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  1. Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts | Disaster STS Network
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Beyond the questions of valuing or naturalization, the frontiers of humanity Remy, Winance, are raised as main issues related to care practices, i. Svendsen, L. Navne, M. Seest Dam, I.

Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts | Disaster STS Network

Finally, the presentations used a diversity of methods and methodologies, from less usual ones like meta-ethnography H. As shown by J. These remarks pave the way towards a dynamic living laboratory process put to work when studying care in practice. I thank Laura Centemeri, Paola Diaz and Stefan Nicolae for their careful reading of this article and their insightful comments.

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ENoLL aims to support co-creative, user-driven research and contribute to the creation of a dynamic European innovation system, with a global reach. This was the question that Lucy Suchman posed in the plenary session with Isabelle Stengers, as she reported on the subplenary session discussing the future of academia in the neoliberalizing institutional environments STS scholars currently work. What to do with the powerful propositions for abolishing authorship, resisting quantification, rethinking academic work? How to make them productive, generative?

How to keep them alive, make them public?

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Thus what the Barcelona conference motto did was to stress this set of concerns as the common ground for any field-wide conversation. The key here, I think, was to highlight the contribution of feminist technoscience studies as not simply one important tradition in STS, but as a critical source to rethink the whole field of STS as a feminist project. All plenary and subplenary sessions, I felt, were carefully attuned to the feminist invitations of thinking with, against and alongside technoscience, reimagining STS as a collaborative endeavour with collectives committed to making visible, and experimenting with other forms of not just science and technology, but of life together.

In the same vein, the Barcelona conference gave prominence to current articulations of STS and anthropological modes of thinking and researching. But, more modestly, to simply point out that what we encounter here are propositions that could help us to collectively think about the future of STS as an intellectual practice.

Barcelona was the first conference organised or co-organised by EASST to be held in a conference centre. There were many good reasons why this came to be the case. The most obvious one was the sheer number of participants around and the need to delegate some organizational tasks to professional service providers. However, I think there are also good reasons for maintaining the tradition of university-based conferences. To begin with, this could allow us to not subject our conferencing practices to the surveillance of a security apparatus and to counteract their commoditization up to the last drop of water.

University-based conferences, I think, give local organizing committees and the associations involved more leeway over otherwise black-boxed issues, such as what is technically possible, what is economically viable, what is environmentally sustainable, etc. But, beyond this, university settings are also crucial to situate our knowing and conferencing practices differently.

To not encounter each other as academic tourists in global non-places close to a sunny beach, but to attach ourselves to local settings of knowledge production. Whether this type of university-based conferences could continue under the current model of joint mega conferences is an open question. The Barcelona conference managed to at least partially square the circle by organizing a program of parallel activities that took at least some of the conference participants in some critical places of local knowledge production and contestation, such as the visual arts research centre Hangar or the Museum of Design.

But it probably requires more than parallel activities in order to practice conferences as learning devices that situate participants in local settings of STS production. It took place on 14 January The event was based on invited papers and it was attended by 30 scholars in the areas of History of Science and Technology; Science, Technology and Society and Policy and Innovation Studies. More than members of the broader audience and from NGOs attended several of the sessions while the attendance during the final roundtable went beyond people. The aim was to start a discussion about the role of history and more particularly of the history of techno-sciences in techno-scientific policy making.

Emphasis was given on histories of innovations and technologies in the energy sector, environmental innovations and the information and communication technologies. The main questions of the event were: What is or what can be the role of history in public policies relevant to science and technology? What historiographical perspectives are more pertinent to historically informed techno-scientific policies? Can a historian of science and technology have a role in policy and decision making?

Those questions were formulated in the very reflexive context that seems to have influenced the international community of historians. In recent years, historians are seeking to place themselves more centrally in the making of public policies. More recently, the book The History Manifesto CUP, by Jo Guldi and David Armitage has triggered continuous public discussions about the role of history in public policies of contemporary social, political and economic problems. Beyond this, during the last two decades, historians and sociologists of technology have worked on historically informed policy scenarios and have conducted policy relevant historical research.

In this context the workshop aimed to bring together historians of science and technology, sociologists, innovation studies as well as policy analysts, in order to reflect on the role of history in the making of science and technology policies but in the context of the broader dialogue and taking into account existing experiences. Furthermore, two roundtables were organized. One roundtable was about the aims and the scope of the research projects that contributed to funding the workshop.

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  5. The aim was to show how large scale projects mostly in the energy sector promote multidisciplinary research that brings together historians, sociologists, innovation studies scholars and economists as well as legal scholars. The second roundtable and concluding session featured four external commentators who attended the workshop and provided both overall commentary and specific suggestions in relation to how history can be useful for science and technology policy making.

    The aim was to have representatives both from epistemic communities different from that of history of science and technology, as well as representatives from NGOs and the industry that could provide the view of stakeholders in science and technology policy making. Vincent Lagendijk advocated a historical approach based on a more symmetrical understanding of the causes and the agendas of the engineers, the state, the municipal authorities as well as the civil society.

    He argued for more historical sensitivity to the agency of the communities of citizens and infrastructure users in questioning engineering rationality and addressing issues emerged from the logic of civil society. Martin Ivanov provided a policy relevant history of renewable energy sources RES and their integration in the energy mix of the Bulgarian regime. He argued that institutional and technological path dependencies as well as the organizational and political culture defined the transition pathway of the energy mix in more sustainable directions.


    The transition was characterized by strong tensions and the opposition exerted by actors from the coal and nuclear lobbies, the local environmental activists and political engaged communities of citizens, distribution companies and electricity traders. Furthermore, governmental actions and decisions did not facilitate the integration of RES and the entrepreneurial activities of small scale installations. Pressures by the European Union were understood as windows of opportunity by incumbent regime actors to promote their interests, yet innovative initiatives were characterized and influenced by political corruption.

    Whereas Ivanov argued for the importance of institutions, governance patterns and culture in the making of energy regimes, the paper by Aristotle Tympas and Vassiliki Aggelopoulou stressed the importance of material histories in the making of policies and transitions to a more sustainable future. They argued that it is important to understand that technologies are not neutral and that different technologies are the material embodiments of different socio-political orders. Thus small scale wind parks with wind turbines of reduced height and width organized a different sociopolitical regime from the one organized around a large scale, colossal wind farms with gigantic wind turbines.

    While the first coproduced the energy regime for a regional or community level, the other coproduced patterns of energy demand that maintained unsustainable urban consumption. So when decisions are to be made, it is important to link technologies with the broader political priorities and with appropriate governance patterns. The second morning section was dedicated to technological transitions and path dependencies both at the governance and technological level.

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    Yannis Fotopoulos and colleagues argued that the natural gas transition in Greece showed that the political priorities at the transnational, national and local level defined the governance patterns and thus the character of the transition, the allocation of resources, skills and expertise s. Fotopoulos et al. In this context they pointed out the role of experts in visioning and framing energy problems and in directing policies by translating and inscribing them in the agenda of state and government actors.

    Furthermore, Fotopoulos et al. While Fotopoulos et al.


    He was interested in theorizing and assessing the agency of the actors and their role in promoting, directing or reacting to a transition. He argued that incumbent technologies as well as organizations can be important influences, negative or positive, on the success of low carbon technologies and policies.

    Pearson showed that transitions can be conducted and realized in an effective way even under tight schedule, short time scale, and within a context of strong landscape pressures. The issue at stake is to mobilize human and financial capital at state and corporate level as well as to exercise the regulatory power to facilitate the technological change and to facilitate the effective interaction between actors. This is a dimension stressed by Ivan Tchalakov too. He argued that the recent history of information and communication technologies and digital infrastructures in Bulgaria showed that governing successful transitions necessitated choices over technologies, allocation of expertise and skills, the social legitimization through acts of legislative measures and acts of persuasion but also the synergy of local private concerns with civil society initiatives.

    He reconstructed the sociotechnical networks that were shaped in the struggle against the established state monopoly. The passage from the communist to the liberalization period involved intensive attempts by the private internet service providers to change legislation. Pressures from those actors were strong in order to legitimize a logic of competition. Furthermore, he argued that the low taxes and the high speed of the Bulgarian internet created the setting for entrepreneurial activity of international private interests. This is a condition that has been deemed as necessary for the continuation of the pace and the character of the transition but also of the integration of internet in the developmental patterns of Bulgaria.

    Karl Erik Michelsen addressed the problem of the limits of national self-determination in energy policy. His starting point was the Finnish experience and he argued that small independent nations, like Finland, have only limited self-determination when it comes to energy policy. Dependence continued even for subsequent nuclear power stations despite the fact that they were built with western technology provided by Asea Atom and Westinghouse respectively. The issue of technological dependence was raised in the paper by Arapostathis and Tympas on the story of the cancelled nuclear programme of Greece.

    The Greek story showed that a nuclear power station was an endemically political project in which experts played an important role in the process of framing the solutions to energy problems. They were key actors inscribing the integration of nuclear power plant not only in the energy mix but also in legitimizing the political priorities of democratic or fascist governments.

    They showed that the nuclear power plant in Greece was cancelled due to the critical event of a strong earthquake but also to the delegitimization and the politicization of the project that had been achieved by the anti-nuclear movement. The issue of technological dependence and network interconnections was raised by Ivaylo Hristov too.

    The collapse of the communist regimes destabilized the energy regime since it provided the political space and the legitimacy of actors from the environmental and anti-nuclear movement to react and question certainties and hegemonies in the energy policy of the country, while at the same time legitimized transnational pressures by the European Union that urged for the decommissioning of the nuclear reactors. Each session was followed by extensive discussions that culminated with the final roundtable and the reflections by the commentators and the audience.

    In concluding we can summarize the discussion by stressing four main points that emerged from the papers and the discussions: a understanding path dependencies is important in policy making since they shape the dynamic of actors, innovation networks and institutions. Only by mapping the sociotechnical networks involved, can a more interventionist agenda follow and effect changes; b technologies are materialities inscribe and co-produce social order, the developmental paradigm and patterns of innovation. Thus, historically reconstructing the co-production process can inform public policies and public debates in spaces of deliberation.

    This is particularly important in order to secure symmetry in the engagement of different actors in the deliberation, as well as the condition for overcoming social inequalities in the design and distribution of innovations; c studying the histories of transnational network interconnections and technological dependencies can help us to understand current technology policies and inform debates about the appropriate directions of contemporary transitions; and d historical studies at micro and meso levels of analysis require a broader vision to address structural dimensions of sociotechnical networks and thus inform contemporary policies in an effective and efficient way.

    The workshop concluded in optimistic and enthusiastic spirit about the linkages and synergies between the history of techno-sciences and innovations and public policies while discussions continued over a dinner in a historic traditional tavern in Plaka the oldest section of the city of Athens. No guarantee, of course: this is an experiment, a thought experiment, a Gedankenausstellung. That voice is familiar. It appears in many texts and lectures, navigating between directly calling on the reader — never without a sense of humour, but seriously upset about the way we continue to act out modernity — and considerately trying out new ideas and forms of de-modernisation.

    Would space be reserved for reflection on how this Gedankenausstellung became an Ausstellung? And if so, what kind of spatial arrangement could express the localising qualities of this very representational work? As it turns out, there was. Firstly in the catalogue, which was too heavy to carry, and will be a source for future reading.

    When it comes to learning about the making-of process, the photographs of their work sessions are potential sources of information — they show people sitting around tables covered with document folders, bottles of soft drinks and plates of sweets, discussing plans that have been projected on the wall. It features photographs and an audio-visual recording of the curators visiting the ZKM in , bent over plans and examining the future exhibition space.

    Stay strong and hold on to your original vision. Did they stay strong? And was that the right approach? Here, thematically related quotes, notes, images and audio-recordings are provided and loosely arranged on a single white wall. These arrangements are aesthetically reminiscent of the associative Warburgian atlas production — without claiming to be exhaustive. Quite the opposite: These stations point directly to another, virtual actor — potentially a zettelkasten of the AIME team and its collaborators, which could be a probable source for the arrangements.

    The looseness of the wall arrangements and the virtual zettelkasten cautiously suggest the existence of selection, but not to the ways in which the selection took place. Which lines were drawn between those artworks and references that became part of the spatially, temporally, financially limited exhibition-project?

    Which artworks and references made their way into the exhibition while transgressing these lines? Given that these processes are always driven by tension and passion — which shape the agency distributed between the actors — these walls have a lightness, they breathe and invite the visitor to do the same. Here something might have been lost between the original vision and its spatialisation. The very discreteness of this AIME-archive the table with books at the intersection of three procedures should also be mentioned is partially the result of the large, all-consuming two-dimensional artworks that surround these stations.

    An analytical transcript on one of the screens, however, demonstrates the extent to which this intensity stems from both the president and his parish. Time for a Gedankensprung! In press releases and in the impressive catalogue, the new Reset Modernity! Appropriate, in the sense that what is being exhibited here, more than photographs and video screens and installation art, is in fact the thoughts of… Bruno Latour. Symptomatic, because in this case as well, German is more precise than English: while thoughts are literally put on display , it seems as if nothing much experimental is happening here.

    In particular, the detour through other materials seems to make no real difference to how the thoughts unfold themselves.

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    Crashing, indeed, is what modernity is said to be doing, under the weight of ecological crises. Or, to follow the opening video of the show, perhaps the crash has already happened and we are scrambling to face up to its effects? The answer was never entirely clear; just as it was not clear just why modernity needs resetting if, as the curator might say, we were never quite modern in the first place? Perhaps resetting is what happens to critique of ideology, once we stop believing in both critique and ideology? With so many interesting ideas flowing around; with such an impressive list of star artists enrolled; and with such a pressing eco-political mandate, Reset Modernity!

    Not that the show lacks exiting moments, far from it. Strong works of contemporary art, such as those by Simon Starling, Tacita Dean, Thomas Struth and Pierre Huyghe to name but a few , make it well worth a visit. Yet, at the level of curatorial guidance — of which the show has too much! Let us give a few examples to illustrate what we mean. During procedure b of the exhibition, the visitor is treated to two striking works by Jeff Wall, the Canadian artist well known for his self-reflexive inquiries into the nature of photographic representation. The choice of artist, of course, is far from coincidental.

    In the picture, Walker-the-artist is seen in the laboratory, absorbed in his work of making an anatomical drawing of a detached, mummified limb from a once-living animal. It is a wonderful piece of art, dwelling as it does on the capacity of photography to capture one of those still-rarer moments in scientific practice where artistic competence remains superior in precision to automated inscription.

    Latour surely agrees, to a point. As he explains in his brilliant Spinoza lecture, What is the style of matters of concern? To his credit, in this text, Latour re-prints a lengthy response to this interpretation by Wall himself, explaining why it misses what Wall takes to be the key point, to do with the pleasure of all depiction his own included, of course. Here is the problem, however: at the Reset Modernity! Statements to the effect that "it's amazing they were able to discover it" only make sense when one ignores the arduous process to construct the discovery out of the inscriptions available.

    Similarly, justifications that the discovery is valid because it works well outside the laboratory are fallacious. Any claims as to whether a new substance like TRF works are only valid in a laboratory context or its extension -- the only way one can know that the substance is actually TRF and thus that TRF is working is through laboratory analysis. However, the authors stress that they are not relativists—they simply believe that the social causes of statements should be investigated.

    Scientists frequently explain their choice of field by referring to curves of interest and development, as in " peptide chemistry [is] tapering off Desire for credit appears to only be a secondary phenomenon; instead a kind of "credibility capital" seems to be the driving motive. In a case study, they show one scientist sequentially choosing a school, a field, a professor to study under, a specialty to get expertise in, and a research institution to work at, by maximizing and reinvesting this credibility i.

    Four examples: a X threatens to fire Ray if his assay fails, b a number of scientists flood into a field with theories after a successful experiment then leave when new evidence disproves their theories, c Y supports the results of "a big shot in his field" when others question them in order to receive invitations to meetings from the big shot where Y can meet new people, d K dismisses some of L's results on the grounds that "good people" won't believe them unless the level of noise is reduced as opposed to K thinking them unreliable himself.

    The credibility of a scientist and their results is largely seen as identical. Is he going to provide me with hard facts? Technicians and minor leaguers, by contrast, do not accumulate capital but instead are paid a "salary" by major leaguers. So social construction becomes just construction of scientific facts. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article does not cite any sources.

    Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. May Learn how and when to remove this template message. Dewey Decimal. Bruno Latour. Actor—network theory Blackboxing Graphism thesis Mapping controversies Oligopticon Translation sociology.

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