Manual Knowing governance: the epistemic construction of political order

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A new world entails the possibility of searching funding and political support, building new social ontology and enacting necessary infrastructure. Each engineer turns out to be a maker of a new world. However, such a picture contradicts the conventional vision. According to this vision, engineers usually rely on the standardized procedures and act as cogs in large technological systems. As such cogs, they tend to be as far as possible from the public discussions of their projects. So, who are the engineers today? The world-makers or those who perform a set of standard operations as far as possible away from public discussions?

Are there cultural differences in such perceptions of engineers? Our section invites all participants who are interested in technical expertise and public role of engineers to make a current snapshot of engineering profession around the world. The first two decades of the twenty-first century have witnessed increasingly complex questions about ethics in biomedical research, health policy, and clinical practice—from the flourishing field of postgenomic research to the rapidly changing world of reproductive biomedicine.

This open panel explores ethical issues in health and biomedicine that are being innovated by and regenerated with STS perspectives. This panel provides renewed attention to how ethics is and can be conceived and constructed by stakeholders involved in shaping and disseminating biomedical knowledge, and it interrogates how differently-situated actors in the biomedical sciences—from researchers and policymakers to those in the clinic—make sense of, define, challenge, and shape what is considered ethical in their work, and the consequences for health delivery and outcomes.

Paper submissions may include, but need not be limited by, questions such as: How do biomedical researchers decide which questions about health need to be addressed?

How do they conceptualize risk, and how do they recruit research subjects? What considerations matter to biomedical researchers when they convey their results? How and when do health-care policymakers decide to prioritize certain topics? How do policymakers construct guidelines and rules for health research, and to what extent do they consider the impact of their policymaking on different populations? How, when, and why do clinicians offer health testing, information, and interventions to their patients?

How do clinicians navigate their various ethical obligations and responsibilities in promoting health and health care across population groups? We invite empirical papers from multiple disciplinary perspectives. What does STS look like—in its research questions, priorities, and theoretical interlocutors—when race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, migration, citizenship, indigeneity, and blackness, among others, become central problem spaces? Similarly, what does ethnic studies look like when science and technology become fundamental subjects and objects of investigation?

When faced with obdurate systems, social movements often create experimental infrastructures that suggest radical new arrangements of resources, knowledges, and power. While these systems are often materially insufficient to immediately address the full scale of the problems that inspired them, they have the potential to reorganize the conditions that limit what people imagine as possible.

What is the role of small-scale systems in pushing large-scale change? How do designers, developers, and maintainers of small-scale experimental infrastructures imagine the work of scaling up, building out, or strengthening these systems? How do they challenge the limits of time, materiality, and imagination? And how do small-scale infrastructural innovations challenge and reproduce relations of power?

In this open panel, we invite scholars and organizers who are working with movement-built infrastructures in a wide array of arenas.


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Fundamentally, we are seeking to better understand how projects with incredible potential could scale in ways that change the conditions of possibility in the direction of a wildly different world. By pulling together these examples, we aim to help each other imagine alternative futures beyond what we can currently conceptualize, and develop strategies for getting from here to there.

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How should STS approach expert domains that, instead of relying on a codified stock of objective knowledge, privilege the subjective? This panel invites papers about cases including emerging professions and unevenly regulated fields in which experts routinely and explicitly draw on personal experience, beliefs, ethics, and values to make decisions, legitimate their work, and set standards.

Such cases depart from many of the core assumptions of STS scholarship on the social production of scientific knowledge. From the Social Construction of Technology to Actor-Network theory, sociomateriality to infrastructure analysis, human judgment and social interaction are shown by analysts to be crucial in the process and outcome of knowledge production in scientific professions. In most such accounts, analysts reveal that the social production of facts and knowledge is core to a field that is typically—and erroneously—assumed to be objective.

Scholars of the professions, too, have tended to presume objectivity as a feature or goal of the standardized bodies of abstract knowledge they describe professionals as applying to particular cases and defending from competitors. Yet some domains of expert work, like the demedicalized midwifery and nonprofit consulting fields the organizers of this panel study, trouble this assumption with their embrace of the interpretive and the subjective.

How might STS contend with knowledge production and standard-setting in these expert domains that do not have uniform goals of objectivity or codified and settled bodies of knowledge? How do other features of expert domains, including codes of ethics and forms of licensure or credentialing, differ in these circumstances?

What challenges are presented for prevailing assumptions in STS about the process of knowledge production or standard-setting by considering expert domains that do not rely on the codified knowledge-producing activities and expectations that characterize the subjects of much STS attention to expertise and the professions?

Knowing Governance. The epistemic construction of political order

Healthy oceans contribute significantly to combating climate change. However, a lack of ocean scientific knowledge continues to challenge efforts to protect ocean ecosystems. This gap is steadily closed by global initiatives like the International Census of Marine Life programme. Furthermore, detection methods, observing infrastructures and data management have significantly improved over the past two decades, reconfiguring how oceans are studied and monitored.

In many respects, the study and monitoring of the oceans represents a new form of knowledge production.

Linda Soneryd

Challenges include producing systemic insights into ocean ecology; working toward industrial-scale production of innovations; providing scientific data to support environmental policy; and operating against the backdrop of a highly research-focused academic system. These developments are amplified by data scarcity, complicating the command of funding and shaping policies and practices of studying, monitoring and protecting the oceans.

This panel invites contributions on the socio-technical, epistemic, geo political, historical and ethical dimension of these developments, including case studies related to global and national policies and practices of ocean science and monitoring. Which dynamics occur when ocean science becomes even more subject to multiple valuation registers, including those associated with steering efforts toward more interdisciplinary engagement, societal relevance and demands from policy-makers? How do monitoring policies and practices contribute to the scientific representation of the ocean and its manifestation as a site, where different technological innovations compete for scientific legitimacy and marketability?

What are key innovations in ocean science and marine technology and how do they shape the policies and practices of the field?

Knowing governance : the epistemic construction of political order | Titel

Universalist models of innovation face a crisis of both technical reproducibility and societal support. The geography of innovation is thoroughly unequal. National Innovation Systems or best practice transfer e. Silicon Valley.


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  6. At the heart of this problem is the persistent inability to seriously include local socio-economic traditions, political cultures, and regional identity into mainstream innovation theory. We invite contributions incl. How do globally circulating models interrupt or, perhaps, regenerate existing regional identities and institutional orders? What happens when populations reject or subvert innovation initiatives? What alternative imaginations of economic prosperity and epistemic authority do they propose instead?

    We argue that the successes and failures of innovation policy in regions cannot be explained without taking into account the locally specific understandings of what innovation is, what and who it is for, how it relates to local history and identity, and in which political culture it is embedded — even if, on the face of it, the policy instruments look the same. The agri-food sector is seeing a tidal wave of innovation. With the backing of venture capital, scientists cum entrepreneurs are deploying new techniques in artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, tissue engineering, digitalization, big data analytics, robotics, and other fields, with the aim of both improving upon and disrupting farming and food production.

    Papers selected for this open call will draw on case study material to build upon these emergent observations. We are particularly interested in papers that cross fertilize questions and concerns from STS, such as public acceptance of technology, with those of food studies, such as the exceptionalism of food and agriculture. More pointedly, we ask how and to what extent do food and farm tech entrepreneurs engage the specificity of food and farming as organic, biological processes uniquely laden with cultural meaning in their techno-utopian dreams for Anthropocene futures.

    At its heart, it shares concerns for subjectivities that are devalued, marginalized or erased through technoscientific practices. This panel re connects reflexively with these ethico-political commitments and sensibilities. We will explore how the disruptive, inventive and re generative potential of FSTS might give rise to new and alternative, if partial and imperfect, worlds of scholarship and living. We want to understand how we can trouble and reinvent our methods and concerns in order to re configure the precarious and unstable worlds in which we live and work.

    How can we move our commitments beyond the academy; how must methods and theories change; how might they then reconfigure academia itself? Which novel collaborations, networks and assemblages can we forge; what roles can FSTS research not take? How might we mobilize ambivalences and situated knowledges to connect with worlds inhospitable to them; what challenges and dangers lie therein? Modern finance is highly dependent on technology and scientific research.

    The interdependency is clearly apparent in the extent to which the financial sector actively supports research in-house, and in university and government institutions. The relationship is mutually beneficial. Scientists demonstrate the relevance of their work to society through use by financial interests.

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    In turn, financial interests garner legitimacy from the high esteem society bestows on science and scientists. Yet, society also struggles with its modern financial systems at every level: from global economic instability to the equitable allocation of financial resources at the individual level. Often these struggles are tied to changes in scientific knowledge and the mis use of technology.

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    What new insights are gained by shifting the focus on finance from one of market mechanism and legal obligation to one of science, technology and innovation? How do these new insights expand the options available for improving progress towards higher order societal goals and financial accountability?

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    In what ways has financial processes become inescapably political due to its close relationship to the politics of science and technology?