 4S-web site. Eligible books for next year's prize have publication dates from 1995 through 1997. An announcement will also appear in Technoscience.

Nominations Committee

9. Rachelle Hollander reported that a special effort was made to include a diversity of international candidates on the ballot in 1997.

Future Meetings Committee

10. Discussion of future sites. Judy Wajcman submitted the report of the committee from Australia. The 1998 meeting will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada) from Oct. 29 through Nov. 1. Co-sponsoring the meeting is the Environmental Studies Association of Canada. The theme is Science, Technology, and the Rise of Nature.

Although there continues to be interest in Australia it has been impossible to find a host for the meeting and extremely difficult to find local arrangement volunteers for sites that members suggest.

Council discussed the recommendation of using a regular

professional planner, rather than shifting each year as 4S has often done. It was determined to try this for the 1999 meeting so long as registration costs can be maintained in line with previous meetings.

Results of the site preference survey that was distributed with the 1997 election ballots showed a slight preference for a meeting in California.

Program and Local Arrangements

11. Jennifer Croissant reported on planning for the Tucson

meeting. There were 313 registrants prior to the meeting. A total of 99 sessions and activities were scheduled. Relatively high costs for audio-visual equipment once again led council to affirm that equipment other than basic overhead projectors and microphones must be provided by the presenters. This is consistent with past policy. Council thanked Jennifer for presenting an excellent program.

Recent program chairs will in the future serve ex-officio on the program committees for future meetings in order to provide guidance and continuity to the committees. Wolf Krohn and Jennifer Croissant will serve in this capacity for the Halifax meeting in 1998.

Student Activities Committee

  1. Karin Knorr-Cetina reported for Anne Figert, chair of the Mullins Prize committee. The 1997 prize will be awarded to Massimiano Bucchi from the University of Trento (Italy). His paper was selected out of 22 submissions for the prize.
  2. The meeting was adjourned at 6:45pm.

Minutes of the Business Meeting

October 24, 1997

Tucson, Arizona

Karin Knorr-Cetina called the meeting to order at 6:00pm. There were 33 persons present.

Secretary/Treasurer's Report

Shrum reported on the financial situation of the Society (See

Council Minutes, items 2.-4. above). Royalties from the Handbook of Science and Technology Studies have begun to fall, but a paperback edition will be issued. A dues increase is to be expected in two years, but overall the current financial situation remains positive.


1997 election results were reported by Rachelle Hollander, who chaired the nominations committee. Particular attention was devoted to the nomination of international candidates. Elected to Council for 1999-2000 are Helen Longino, Brian Wynne, V.V. Krishna, with Sarah Jain the new student representative. Outgoing council members Michael Lynch, Kristina Petkova, Donna Haraway, and Gili Drori (Stanford) were thanked for their generous service to the Society.

Rachelle introduced Michael Gorman as incoming chair of nominations and invited members to submit names for future council seats. The new President of EASST (Rob Hagendijk) was invited to sit ex-officio on 4S council as a liaison between the two societies. EASST in turn will consider inviting the 4S President to serve in a similar capacity.


See item 6 above. The new editors of Technoscience, John Hultberg and Merle Jacob, were introduced and reported on changes in the newsletter, including an enhanced web version with updates approximately every six weeks.

Olga Amsterdamska reported on current ST&HV issues. There was little change in the number of new submissions (65 manuscripts last year) and a slight shift towards Europe in the origin of the submitted papers. There was a discussion of whether more book reviews should be published. It was mentioned that Metascience and now Social Epistemology, with which 4S is now affiliated, are both review journals.


See items 7, 8, and 12 above. Deliberations of the new Carson prize committee have been concluded and the winner has yet to be notified. This prize is awarded to a book length work of social or political relevance in the area of social studies of science and technology. Nominations that provide a new perspective, or a feminist or minority voice are especially encouraged.

The primary issue of concern to the prize committees and the membership was what to do about the short lists for the prizes. Both symbolic and career reasons were argued for making these names public, and, on the other hand, keeping them private. Many favored making the list of finalists public, but there was significant opposition. One option discussed was to send letters to individuals informing them but without a public announcement.

For both the Fleck and the Carson prizes, all 4S members are encouraged to nominate their own books or the books of others. Nominations may go to any member of the selection committees or to the Secretary. Nominations may be made by email from the 4S web site. This year eligible books have publication dates from 1995 through 1997. An announcement will appear in Technoscience.

Future Meetings

The 1998 meeting will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada) from Oct. 29 through Nov. 1. Co-sponsoring the meeting is the Environmental Studies Association of Canada. The theme is Science, Technology, and the Rise of Nature. Gary Bowden will serve as chair of the program committee.

Once again the idea of an Australian meeting was discussed, but there are no volunteers to organize the meeting. Council has recommended using a professional planner for 1999 contingent on the production of an acceptable registration fee. (See items 10 and 11 above.) The plan is currently to search for a California site for 1999.

Program and Local Arrangements

Jennifer Croissant said there were 374 registrants at the Tucson meeting, with 110 coming from outside the U.S. As of Friday there are 340 paid and verified attendees.

There was a discussion of nonattenders--those that commit to present papers and do not show up or notify the session organizers of their absence. One suggestion was to adopt a policy of not allowing these nonattenders to present a paper the following year, but there was no general consensus on sanctioning nonattenders. However, most of those present preferred that once published in the program, the speaker order is not changed.

Karin thanked Jennifer Croissant for excellent work on this year's meeting and asked that she serve on the next program committee as an advisor.

Student Activities

NSF travel grants for graduate students and junior scholars have been determined and will be distributed after the meeting (see item 4. above).

The meeting was adjourned at 7:00 pm.

Last updated: January 25, 1998 by Jongwon Park

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