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Newsletter of the Society for Social Studies of Science

Spring 2002: Volume 15, Number 2
Managing Editors: Lisa McLoughlin & Patrick Feng     Executive Editor: Linda Layne

Printable PDF Format

Conferences, lectures and workshops
Job opportunities
4S nominations
Scholarships, prizes and funding opportunities


Welcome to the spring/summer, mostly-electronic issue of Technoscience.  In this issue we are pleased to present the Author Meets Critic comments of Andrew Pickering and Ronald Giere on the 2001 Fleck Prize winner----Karin Knorr-Cetina’s Epistemic Cultures (Harvard UP: 1999), as presented at the 2001 4S conference.  In addition, we’re very happy to share some impressions from grad students who attended the grad student conference at Cornell.

We invite you to submit content for the fall issue in the following areas: announcements of publications, reviews, jobs, competitions, prizes, workshops, conferences, general STS news, and commentary.  We are especially interested in announcements of recent publications of our members, which will be included in a new section in the next issue. Our deadlines are: August 15 (for fall publication), December 15 (for spring publication) and April 15 for late spring/summer publication.  The Technoscience newsletter website is updated once per month, found at:  We prefer to receive content in Word  plain text format.  You can contact us at: TECHNOSCIENCE-L@LISTS.RPI.EDU. Thanks for reading. 




4S: 2002 Annual Meeting

November 7-20 2002, Milwaukee, WI, USA


The Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) will hold its 26th Annual Meeting at the Hilton Hotel Milwaukee City Center, from November 7 to 10, 2002.  The program chair Thomas Gieryn and committee encourage the submission of paper proposals on all subjects connected to the social and cultural analysis of science, technology and medicine.  Authors should submit a one-page abstract (about 300 words) and a $25 processing fee per submission by 15 May 2002 to:


Engineering Professional Development

University of Arizona

1224 N Vine Ave

Tucson, AZ 85719

TEL: 520-621-3054

FAX: 520-621-1443



You may use Visa, Master Card or American Express for your processing fee. Checks should be made payable to The University of Arizona Foundation . The $25 processing fee will be credited toward your conference registration fee. In the event your paper is not selected for presentation, the fee will be refunded. All abstracts should be submitted electronically as a Word attachment. Please, no compressed or encrypted submissions.


Please include for all authors: full name, institutional affiliation, mailing address and e-mail address.  Authors are limited to two submissions, including collaboration on multi-authored papers.  The 4S website is:


The 4S meeting will be held on the same dates and within walking distance from meetings of the History of Science Society and the Philosophy of Science Association.


History of Science Society: Crossing Borders

7-10 November 2002, Milwaukee, WI, USA


The program committee has selected the theme, Crossing Borders, to give coherence and structure to the annual meeting and to encourage exchange with the affiliated meetings of the Philosophy of Science Association and the Society for Social Studies of Science. We particularly encourage submissions of papers and sessions around the following sub-themes:


1. Topographies of Knowledge;

2. Circulation: Knowledge, Objects, Practices, People;

3. Visual Cultures of Science, Technology, and Medicine.


Proposals on all topics are encouraged, but some preference will be given to strong papers and sessions that relate to these themes. Proposals for sessions and contributed papers must reach the History of Science Society’s Executive Office, Box 351330, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-1330; phone: 206-543-9366; fax: 206-685-9544; e-mail: by 2 April 2002. Proposals must be submitted through the HSS Web site ( or on the annual meeting proposal forms that are available online (forms may also be requested from the HSS Executive Office). We encourage electronic submissions. Only one proposal per person, please. For additional information concerning the 2002 meeting, contact the HSS Executive Office or visit the HSS Web site.  All forms and guidelines available at




September 20-22, 2002, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA


The School of History Technology and Society, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta will host JASHOPS 2002 (the Joint Atlantic Seminar in the History of the Physical Sciences) on September 20-22, 2002.  Papers are invited from pre-docs and recent post-docs on the theme ‘Distributed Sites of Knowledge Production’, and that explore the multiple spaces in which knowledge has been produced, circulated and transformed through the ages (academia, industrial laboratories, the ‘field’, clinical practices, military laboratories, private homes, pubs, museums, colonial expeditions, etc).  Some financial support will be available for graduate students.


For further information please contact: Jahnavi Phalkey  or John Krige or write to either at the School of History, Technology and Society, Georgia Institute of Technology, D M Smith Bldg., 685 Cherry Street, Atlanta, GA  30332 -0345. Abstracts should be submitted by April 25th, 2002.


Jashops benefits from the financial support of the host institution, as well as the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics, the Chemical Heritage Foundation and the Dibner Institute.



The Local and the Global: A Workshop for the Rising Generation of Science, Engineering, and Technology Policy Professionals

April 12-14, 2002, Washington, DC, USA


The emerging field of science, engineering, and technology (SE&T) policy has become a recognizable profession in recent years.  As the interaction between science and government intensifies, the need for an SE&T policy workforce equipped with the tools and training necessary to negotiate this relationship is greater than ever.


The purpose of this event is to better acquaint current and prospective SE&T policy professionals with the practice and opportunities of this emerging profession.  This will be accomplished through a blend of plenary and breakout sessions led by seasoned SE&T professionals, and sessions devoted to the presentation of scholarly papers on timely SE&T policy issues.  Students, young professionals, and recent graduates interested in science, engineering, and technology policy as a career or field of study are encouraged to attend.


The Workshop is free of charge and will start Friday evening with a networking reception where participants will have an opportunity to meet established members as well as the rising generation of the SE&T policy community.


For further details about the Workshop and to register, please visit

For information about submission of scholarly papers, please visit


This event is open to the public and is scheduled so that participants can also attend the 27th Annual AAAS Colloquium on Science and Technology Policy ( April 11-12.  The Workshop represents a blending of the 2nd annual AAAS Workshop on Science and Technology Policy Careers and the Graduate Student Conference on Contexts in Science and Technology. The AAAS workshop is being held in conjunction with a graduate student conference on Contexts in Science and Technology.  For more details see

Sponsored by:

American Association for the Advancement of Science, Science and Policy Programs (

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Science and Technology Studies Department (

The George Washington University, Program in Science, Technology and Public Policy (

George Mason University, School of Public Policy (

National Academy of Engineering (



Workshop: Organizing Visions: The Ambiguity of Transparency in Science, Technology, and Politics

19-21 April, 2002, Department of Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University, USA


Transparency as an historical and social achievement plays a crucial role in the justification of claims to legitimacy in science, technology and politics. The transparency of instruments, institutions, and identities is attained through two complementary moves: while certain objects, actors, and processes are made visible, other elements of mediation have to be concealed or normalized to the point of invisibility. In this interdisciplinary workshop, we discuss some of the different cultural repertoires that actors have drawn on in order to construct or challenge transparency in particular historical contexts. Specifically, we address how the complementary moves of disclosure and concealment relate to the potentially ambivalent function of transparency: for claims to participation as well as for the maintenance of socio-technical classifications (e.g. expert/lay).


In these contexts, the theme of transparency opens up a set of questions. How is  transparency achieved in the laboratory, or in political practice? What is the interaction between the notions of transparency employed in science, technology, and politics? How are such notions constructed in ways that support claims to legitimacy by both scientists and policy makers? How is the achievement of transparency dependent on processes of exclusion and marginalization? Does the concept of transparency thus reiterate problems similar to those associated with the concept of objectivity? At the workshop, we will engage with these questions in diverse problem areas, ranging from the practice of medical imaging technologies to corporations' presentation of biotechnology, and taxation in eighteenth-century Britain. The workshop will be discussion-intensive based on pre-circulated papers, short summary presentations, and extensive commentaries. Keynote speaker Wiebe Bijker (University of Maastricht) will provide insights from his own research, and reflect on prospects for future lines of inquiry in the field. Other participants include William Ashworth, Tony Conrad, Peter Dear, Michael Dennis, Stephen Hilgartner, Ron Kline, Michael Lynch, Hélène Mialet, Trevor Pinch, and Judith Reppy.


For further information please visit the workshop website at, or contact Javier Lezaun or Anna Maerker, Department of Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University, 630 Clark Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853 (,


Network Worlds: a symposium on the Internet and Society

May 31 and June 1 2002, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada


Featuring a public lecture by Manuel Castells (University of California at Berkeley): "The Internet: a Cultural Creation"


Symposium speakers include

Kong Chong Ho (National University of Singapore)

Thomas Courchene (Queen's University)

David Lyon (Queen's University)

Vincent Mosco (Carleton University)

Serge Proulx (Universite de Quebec a Montreal)

Saskia Sassen (University of Chicago)

Steve Woolgar (Oxford University)

Elia Zureik (Queen's University)


Free registration

Opportunities for graduate students to meet speakers

Speakers book exhibition


Details at



4th International Summer Academy on Technology Studies: Technology and the Public

July 7 ­-13, 2002, Deutschlandsberg, Austria


Organized by:

Inter-University Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture (IFZ), A-8010 Graz, Schloegelgasse2, in cooperation with: Roskilde University, Department of Environment, Technology and Social Studies (Tek-Sam), Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Department of Innovation Studies and History of Technology and University of Maribor and the Slovenian Science Foundation.


Information and Registration:

For further information on programme or registration, please visit our web site: or contact: Sandra Karner, e-mail:


Aims and Perspectives:  

The general aim of the series of summer academies is to explore strategies for a more sustainable design of technologies as an issue of technology studies. How can technology studies contribute to an environmentally sound, participative, user-friendly technological development? Do these approaches provide new perspectives to analyze and to actively shape technological change?


An important issue within the context of technological change is the role of the public. In particular we are interested in controversies such as the biotechnology debate. Especially in the latter context, demands are frequently being made which call for profound information. Public understanding seems to be the cure for acceptance problems, a precondition of informed decisions and a ”realistic” risk perception. It is important to us to explore analytical approaches and practical initiatives that go beyond the so called ”deficit model”. In contrast to this we are convinced that an interactive model is more appropriate to open up perspectives of active public participation in communication processes on technology and its design. The Summer Academy shall provide a platform to combine both, theoretical analysis and practical policy questions of shaping technological change in a environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive way.


An important aim of the summer academy also is to establish closer links to Central and Eastern European countries regarding the joint effort of shaping technology as a means of social and economic change. Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture will provide grants for researchers from CEE countries which cover accommodation and fees.


Conference Venue:

The Summer Academy will be held at Deutschlandsberg Castle (near Graz) among the vineyards of the Styrian wine-growing district.


Fees & Accommodation:

Conference fees: € 290.-. The fee covers the conference proceedings and all conference materials. € 370.- for accommodation include half board (breakfast and lunch) and coffee breaks for the period from Sunday evening to Friday evening as well as social events during the week.



Grants covering fees and accommodation will be made available for participants from Central and Eastern European transition economies.



Environment, Culture & Community Conference

2-5 July 2002, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia


How do we deal with the environmental challenges of the 21st Century? Exploring the role of social and cultural processes in relation to environmental awareness is critical to the development of ecologically-situated relationships among people and between people and the earth. This conference will bring together those whose scholarly and artistic work addresses ways in which people create, challenge and sustain relationships with the natural environment.


We invite presentations on a wide range of topics, approached from a diversity of cultural perspectives, from across the humanities and related areas. We hope the suggested topics will encourage a mingling of disciplines and practices and we welcome suggestions of further topics.


 Suggested topics:



Please register your presentation or your interest in attending by 30 April 2002.


For further information, please contact:

Ruth Blair

School of English, Media Studies and Art History

The University of Queensland

Queensland 4072

Telephone: + 61 7 33652590




SPECIAL SESSION at Environment, Culture and Community Conference: Genetic Engineering, Technoscience, & Other Knowledges

Wednesday 3 July, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia


Where: University of Queensland Ipswich campus

Convenor: Richard Hindmarsh, Contemporary Studies (


This session explores the role and nature of social and cultural processes and contexts concerning genetic engineering, technoscience & other knowledges, concerning environment, community, & culture; environmental awareness; and the development of ecologically situated relationships among people and between people and the earth. The term 'technoscience' here means the cultural critique of science and technology.


Presentations are invited on a wide range of related topics, approached from a diversity of cultural perspectives, from across the humanities and other areas within the broad themes of engaging with, valuing, shaping, protecting, or inhabiting our environment, or of any other ways of representing this subject.



Keynote speaker:

Mae-Wan Ho (Professor of Biology at the Open University, UK, and Director of the Institute for Science in Society). Dr Mae-Wan Ho is an internationally popular speaker, a geneticist and a biophysicist and advisor to public interest organizations. She has debated genetic engineering issues in more than 20 countries and is author of the book Genetic Engineering: Dream or Nightmare? From an organicist perspective, Mae-Wan dismisses the dream and argues, "there may yet be time to stop the dreams turning into nightmares before the critical genetic melt-down is reached."


Cracka Theatre Troupe performance:

At the end of paper presentations, Cracka is performing on stage a 20-30 minute skit on genetic engineering in

cultural and critical context-not to be missed. Cracka is based in UQ's Faculty of Arts


Science in the Pub session:

"Genetic engineering!: Just what can it contribute to culture & environment?" on the following (Thursday) night at the Staff Club, St Lucia campus compared by the ABC Science Unit's Bernie Hobbs. Conveners: Richard Hindmarsh and Michelle Riedlinger


Please submit abstracts before 30 April 2002



Supported by the Ecopolitics Association of Australasia



The 4th Triple Helix Conference

November 6th-9th, 2002, Copenhagen, Denmark – Lund, Sweden


This conference track is devoted to a reconsideration of the role of professions in the “knowledge society.” Beyond enhancing innovation capabilities of firms through knowledge-based service provision, professions are viewed here as important learning networks and change agents in and of themselves. We seek to advance understanding of their contributions and potential through analysis of their structure, function and evolution.

As distributed networks, professions are cross-cutting structures that span organizational and institutional boundaries. They serve as key vectors of communication among members working within government agencies, university faculties and commercial firms. In this sense, professions potentially lend coherence to sociotechnical systems.  Additionally, the central positions professions occupy in the knowledge economy suggest that they may importantly facilitate or constrain social and technical change.


We seek to better understand the role of professions in enhancing/degrading legitimacy of institutions (governance) and the related issue of the status of professions in creation, design and implementation of accountability mechanisms.  Accountability is understood here to be a process through which social structures (family, community, state, universities, firms, professions, advocacy coalitions....) (re)produce and signal legitimacy, and thus gain power.  Traditionally, in the context of professions, the question of accountability would be addressed in terms of procedural rationality, diffusion of technique and strict control of formal knowledge.  New currents in social science suggest an opportunity to complement this technocratic analysis through examination of the roles of professions in development of interactive and participatory -- decentralized, democratic -- dimensions of knowledge society.


While we welcome a range of theoretical or empirical papers that inform this general theme, we are particularly interested in submissions on the following topics.



Track Convenors:

Steven Wolf

Dept. of Natural Resources

Cornell University


Scott Frickel

Dept. of Sociology

Tulane University


Gilles Allaire

Economie/Sociologie Rurales




For more information see:



Anthropology Policy Conference: Environment, Resources, and Sustainability: Policy Issues for the 21st Century

September 7-8, 2002, University of Georgia, Department of Anthropology, Athens Georgia, USA


Sponsored by:

Culture & Agriculture Section of AAA

Anthropology and Environment Section of AAA

American Anthropological Association Public Policy Committee


In recent years anthropologists have called for increased involvement of our discipline in policy matters. The purpose of this conference is to seek instrumental ways for AAA members to identify and prioritize salient policy issues about which anthropology has something to offer in the realm of environment, resources, and sustainability. An important component of this effort will be to articulate a process through which prioritized policy issues can be promoted via the newly formed AAA Policy Committee, as well as the C&A, A&E and other interested Sections.


The conference will be held over two days. The first day will be a plenary session with an overview paper presented in each topical area. The second day is devoted primarily to breakout groups within which papers will be used to respond to the charge to translate our anthropological expertise into prioritized topics for policy promotion. Policy entails a broad range of possible activities, only one of which includes actual legislation. It also includes agency or administrative action, enforcement, directing research funding, identification and coalescing of partnerships with other scientific groups, advocacy, and legal action, to name but a few.


The conference is limited to 100 participants and preference will be given to AAA members interested in advancing policy initiatives through our professional organization. The conference registration deadline is April 8, 2002. Registration materials will be sent to those whose papers are accepted



The New Century Environmental Leadership Institute: An Experiential Inquiry into Watershed Restoration (The River Institute)

Tufts University, Medford, MA, USA


The New Century Environmental Leadership Institute, informally known as The River Institute, this combined seminar/internship project represents a project of the Mystic Watershed Collaborative (MWC), a partnership of Tufts University and the Mystic River Watershed Association.

The seminar will explore both the limits and the potential of strategic action in the environmental movement, as well as the prevailing social science theories about social movements more generally. Twice a week, students attend a seminar to discuss the role of strategy in social movements with particular attention to biophysical watershed restoration strategies growing out of environmental management.  The seminar is taken for credit and is required ($1,275 tuition).

Simultaneously, each student completes an internship with a MWC member organization in the Boston metropolitan area.  Internship placements provide students opportunities to observe and participate in strategic decision-making and implementation of watershed restoration tactics. The institute is designed to facilitate systematic analysis and testing of both social movement and restoration practices in concrete settings.  Academic credit for the internship is optional, though each participant is placed with one organization.

Financial stipends ($1,500 min.) are provided to each intern; additional financial support may become available. Enrollment is limited and competitive.

For an application contact Dale Bryan, River Inst. Co-Director, CIS, 109 Eaton Hall, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155 or email, or see Applications are due by
April 1, 2002 (postmarked); send directly to Dale Bryan.


8th International Summer School in History of Science: Rethinking Scientific Knowledge in the 16th and early 17th Centuries
September 16-20, 2002, Paris, France
The International Summer School in History of Science meets biannually. The School's purpose is to bring together specialists and advanced aspirants to develop topics in history of science and technology deemed interesting, timely, and appropriate to the location. The number of participants is limited to about forty. A chief goal of the school is to promote collaborative research on an international level. The theme for the 2002 Summer School will be Rethinking Scientific Knowledge in the 16th and early 17th Centuries.

The school has four courses, and each one will be addressed in two series of lectures, which, with ensuing discussions, will occupy the mornings. Two special lectures will complete this programme. Afternoons will be free for visits, work in libraries, museums, or laboratories.

Lecturers include :

Jim Bennett (Museum of History of Science, Oxford)
Instruments, experiment and mechanical philosophy in the reform of natural knowledge
1. Sixteenth-century mathematics : instruments, mechanics, reform
2. Seventeenth-century natural philosophy : instruments, mechanics, reform

Sanjay Subrahmanyam (EHESS, Paris)
Making Cartographic and Ethnographic Knowledge in Portuguese Asia :
1. The outlines of Asia : the nature of coastal knowledge
2. Filling in the Blanks : from coast to interior

Gianna Pomata
Lecturing on Discovery : Innovation in the 17th Century Medical Teaching :
1. Pavia 1625 : Gaspare Aselli lectures on his discovery of the lacteals
2. London 1665 : Sir George Ent lectures on the post-Harveian body.

Dennis Des Chene
From the schools to the new science
1. Foundations of natural philosophy
2. The science of life

Responsible for the local organization : Dominique Pestre, Director, Centre Alexandre Koyré
Administrative co-ordinator : Nadine Dardenne, Centre Alexandre Koyré Tél: 01 43 36 70 69 Fax: 01 43 341 34 49 -
Information and application form :
Applications should be sent in not later than the 30th of April. Decision about admission will be announced by the end of May.

3rd Annual Lewis Mumford Lecture

April 18, 2002, Albany, NY, USA


Ken Jackson of Columbia University will present the lecture on "Empire City: The Impact of 9-11 on New York."

Thursday, April 18, 3:30 pm

University at Albany, Albany NY, USA

Campus Center 370

Refreshments will be served


Ken Jackson is a well known urban historian, author of Crabgrass Frontier and editor of The Encyclopedia of New York City.  He also serves now as President of the New York Historical Society.




Program Director for Science and Technology Studies,

U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)


The National Science Foundation invites applications for the position of Program Director, to begin preferably in August 2002.  The position is a rotational one, carrying an initial one-year appointment, normally renewable for up to two years or more.


The Program Director for Science and Technology Studies (STS) represents STS to colleagues in the NSF and other Federal science agencies and to the Administration.  STS encompasses history, philosophy, and social science studies of science, engineering and technology.  The Program Director provides intellectual leadership and is responsible for all aspects of program administration and development.  He or she administers the review of research proposals submitted to NSF in this field and is responsible for recommending and documenting actions on the proposals reviewed, for dealing with administrative matters relating to active NSF grants, and for maintaining regular contact with the relevant research communities and providing advice and consultation to persons requesting them. Program Directors are also expected to engage in NSF-wide initiatives and interagency collaborations.


Applicants must have a Ph.D. in a relevant discipline, and must be active in research in some area covered by the program. They should show evidence of initiative, administrative skill, and ability to work  well with others. Six or more years of research experience beyond the Ph.D. are required for appointment as Program Director. Salary is negotiable, and is comparable with academic salaries at major US institutions.


Please direct inquiries and expressions of interest to Dr. Daniel H. Newlon, Acting Division Director of the Division of Social and Economic Sciences, phone: (703) 292-8761; e-mail:; or Dr. Bruce Seely, Program Director, Science and Technology Studies, phone: (703) 292-8763, e-mail:; or Mrs. Bonney Sheahan, coordinator of the cluster housing the STS program, phone: (703) 292-8764, or e-mail:  All are located in Suite 995, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230, fax: (703) 292-9068.


Qualified persons who are women, ethnic/racial minorities, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.  The National Science Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to employing highly qualified staff that reflects the diversity of our nation.



Associate or Assistant Professor in Information and Media Studies

Department of Information and Media Studies, University of Aarhus, Denmark


At the Department of Information and Media Studies a position as associate or assistant professor within the field of Information Technology Studies is open to appointment from August 1st, 2002.


Candidates must document qualifications within history of theory and practical perspectives on programming language concepts. Furthermore, emphasis is placed on the candidates' ability to contribute to the departmental research in the development of interactive systems. Candidates are expected to teach programming and program design, which introduces programming language concepts and results in the implementation of interactive systems.


Candidates are expected to contribute to the further development of a creative interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research community whose task it is to reflect the dynamic development and shifting meaning and function of Information Technology in a socio-technical world. Further information may be obtained by contacting the Head of Department professor Frands Mortensen, phone +45 8942 1968.


Candidates who do not speak Danish will be expected to learn enough Danish to participate fully in the work of the Department within two years. As the appointee will participate in its day-to-day work, a regular presence at the Department will be expected.


Applicants must submit a curriculum vitae,  a description of scientific accomplishments, a list of publications and 3 copies of publications (maximum 7) to be considered in the evaluation.


The Faculty refers to the Ministerial Order No. 820 of 31.8.2000 on the appointment of teaching and research staff at the universities under the Danish Ministry of Education. Forskningsministeriets bekendtgørelse nr. 820 af 31. august 2000 om ansættelse af lærere og videnskabelige medarbejdere ved universiteter m.fl. under Forskningsministeriet


Salary and other terms of employment in Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Organizations, including the agreed-upon job structure.


(Forskningsministeriets notat af 22.september 2000 om stillingsstruktur for videnskabeligt personale med forskningsopgaver og undervisningsopgaver ved universiteter m.fl. under Forskningsministeriet).


The letter of application (marked vith the University of Aarhus, Journalkontoret, Ndr. Ringgade 1, DK-8000 Aarhus C. Closing date:  June 13, 2002, 12.00 o'clock, midday. Three copies of the following material: publications (also marked with the number mentioned below) should be sent directly to the Department of Information and Media Studies, Aarhus University, Niels Juelsgade 84, 8200 Århus N, Denmark. Please mark the application: 2002-212/1-8.



Research Assistant Professor, Global Environment 

Brown University, The Watson Institute, Providence, Rhode Island, USA


Brown University invites applications for an assistant professor (research) in the Global Environment Program of the Watson Institute for International Studies with a joint appointment in the Center for Environmental Studies (or other relevant department).  The appointment is for three years, there may be the possibility of renewal. The candidate should have expertise in one or more of the following areas: global change, population-environment, environmental security or political economy as it relates to the environment. Responsibilities include teaching one course with an international environmental focus, possibly as part of the UNEP/Watson training program, as well as maintaining an active and funded research program.  The successful candidate is expected to have a Ph.D. in a relevant field, strong international interests and experience, a record of scholarly accomplishments in global or international environmental issues and demonstrated teaching ability


Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae, statement of teaching and research interests and have three letters of reference sent to: GE Search, Brown University, The Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, (401) 863-9932; e-mail  All applications received by April 19, 2002 will receive full consideration.  We particularly invite applications from women and minority candidates.  Brown University is an equal opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.



Research Assistant

The Saratoga Foundation, Saratoga Springs, NY, USA


The Saratoga Foundation, Inc. is an international, non-profit research, education and advocacy group with women's interests at our epicenter. The Saratoga Foundation advances human rights, promotes economic justice, supports education reform and improves environmental health with a specific focus on women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds around the globe. Our focus includes reproductive rights and health care, gender-equity education, economic justice, environmental health and biotechnology/genetically engineered food.


We are interviewing individuals who have a strong interest in women's human rights on the national and international levels. The Saratoga Foundation seeks candidates who want to develop skills and experience along with this dynamic organization. Research assistants will be assigned major research projects which will test her/his writing and communication skills. Individuals who possess networking, problem solving and computer aptitude are encouraged to apply. The position includes the following responsibilities:

a-      In-depth research and preparation of official foundation policy papers

b-      Attendance and participation at meetings and conferences of the United Nations, New York State Legislature and other groups

c-      Development of public relations activities and fund raising campaign, and more.


SALARY: $10,000: Monday - Thursday, seven hours per day (Raise up to $25,000 with full time employment, plus medical benefits within 12 months conditioned upon success of fund raising program). Start Date: May, 2002.



Lois J. Shapiro-Canter, J.D., President and Chief Executive Officer

The Saratoga Foundation, Inc.
480 Broadway
Box 4636
Saratoga Springs, New York 12866 USA
tel: (518) 583-4990
fax: (518) 893-2405




JOB REQUIREMENTS: Undergraduate degree required. Excellent research, writing, oral and computer skills are necessary. Candidates must be able to complete assignments on time and juggle multiple tasks. We are looking for professional people who are committed to women's human rights and want to help build The Saratoga Foundation, Inc. Resume, references and writing sample required. Please contact us at: P.O. Box 4636 Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 or Web page: Phone: 518-583-4990



Volunteer Reviewers

The Gender and Diversities Institute at Education Development Center, Inc.


The Gender and Diversities Institute at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), is pleased to announce the start of its first digital library initiative - the Gender and Science Digital Library project (GSDL).  The GSDL will be developed in collaboration with the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse at Ohio State University, and is

funded by the National Science Foundation.


The primary objective of the GSDL is to create a high-quality, interactive library of K-12, higher education, women's studies, and teacher preparation resources for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.  It will assist educators and researchers in promoting and implementing gender-equitable STEM education in both formal and informal settings, to both male and female students, and assist in increasing female involvement in the sciences, and provide resources to researchers and others working

to understand the link between gender and science, including how gender influences the development of science and the role of women within science.


Please visit our web site at for information about the GSDL project.  At this time, we are particularly interested in material submissions and reviewer volunteers -application forms for both these areas can be submitted to us on-line at our web site.  I hope you will take this opportunity to submit information on an item you recommend for inclusion in our digital collection and by volunteering to become a reviewer.



Multiple Positions: Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies

Johns Hopkins University, Schools of Public Health and Medicine, USA


The Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies seeks dynamic individuals to fill several 1-year fellowship positions and 1-2 full-time positions, where they will work at the crossroads of national security and public health to address issues associated with the threat of biological weapons.  The Center -- part of the Hopkins Schools of Public Health and Medicine -- is dedicated to informing policy decisions and catalyzing practices that help prevent the use of biological weapons and should prevention fail, lessen the death and suffering that would result from their use.  Competitive applicants will possess the following:


1.      Working knowledge of, or interest in shaping current skills towards the application of an area of relevance regarding biological weapons (e.g., domestic preparedness, medical/public health response, bio-security, proliferation);

2.      Technical or policy expertise in a field relevant to one or more of the following: 

·         Biomedical R&D requirements for diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment of bioweapon-related disease;

·         Medical management of large-scale epidemics and mass casualty events (e.g., clinical skills, infection control, laboratory diagnostic capacity, health care system response capability);

·         Public health management of large-scale epidemic response, including disease detection, investigation, surveillance and containment;

·         Arms control/proliferation; 

·         U.S. government programs related to Homeland Defense, bioterrorism preparedness and consequence strategies.

3.      Ability to work effectively as participant in multidisciplinary groups and consensus-building processes, exceptional written and verbal communication skills, and the ability to represent the Center in academic, policy and government circles.


Attractive benefits package.  Please send a letter outlining interest and expertise, a list of 3 references, writing sample, and CV to Gigi Kwik, c/o Biodefense Center, 111 Market Place, Suite 830, Baltimore MD 21202;; (410) 223-1665 fax. JHU CCBS is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action Employer. Our web page is .



Assistant  Professor: Department of Anthropology and School of Natural Resources and Environment

University of Michigan, USA


The Department of Anthropology and the School of Natural Resources and Environment seek scholars for a joint appointment in ecological/environmental anthropology.  The position is approved at the assistant professor level, but more senior scholars may also apply.  A Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology and research experience outside the United States are required.  Appointment is to begin Fall 2002.  The position focuses on such issues as global environmental change, globalization, development (sustainable and otherwise), conservation strategies, risk perception, ethnoecologies, adaptation, and maladaptation.


To apply, please send a letter of application, curriculum vitae, and names of suggested referees to Chair, Environmental Anthropology Search Committee, Department of Anthropology, 1020 LSA, 500 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI  48109-1382.  Fax (734) 763-6077.  The search committee will begin to review applications by the end of February, 2002.  Women and minority applicants are encouraged to apply.  The University of Michigan is a non-discriminatory and affirmative action employer.



Faculty Position: American Studies

Oklahoma State University, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA


In conjunction with the beginning of an undergraduate degree program in American Studies, Oklahoma State University invites applications for a tenure-track assistant professorship, beginning fall 2002.  Candidates must have a strong commitment to interdisciplinary teaching and research, and must have demonstrated a proven record of scholarship in American Studies (specialty open.)  Candidates with a Ph.D. in American Studies preferred, however we will consider applications from related fields including but not limited to Science and Technology Studies, Cultural Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Women’s Studies.


Candidates primary teaching responsibilities will be at the OSU-Tulsa campus.  Candidates will be expected to teach core and methodological American Studies courses, develop lecture courses and seminars in their area of expertise, and contribute to the promotion and development of the degree program.  We are particularly interested in candidates who can develop new courses on the aesthetic, ethnographic, social and policy aspects of science and technology as it relates to cultural diversity in either a historical or contemporary context.  Expertise in application and/or implications of world wide web and multi-media technologies is also desired.


Submit letter of application, curriculum vitae, and three letters of recommendation to Search Chair, American Studies Program, College of Arts and Sciences, 201 LSE, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.  Review of applications begins March 15 and will continue until the position is filled.  OSU is an EO/AA employer and encourages applications from women and minorities.  For more information, visit



Postdoctoral Position: Center for Science, Policy and Outcomes

Columbia University, Washington DC


The Center for Science, Policy, and Outcomes at Columbia University in Washington, DC seeks Postdoctoral Research Scholars for one-year terms beginning late spring or summer 2002.  The Center supports research, education, and policy development to enhance linkages between science and societal outcomes.  Potential research areas include: environment, human health, technology, standards of living/quality of life, international development, and governance.


Candidates with multidisciplinary (policy plus scientific/technical) and/or multi-sectoral (academic plus gov/private sector) experience are particularly encouraged to apply.  The Center will also host Residency Fellows supported by outside funding conducting relevant research.


Send CV, letter of research and policy interests, and two letters of reference to:  Post-Doc Search, Center for Science, Policy, and Outcomes, 1 Thomas Circle, NW, Suite 1075, Washington, DC 20005. Supervising faculty: Michael Crow, Barry Bozeman, Dan Sarewitz.  For more information: or e-mail



Research Associate: Department of Sociology

Berkeley, California, USA

Fixed Term, 12-month basis, 100% time.
Salary: $45,000

DUTIES: Research Associate sought for an eighteen-month study of the ongoing agreement between the University of California - Berkeley and Novartis (now part of Syngenta Corporation). This agreement provides research funding for UC Berkeley’s Department of Plant and Molecular Biology in exchange for the first opportunity to patent research products.

QUALIFICATIONS: Ph.D. required by start date, no later than May 15, 2002. We seek an individual with a background in science studies, the sociology of agriculture, and/or higher education science policy. Residency in Berkeley, or the Bay Area, will be necessary during tenure as Research Associate - UC Berkeley residences will be available to rent. Strong interviewing, qualitative research and data management skills are necessary. Candidate will be a part of a team responsible for coordinating the daily operation of a project that includes a number of faculty, an off-site Post-Doc, another RA, and some hourly student labor. Numerous individual and collaborative publications in academic journals are anticipated.

APPLICATIONS: Due March 15, 2002. Late submissions will be considered if a suitable candidate pool is not identified by the deadline. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. Send letter of application, vita and two recommendations to Dr. Alan Rudy/Dr. Lawrence Busch, UC Berkeley-Novartis Study, Institute for Food Agricultural Standards, Michigan State University, 316 Berkey Hall, East Lansing, MI 48823-1111. Email: Telephone: (517)353-0745. FAX: (517)432-2856.



Endowed Chair in Language and Human Communication

University of California, San Diego, California, USA


The Communication Department at UCSD seeks a distinguished senior scholar working in traditions of analysis that emphasize language as a mediator of human action, including such approaches as General Semantics, activity theory, ordinary language analysis, pragmatism and others, to fill the Sanford I. Berman Chair of Language and Human Communication.  The candidate could be trained in communication, rhetoric, philosophy, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, linguistic anthropology, information science or other related fields.  The position begins July 1, 2003.  Salary per UCSD pay scales.  The Chair carries a research stipend.  For information on the department and the university, consult the department web page:


UCSD is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to excellence through diversity.  Send vita, statement of research and teaching interests, and names of 3 references by April 15, 2002, or until the position is filled, to:

Professor Susan Leigh Star

Recruitment Committee, Berman Chair

Department of Communication (0503)

University of California, San Diego

La Jolla, CA USA 92093-0503



Director Systems Laboratory.

Pitney Bowes, (no location given)


The Systems Laboratory is a key link in the innovation pipeline at Pitney Bowes. The laboratory builds reference prototypes embodiments of products and services that can be used to trial a concept with customers. A reference prototype is built quickly to identify and address technical and market risks. It is a minimal implementation, but is architected for extensibility. The lab builds and trials physical and virtual products and services in collaboration with business units or with our internal business incubator.


The Director of the Laboratory will have experience leading an R&D organization in a high tech company. He or she will approach the development of technology from a user-centered perspective, and will be knowledgeable and enthusiastic about participative design. We are seeking a high-energy individual who is willing to experiment and take risks in order to create a high performance work group.


Candidates should have a strong background in a technical discipline with a track record of delivering products that are used and useful. Strong leadership, staff development and communications skills are a requirement. Knowledge of rapid application development, including extreme programming and the use of open source software is a plus. Inquiries should be directed to 

Social Scientist in Reproductive Health

UCSF Center for Reproductive Health Research and Policy, Sacramento, California, USA


Full-time position in the Sacramento office of the UCSF Center for Reproductive Health Research and Policy (CRHRP). UCSF Classification: Senior Public Administrative Analyst (salary range $47,500-78,500 per year). 


Responsible for producing, directing and supervising an Office of Population Affairs grant examining family planning and reproductive health among Mexican immigrants (rural and urban-based populations) in California; survey focuses on gender, power and culture. Grant duties include implementing field activities (survey development, field staff, interviewing) and organizing analysis and write up for reports and peer-review publications, in conjunction with Principal Investigator (50%). Other external funding possibilities are likely to result from this initial study.


Responsible for providing professional consultation and support to the Office of Family Planning (OFP) and the Project Director of UCSF, regarding behavioral issues as they relate to the delivery of health services under the Family PACT Program, California’s comprehensive reproductive health program for the working poor and uninsured. This is a $2 million/year contract with the State of California providing program support and evaluation (50%).


Excellent communication and writing skills needed; must be highly organized. Master’s degree required; Ph.D, or equivalent experience, preferred, bilingual (Spanish) required.


M. Catherine Maternowska, Ph.D., MPH

Assistant Adjunct Professor, Dept of ObGyn and Reproductive Sciences

Assistant Adjunct Professor, Dept of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine

Director, Family PACT Project

University of California, San Francisco

Center for Reproductive Health Research & Policy

2000 "O" Street, Suite 200

Sacramento, CA  95814

tel:  916/440-8803 (Direct)

       916/440-8800 (Main)

fax: 916/440-8816






Society of Social Studies of Science (4S): Council Member


The Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) is seeking candidates to run for positions on the 4S Council, for a three year term beginning in September 2002.


The structure of the 4S Council and the duties of Council members are described on the 4S web page, in the sections on "governance" and "committees" (


Please send nominations (including self-nominations) to Kim Fortun (, chair of the 4S Nominations Committee. When possible, please provide email addresses and telephone numbers for those people nominated.





Fleck Prize, 4S


Nominations are now being sought for the Fleck Prize, awarded annually by the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) for the best book in the area of science and technology studies. 

Authors need not be members of 4S to be eligible.   The substantive content of the book should be concerned with science and/or technology, however defined.  To be considered this year, books must have been published in 1999, 2000, or 2001.  Reprints, second editions, edited volumes and reference works are not eligible.  Multiply authored books are eligible when they represent original work.

Nominations can be made by publishers, or by any member of 4S.  Nominations should be sent to 4S Treasurer Wes Shrum (, and should include author, title, publisher and year of publication.  Publishers will be contacted directly for submission of nominated books in February.

This Fleck Prize committee for this year includes Vololona Rabeharisoa (Chair), Hideto Nakajima, Kim Fortun, and Wiebe Bijker (4S President).


Council on Anthropology and Reproduction

Second Annual Graduate Student Paper Prize Competition


The Council on Anthropology and Reproduction (CAR) is pleased to announce its second annual student paper award competition.  The award will go to the best graduate-student paper on anthropology and

reproduction. Submissions from all subfields of anthropology are encouraged.


   Criteria on which the papers will be judged:


The papers will be read by a committee of CAR members.  The author of the winning paper will receive a cash award of approximately $250 (exact amount based on available funds) and the winner will be announced in

both the CAR Newsletter and the Anthropology Newsletter.  An abstract of the winning article will be published in the CAR Newsletter.


Submissions must be made in hard copy and must be postmarked no later than April 12, 2002.   Send five hard copies and one disk version of the essay, along with one copy of a sheet of paper with your name, mailing

address, e-mail address, telephone number, and school affiliation. Please do not include identifying information on the essay itself. Papers should be double spaced, no longer than 9,000 words (including references), and references should be formatted in American Anthropologist style.  Papers which have already been published or accepted for publication at the time of submission are not eligible.


Questions maybe directed to Lisa Bourgeault at or Gail Landsman at


Address submissions to

Gail Landsman

Associate Professor

Anthropology Department

University at Albany, SUNY

Albany, NY  12222


Lisa Bourgeault

1534 Nadina St.

San Mateo, CA  94402




University of Colorado Center for Science and Technology Policy Research Announces Publication of Newsletter


Ogmius, the Gallic god of Eloquence, is also the name of the new newsletter of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado. Each issue of Ogmius will include an exchange among leading voices in the science and technology policy community, updates on Center projects and websites, synopses of recent Center publications, web and media resources, information about educational and other science and technology policy opportunities and meetings, and other news and information of interest to the science and technology policy community. Ogmius will be available three times a year by subscription or online. Make sure you receive each issue of Ogmius by subscribing now ( Or read Ogmius online at


University of Minnesota Welcomes Evelyn Fox Keller

The University of Minnesota, and in particular the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, is pleased to announce it will be hosting Evelyn Fox Keller in the coming year as a distinguished visiting professor.



Impressions from Cornell grad student conference, February 15-16, 2002


On February 15th and 16th, the graduate students of Cornell University's Department of Science & Technology Studies hosted the Third Annual Northeast STS graduate Student Conference entitled “Under Construction: A Graduate Student Conference on Works in Progress.”  The conference series was founded in 2000 by MIT graduate students in an effort to forge closer ties between, and share research with, other STS graduate students in the Northeastern United States.  In contrast to higher profile conferences such as 4S, this conference series is relatively informal, allowing students to explore each other’s work and ideas more freely and experimentally.  This year’s conference was a great success, drawing four students from MIT, nine students from RPI, and two students from Virginia Tech.


Here are some impressions from those who attended:



It was fun.  Since it was my first “real” presentation, I learned a lot on how to face audiences with different backgrounds (though still STS), interests, and ways of thinking. It was a great experience hanging out with STS students from other schools—now I know how STS at RPI is different from at MIT, Cornell, and Virginia Tech. I also like Ithaca.  It's a real college town. 


—Sulfikar Amir, RPI



I appreciated the chance to meet and interact with students from other STS programs, because it seems the best way to let people know what's going on elsewhere.  Aside from the camaraderie, the conference was also a chance to see how different things might be for me had I went to a different STS Ph.D. program.  Like the character from Pulp Fiction said, “it’s the little differences.”  I’m glad I came, and hope I can manage to get to Cambridge next year.


—David Bruggeman, Virginia Tech



Next year’s conference returns to Boston and will be hosted by the graduate students of MIT’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society.  We’d like to thank all those who attended this year’s conference, and encourage STS graduate students in the Northeast to join us next February for more intellectual fun.


—the conference crew from Cornell






to epistemics and beyond

Andrew Pickering

Head of the Department of Sociology
University of Illinois, USA                                                                                                          


Presented at an author-meets-critics session on Karin Knorr Cetina’s book, Epistemic Cultures: How the Sciences Make Knowledge (1999), at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science, Cambridge, MA, Nov. 2001.


It’s an honour to be a commentator on Karin’s book. The singularity of Epistemic Cultures is that it is the first serious comparative study of laboratory life, and its great achievement is to show that the comparative strategy pays off. Karin’s comparisons led her to observations that are well worth making and that no-one had made before. These concern, for example, the peculiar ‘negative epistemics’ of HEP experiment—the field’s obsession with getting rid of stuff that isn’t interesting. Also, a particular aspect of that—the continual effort expended by physicists on understanding their apparatus and on monitoring it and cajoling it to work reliably. Also, the peculiar ’communitarian’ social organisation of large HEP collaborations. All of these things become visible and striking by virtue of Karin’s comparative attention to molecular biology—with its ‘positive epistemics’ (meaning its dependence upon exploratory material transformations), its relative lack of concern for how its effects are achieved, and its comfortingly familiar individualistic social organisation.


So, Karin’s book exemplifies a new and illuminating mode of doing science studies, and that is the major conclusion of this talk. I will fill in the rest of my time by being critical.


1) Something jars when Karin generalises from her observations of the UA2 experiment at CERN to speak of ‘the epistemic culture’ of HEP. One could pick away at this from several angles. One might ask, for example, about the smaller experiments mounted at CERN in parallel with UA1 and UA2. Almost by definition, these did not display the communitarian social structure that Karin focusses on, but were they not part of HEP’s experimental culture, too?[i] In dispute here would be the unitarity and homogeneity of ‘the culture’ that Karin analyses. And what about particle-physics theory? Karin is right that experimental physics is not reducible to the demands of theory, but she fails to note that UA2 stood at the end of a long line of detector development, on a historical trajectory that was, in fact, organised around the exploration of phenomena singled out by the ‘new physics’ of gauge theory. The ‘background’ effects that the negative epistemics of UA2 aimed to reject were precisely the phenomena of key interest in the ‘old physics’ of constituent quarks and Regge poles. At issue here is partly the question of cultural multiplicity again—there are aspects of UA2 that cannot be understood except by reference to a symbiosis of heterogeneous groups within HEP, experimenters and theorists. At issue, too, is the problematic of time and change. Karin’s ‘culture’ is a static entity; there is nothing in her analysis that allows one to get a grip on processes of transformation—and yet UA2 marked a particular moment in the history of particle physics, significantly different, materially, socially and conceptually, from what had preceded it.[ii]


2) Karin contrasts the negative epistemics of HEP experiment—its concern with really understanding what might go wrong—with a much more enterprising process of trial and error in molecular biology. The biologists tend to think up some material procedure for getting where they want to go, and if it doesn’t work they try something else. The key point is that the biologists don’t agonise over what went wrong if some passage of practice fails; they are much more dynamic and forward-looking than the physicists.


As I said before, this is an important contrast. But, again, it is not hard to muddy the waters. HEP detectors have changed a lot in their material constitution and geometry over the years [CQ, 361, fig 12.5], and how else should one imagine this than as an evolutionary process of trial and error, with physicists learning progressively the dos and don’ts of assembling massive multi-element arrays like UA2. Just like molecular biology, in fact. Why doesn’t Karin notice this? Because she is doing cultural studies and she doesn’t care about change—unless it happens on a very short time-scale in front of her eyes, so that what I believe to be a universal feature of scientific practice—the open-ended exploration of spaces of agency—turns on her account into a culturally specific method, proper to one science (molecular biology) but not to another (particle physics).[iii]


3) Karin could perhaps accede to that but still want to emphasise that the huge apparatus of negative epistemics in HEP has no counterpart in molecular biology. I would agree, but I would also be tempted to take Karin’s analysis a bit further. Karin is content simply to note this difference, but why should it take this specific form? Here is an answer.


Experimental particle physics is obsessed with avoiding error because it really is an epistemic culture—its advertised product is knowledge: the mass of the t-quark, the cross-section for the production of W’s, the lower limit on the Higgs mass.[iv] Its brag is that when this knowledge gets out of the experimental collaboration it is unassailable—that no-one can argue with it.[v] There is, I want to say, nothing beyond knowledge that the physicists can lean on. That is why the negative epistemics is so important. Molecular biology, in contrast, is always in touch with lively materials as both the input to and output from its practice. So biologists can lean on the material products of their work, without caring so much where they come from. The knowledge of molecular biologists goes along with their material achievements and enjoys a kind of material ratification thereby. It no longer seems so important to understand every aspect of an experimental system if what comes out of it is a cloned sheep.


Particle physics is thus peculiar in that it is indeed an epistemic culture, heavily oriented towards the production of articulated knowledge. And the peculiarity of Karin’s book is that she doesn’t remark on that. She appears to think that, at some level, all sciences are like particle physics. She is still, I suspect, under the spell of the representational idiom, the image of science-as-knowledge. The material, as distinct from epistemic, performativity of science escapes her here.



My remarks so far have taken Karin’s book on its own terms. I’ve said why I think it is important, and I’ve also criticised features of its framing—its static and monolithic conception of ‘culture,’ and its centring on knowledge. My remaining remarks concern the book’s future—where do we go after Epistemic Cultures? What do we do? The obvious answer is: more comparative studies. But beyond that? Karin points in a couple of directions in her book, and I’ll take them in turn.


4) Karin wants us to read her book as an intervention into social theory, but she is insufficiently dogmatic for my taste about where that might lead.[vi] So let me draw attention to what I think is most important in this respect—namely her idea that we should always be on the look out for strange new social ontologies and topologies, that the repertoire that has come down to us from the founding fathers might be too limited. Perhaps thinking in terms of autonomous individuals, hierarchical organisations and power-as-domination doesn’t hack it anymore (if it ever did). Her prize exhibit here is the big experimental collaboration in particle physics—a group of hundreds (or even thousands) of people, internally differentiated by a technical division of labour, lacking any hierarchical direction, in which the usual properties attributed to individual agents dissolve into a collective ‘superorganism’ and which is capable of collectively accomplishing monumental tasks.[vii]


This is indeed a wonderful specimen that enriches and stretches our conception of what the social universe contains. I could add, however, that it helped me to see what was at stake when Karin made a contrast between ontology of an existing collaboration and the process of its intitial formation. She argues that, in contrast to the communitarian phase, the process of collaboration-formation is one in which good, old-fashioned social actors—individuals and their interests—come right to the fore. One interesting argument that she could have made, then, but didn’t, is that social ontologies can change in time—here from a squirming mass of interest groups to a unified post-traditional communitarianism. This morphing of ontologies interests me a lot—it is surely a ubiquitous feature of the social world which the social sciences lack any vocabulary to conceptualise. But again, given her lack of interest in time and change, Karin simply glosses this transformation of social ontology as a repetitive feature specific to HEP.


5) What about Epistemic Cultures as a theoretical intervention into science studies? Karin is rather coy about this, too, naming a few authors but not arguing in a sustained fashion for any particular position. So I will just say that what I like most about her book is what I would call the posthumanism of its accounts.[viii] Karin puts a lot of flesh on her idea that the laboratory is a place where nature and scientists are reciprocally reconfigured—enhanced and tuned to one another. Her ethnographies are thus decentred: neither the human nor the nonhuman runs the show; both are at stake and liable to transformation in the doing of science. This seems to me to be entirely the right way to go. I also like very much the fact that her way of getting the material world into the picture is to emphasise its performativity—its agency. She has a beautiful chapter on the ways in which the language of particle physicists engages with their struggles with machines whose behaviour they cannot fully control. Her image of molecular biology as rigging up little biological factories and production lines is also very appealing. In each case, then, though in different ways, scientific practice appears as a transformative interplay between the agency of the scientists and the agency of things.


I just wish Karin had said that more loudly and thematised it explicitly as a contribution to science studies (and to social theory more generally). If I had to guess why she didn’t, I would think of the gravitational pull of the word ‘epistemic.’ If you think of the whole show of science as pointing towards the production of representations, then you might well underplay some striking aspects of being in the world.


6) My last topic. The substantive chapters of Karin’s book are all about physics and biology. The first and last chapters, in contrast, talk about ‘knowledge society’—the idea that the many fields of technical knowledge that run through our contemporary world are what give it its distinctive feel and character. Karin’s hope is that studies of the epistemic cultures of science can provide us with an entree into a much broader exploration of knowledge societies. This is an interesting and original idea which, in general terms, goes back to the point about social ontology I discussed earlier. At the level of specifics, however, it seems a bit strained. HEP is the last place I would begin an exploration of knowledge society. The knowledge that HEP produces does nothing in the wider world, as far as I know, other than sell a few popular books.


Molecular biology would be a plausible place to start—but, for me, at least, following this line of thought tends to unravel the notion of ‘knowledge society’ itself. Molecular biology does indeed seem to be worth examining as a force in our world. And some of that force might derive from the knowledge that it produces. Arguments about race, for example, can latch onto the mapping of the human genome. But my instinct is that the material accomplishments of molecular biology as genetic engineering merit more attention.[ix] Genetically modified organisms and food, cloned sheep; cloned people; reengineered people, real superorganisms? This takes us back to the material performativity of science, and leaves me still puzzled with Karin’s fascination for epistemology. Perhaps the sciences aren’t epistemic cultures. Perhaps we don’t live in a knowledge society. Karin’s book invites us to think about big issues, and we should be grateful to her for that.



Distributed Cognition in Epistemic Cultures

Ronald N. Giere

Department of Philosophy

Center for Philosophy of Science

University of Minnesota


Introduction.  Knorr’s Epistemic Cultures might turn out to be the last great laboratory study of its kind.  It is difficult to imagine anyone again putting so much time and effort into observing the culture of one scientific laboratory, let alone two laboratories in two very different sciences.


Knorr’s reason for studying two different sciences is to strengthen her main thesis which is that scientific fields exhibit “epistemic cultures.”  This thesis is strengthened if she can show that different scientific fields exhibit different epistemic cultures.  In these brief comments I will focus on just one central difference she claims to find.  I will suggest that this difference is much smaller than she claims if we think of it in a richer way that merges social with cognitive aspects of scientific cultures.


High Energy Physics (HEP). Knorr’s first case is high energy physics (HEP), and, in particular, experiments done between 1987 and 1996 at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN).


CERN’s Large Electron Positron Collider (LEP) is located on the border between France and Switzerland. This collider, which was finally decommissioned in November, 2000, was 27 kilometres around.  It is now being replaced by a Large Hadron Collider (LHC) coupled with a very large detector called ATLAS.   Note the size: 44m wide, 22m high, and weighing 7000 tons. Among the salient features of experiments at CERN that Knorr mentions are these:

1.The size and complexity of the instrumentation

2.The size of the collaboration.  HEP experiments may have 1000 participants.

3.Duration. HEP experiments typically take several years.

4.Instability of the collaboration. Partly because of the long duration of HEP experiments, participants come and go.

5.Physical separation of the participants. CERN has around 3000 employees, but most of the participants in individual experiments are employed elsewhere, typically in universities around the world.


These features form the basis for Knorr’s conclusions about the epistemic culture of HEP. A major claim, the subject of a whole chapter, is that HEP experiments have a “post-traditional communitarian structure.” One feature of such structures is that authority is distributed. In HEP experiments, expertise confers authority. But expertise cannot be centralized simply because no one person can know everything that must be known to make the experiment work. So, because expertise is distributed, authority is distributed.  Along with authority goes responsibility, which also must be distributed. This distribution of authority and responsibility depends on a high level of trust and cooperation within the community.  As one would hope, the rewards, such as they are, tend also to be shared. These features provide most of Knorr’s basis for calling the culture of the experiment “post-traditional communitarian.”


Of course an experiment has leaders, but these, she says, cannot operate hierarchically.  Rather than being “on top,” the leaders are “in the middle,” coordinating more than directing. The result is what Knorr calls “management by content.”  What gets done, and when, depends mostly on the technical problems that need to be solved to achieve the goal of a meaningful and reliable result.


Perhaps Knorr’s most provocative idea is “the erasure of the individual as an epistemic subject” in HEP.  One cannot identify any individual person, or even a small group of individuals, who produces the resulting knowledge. The only available epistemic agent, she suggests, is the extended experiment itself.  Indeed, she attributes to the experiment itself a kind of “self-knowledge” generated by the continual testing of components and procedures and the continual informal sharing of information by participants.  E-mail now makes it possible for all active participants always to be virtually on site at CERN itself no matter where in the world they are physically located. In the end, she invokes the Durkheimian notion of “collective consciousness.”


Distributed Cognition?  I want to suggest that there is a complementary, cognitive account of these CERN experiments to be found in recently developed notions of distributed cognition.  Knorr, in fact, indirectly suggests this approach.  In at least a half dozen passages she uses the term “distributed cognition” to describe what is going one in a HEP experiment. Here are two examples:


·                     … the subjectivity of participants is ... successfully replaced by something like distributed cognition. (1999, 25)


·                     Discourse channels individual knowledge into the experiment, providing it with a sort of distributed cognition or a stream of (collective) self-knowledge, which flows from the astonishingly intricate webs of communication pathways. (1999, 173)



These uses of the expression “distributed cognition” are almost always qualified with expressions such as “something like” or “a sort of.”  There is never any further characterization of what distributed cognition might be.  Moreover, these uses of the term are neither referenced nor footnoted.  And, finally, the otherwise wide-ranging bibliography contains no references to works in which distributed cognition is discussed.


My suggestion is that Ed Hutchins’ account of navigation aboard a traditional US Navy ship, presented in Cognition in the Wild, provides a good example of how to construct a more cognitive account of HEP experiments.  Of course there are glaring differences between these two cases. The structure of the culture aboard a Navy ship is anything but “post-traditional communitarian.”  Nor could the lines of communication on a Navy ship be described as “intricate webs.”  Nevertheless, I think that both situations provide examples of distributed cognitive systems in action.


CERN and the Palau. For this audience, one need not recount Hutchin’s work in much detail.  I will limit my attention to a few features that might have some counterparts in HEP experiments.  Knorr distinguishes between laboratories and experiments.  Laboratories are places where experiments take place.  It is primarily experiments, not laboratories, that produce new knowledge.  Of course, since experiments use laboratory equipment, parts of the laboratory become parts of the experiment.  Likewise, in Huchins’ example we should distinguish between the ship and navigation.  It is navigational practice, not the ship, that produces the knowledge needed to guide a ship into port.  But of course some parts of the ship are also parts of the navigational process.


Both navigation and experimentation are examples of collective cognition, which is a special case of distributed cognition.  Collective cognition is ubiquitous, although apparently little studied until very recently.  Collective cognition occurs whenever two or more people combine individual knowledge not initially shared with the others.  Thus, together they produce a cognitive output, some bit of knowledge, that neither could produce alone.  In the case of pilotage, the location of the ship relative to a landmark on the right and the location relative to a different landmark on the left are determined by two different people.  Neither learns what the other knows, but both communicate their knowledge to others who can then use this knowledge to determine the location of the ship but need not share this knowledge.  HEP experiments are more complex and involve many more people, but the collective nature of the knowledge production is similar.  Many different people perform different tasks based on what may be known only to themselves, but if everyone does the right things at the right time, the experiment can be run successfully.


Hutchins urges that collective cognition be studied in its own right because it has features not found in individual cognition.  Some of these features are just those noted by Knorr: the distribution of authority, responsibility and reward, and the need for high degrees of trust and cooperation.  None of these features are present in individual cognition.  Nevertheless, no matter how important the collective aspects of cognition in HEP experiments, these seem to me not to be what is distinctive about such experiments.


   Hutchins argues that cognition can be distributed not only among individuals, but also between individuals and artifacts.  For example, in determining the location of the ship relative to a landmark, a sailor uses an alidade (al’ i dāde), an instrument adopted from surveying.  With an alidade, a sailor can determine the relative location of the landmark to an accuracy of one degree.  That is to say, the cognitive system consisting of a sailor plus an alidade has an accuracy of one degree.  Sailors alone using only their eyes to determine the angle of a landmark relative to the ship’s bow would be doing well to get within five or ten degrees with any reliability. Here is a summary description of collective and distributed cognition:


DISTRIBUTED COGNITION: A situation in which one or more individuals reach a cognitive outcome either by combining individual knowledge not initially shared with the others or by interacting with artifacts organized in an appropriate way (or both).



COLLECTIVE COGNITION: A special case of distributed cognition in which two or more individuals reach a cognitive outcome simply by combining individual knowledge not initially shared with the others.


These are not intended as definitions.  I don’t think such concepts can usefully be defined by strictly necessary and sufficient conditions.


I think Hutchins’ example can be scaled up for HEP.  Imagine a run of the LHC with the ATLAS detector.  Suppose there were at this particular time100 people operating the equipment.  They each perform their assigned tasks using their specialized knowledge of the capabilities and current state of the machines.  The desired result is, say, data from which the mass of the Higgs boson could be determined.  This is a task that no number of people could perform by themselves.  Highly specialized machines are also required.  So we attribute the cognitive capacity to acquire the desired data to the whole system, people plus machines organized in an appropriate way.  The cognition is in this way distributed.


The Cognitive and the Social. We are now in a position to reconcile at least some of the apparent conflicts between cognitive and a social accounts of the sciences.  The traditional navigation system aboard the Palau and a HEP experiment are both cognitive systems.  They produce desired knowledge by carefully distributing the cognitive task among both humans and artifacts.  The tasks and the artifacts required are of course very different.  But so is the culture and social structure.  Navy culture is hierarchical and the social organization of the navigation team has a top-down command structure.  If Knorr is right about HEP, the culture is communitarian and the social structure of the experimental group exhibits “management by content.”


Nevertheless, we do not have a sharp divide, let alone conflict, between the cognitive and the social accounts of these activities.  In both cases, the culture and social structure are part of the respective cognitive systems.  They determine how the cognition is distributed.  To know how a cognitive system works one has to know about the culture and social organization as well as about the capabilities of the people and the artifacts.  Distributed cognitive systems are complex.


Mind and Consciousness. Recall that Knorr suggested taking the experiment itself as an epistemic subject, the thing that knows, and she was even tempted to ascribe a kind of distributed consciousness to this distributed subject.  There is ample motivation for this move in folk psychology, which is decidedly individualistic.  In folk psychology, knowing requires a subject with a mind, and minds are typically conscious. Nevertheless, I do not think we are forced to make these moves.  We are developing a science of cognition.  In so doing we are free to make cognition a technical scientific concept different from everyday notions.


Cognitive systems are human creations, the product of human agency.  But here is no need to ascribe agency to anything other than the human components of such systems.  Nor need we endow such systems as a whole with knowledge, belief, or any of the other mental states we associate with human minds, particularly not with consciousness. The reason for calling these systems cognitive systems rather than, say, transport systems or agricultural systems, is that they participate in the production of a distinctly cognitive product, knowledge.  Without the human interaction there would be no knowledge, just a complex physical process.  This is not to say that we humans are anything other than complex physical systems.  We are just a particular kind of physical system, one that can know about other things.  The ATLAS detector is not that kind of system.


When, then, would be a good cognitive scientific way to characterize the result of a HEP experiment?  My suggestion would be to depersonalize the characterization, so that we would say things like “This experiment has shown that ….”  Or, if that is still to personalized, try something like “This experiment leads to the conclusion that ….”  And to whom is it shown?  Who draws the conclusions? The scientists whose professional job it is to do these things.  Who else?  The rest of us get it second or third hand on their authority.


Molecular Biology.  Turning finally to Knorr’s comparison of HEP with molecular biology, she writes:


This is perhaps molecular biology’s first most important difference from experimental high energy physics: in the molecular biology laboratory, the person remains the epistemic subject. (1999, 217)


Accordingly, the chapters on molecular biology contain no talk about distributed cognition.  Here I think Knorr assumes that distributed cognition is the same as collective cognition, terms she seems to use interchangeably.  This identification eliminates the possibility that a single person operating with a piece of instrumentation can already be an example of distributed cognition.  Here the cognition is distributed between the person and the instrument.  This happens all the time in molecular biology laboratories.  Not to recognize this possibility is not fully to understand the power of distributed cognition.


Knorr clearly assumes that if knowledge is being produced, there must be an epistemic subject, the thing that knows what is known.  This is a perfectly reasonable assumption.  It permeates modern philosophy (that is, philosophy since the seventeenth century).  And for the past half a century, analytic epistemology has sought an analysis of the linguistic form: X knows that p, where X is a subject and p a proposition.  Now typically the subjects are humans.  But Knorr’s deep understanding of the organization of experiments in HEP makes this assumption problematic in that setting.  Finding herself forced to find another epistemic subject, she settles on the experiment itself.  This problem disappears if we take the more impersonal view of scientific knowledge suggested above. These more impersonal forms of expression free us from the need to find a special sort of epistemic subject.  Individuals cannot produce the knowledge in question, but they can in some ordinary sense come to know the final result.


A similar problem arises for Knorr because the traditional epistemic subject is a conscious subject.  But if we take the extended experiment to be the epistemic subject, do we have to introduce an extended form of consciousness as well?  Knorr is tempted by this implication.  Speaking of stories scientists tell among themselves, she writes:


The stories articulated in formal and informal reports provide the experiments with a sort of consciousness: an uninterrupted hum of self-knowledge in which all efforts are anchored and from which new lines of work will follow. (1999, 178)


And on the following page, she continues:


Collective consciousness distinguishes itself from individual conscious­ness in that it is public: the discourse which runs through an experiment provides for the extended "publicity" of technical objects and activities and, as a consequence, for everyone having the possibility to know and assess for themselves what needs to be done. (1999, 179)


Again, Knorr is not alone in making such connections.  Philosophical commentators on distributed cognition (Clark, 1997) have also been temped to speak of distributed minds, minds encompassing artifacts as well as humans.  Such speculations could be avoided if we adopt a more impersonal attitude toward scientific knowledge.


Now I do not believe that there is an objective fact of the matter as to which ways of thinking about these issues are correct.  As Knorr herself has shown, our ordinary ways of thinking about knowledge break down when applied to some areas of modern science.  Our problem is to decide which way of thinking about these sciences provides the best overall theoretical perspective on modern science.  And this decision can only emerge within the science studies community from continued discussion of studies like those Knorr has provided.


[i] CQ: 379n43 -- likewise detector devt work -- si etc

[ii] the argt here cd be for cross-time comparisons as also illuminating

[iii] can take this further re diffnt detection techniques: CCs, BCs. spk chmbrs, wire chs, MWPCs, silicon detectors, c/kov detectors -- again what matters is that they work, not that they are throroughly analysed from the persp of basic phys [cf PG on DG & BC] = mol biol again -- also emphs pfmativity . . . PI vs RI

[iv] so the trick in HEP is to make some of the most massive and complex machines the world has ever seen disappear -- while making the world’s (supposedly) tiniest and most ephemeral, intangible, even in theory, entities visible and enduring and striking -- no wonder it takes a weird epistemic apptus to accomplish this

[v] which is not the same as saying that it’s true

[vi] One should discuss the contrast between KKC’s style of comparison and the traditional comparative method in the social sciences -- extracting the key explanatory variables.

[vii] The trick, according to Karin, is what she calls ‘object-oriented management,’ in which coordination is managed by a common orientation to a material object—the detector; its construction and performance—rather than by top-down surveillance and directives, and by layer upon layer of technical discourse and gossip.

[viii] most sustained engagement is with me -- the long passage in the FNs re resist -- but wanting to locate & classify them -- loses temporality again

[ix] ditto HEP -- acclrtrs, detctrs, medicine