STS in Africa: Meta

This essay answers the analytic question: “What discourses does the analyst consider/leverage to characterize/theorize science and technology in Africa?” Within the annotated set, STS scholars draw on a range of discourses to characterize science and technology in Africa. These include scholarly discussions engaging with postcolonial studies (with scholars like Mudimbe and the Comaroffs cited heavily) (Tilley 2011; Pollock 2014; Mavhunga 2014); critical data studies and the sociology of quantification (Biruk 2018; Bezuidenhout 2017); anthropological work on infrastructures (von Schnitzler 2013; Tousignant 2018); STS theories of the boundaries of knowledge (Crane 2010); and feminist theories of performativity (Tichenor 2017; Coban 2018).

Several discursive themes recur throughout the annotated set: the dominance and reliance on non-African funding within African science and technology (Tousignant and Geissler 2016; Tousignant 2018; Crane 2010; Coban 2018; Tichenor 2017); different ways of theorizing African “capacity” (Mavhunga 2014; Geissler and Tousignant 2016; Bezuidenhout et al. 2017); and discussions of “Africanizing” science and who benefits from science and tech (Tousignant 2018; Coban 2018).

This essay is part of a broader orals document by Angela Okune querying Science and Technology Studies in Africa. Sub-essays within the orals document can be accessed directly through the following links: Discursive Risk; Deutero; Meta; Macro; Micro; Nano; Techno; Data; Eco.

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July 31, 2018