Linguists first used the term backchannel to refer to the spontaneous responses and signals that provide interactivity to what is only apparently a one-way communication. Social media users have adopted the term to refer to the unofficial, multi-directional online conversation that parallels formal academic exchange at a lecture or conference. The Backchannels blog is intended to have a similar relationship to scholarly discourse in STS. It provides an outlet for alternative-format scholarly communications, publishing shorter, timelier, media-rich communiques of interest to the global STS community. The editors welcome proposed contributions.

From the UK to Brazil: digital health and the platformization of public health systems

Feb 19 2024

In this post, Raquel Rachid and Marcelo Fornazin discuss the process of digitizing public health systems based on a comparison between Brazil and the United Kingdom, focusing on the process of platformization of the State.

Recapping AusSTS 2023 (Sydney) - Conversations in, and with, Place

Feb 12 2024

The Australasian Science and Technology Studies (AusSTS) Network held its inaugural conference, "What Is an Australasian STS Contribution?", at the University of New South Wales in Sydney on July 17 and 18, 2023. In this post, Carina Truyts, Jianni Tien, Dan Santos, and Ella Butler report back on the conference and examine the meaning of place-based STS.

Energetics of Infrastructure in the Middle East

Feb 6 2024

In this blog post, Katayoun Shafiee reflects on the case of the Dez Dam in Iran highlighting the role of cost-benefit analysis as a technology of governance.

Scale, space, and subjecthood: Methods for understanding plantations as ecological form and enduring logic

Jan 31 2024

In this post, Sophie Chao summarises the key issues discussed at a three-part panel on “Plantations and epistemic imperialism” held at the 4S/ECOSITE conference in Cholula, Mexico, in December 2022, and published in revised form in January 2024 as a collection of essays in radical geography journal Antipode’s Intervention series.

The politics of curriculum: Inflecting knowledge in computer science education

Jan 23 2024

Dr Benedetta Catanzariti reflects on her experience as an STS scholar embedded in a core undergraduate computer science program at the University of Edinburgh. By attending to the "curricular infrastructures" of computer science education, we can chart new paths towards reflexive socio-technical knowledge production.

Launching the STS of Spaceports

Jan 8 2024

Dr. Richard Tutton et al reflect upon the Spaceports: Places, Promises, Politics symposium at the University of York (UK) that brought together scholars, researchers and representatives from two UK-based spaceports to explore the social, (geo)political and environmental ramifications of spaceport development.

Pathways of STS In India: A Workshop Report

Jan 17 2024

The Science and Technology Studies India Network (STS-IN) held its inaugural workshop titled “Pathways of STS: Where We Come From and Where We (Can) Go” at the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad on December 14 and 15, 2023. Graduate students, researchers, and faculty members working on themes related to STS from across the country attended the workshop.

Call for Assistant Editors | 4S Backchannels (Global North Team)

Dec 25 2023

4S Backchannels: Call for Assistant Editors

4S Backchannels is welcoming applications from early-career scholars to join our growing Editorial Team.

4S Backchannels is an integral part of the Society of the Social Studies of Science (4S) organization and community. Our Global North and Global South teams provide a timely outlet for short-format, media-rich, and editor-reviewed scholarly communications. We aim to target a general audience interested in science and technology studie...

The passenger terminal building at Suvarnabhumi International Airport and its representation of the Thai identity: a retrospective reflection

Jan 1 2024

Professor Noobanjong writes about the friction that arises in expressing Thai identity upon building a world-class airport symbolising a modern meeting-space between the global and the local.

“Decolonising the thinking and territorialising the disputes”: A Report from the X ESOCITE Brazil / "Descolonizando o pensamento e territorializando as disputas": Relatório do X ESOCITE Brasil

Dec 18 2023

In this post, Mariana Pitta Lima and Débora Allebrandt report back from the X Brazilian Symposium on Science, Technology and Society, the biannual meeting organised by the Brazilian Association for the Social Studies of Science and Technology.

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