STS in Africa: Techno

This essay answers the analytic question: “(How) does the analyst account for the data practices and responsibilities of the people and organizations studied?”. The studies explicitly looking at data practices (Tichenor 2017; Biruk 2018; Bezuidenhout 2017) had strong accounting for the data practices of their interlocutors, describing for example, a process of “rough approximations” which involved “filling out” the approximate diagnostic data performed by nurses, physicians, and laboratory technicians to produce a representation of malaria in Senegal (Tichenor 2017) and a misalignment of categories of data leading to desires for generating “our own data” (Tousignant 2018). Scholars had different perspectives on the travels of data noting the importance of location (Crane 2010; Hountondji 1990) but also the difficulty (impossibility?) of dissaggregating co-constructed knowledges (Tilley 2011; Osseo-Asare 2015). Few of the studies explicitly employed a technical analysis of the underlying infrastructures (other than some mention by Tilley 2010 and Foster 2017). Von Schnitzler (2013) argued that technology itself was a political terrain for the negotiation of moral-political questions about limits, entitlements and obligations of citizenship in South Africa.

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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Created date

July 31, 2018

Cite as

Angela Okune. 31 July 2018, "STS in Africa: Techno", STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 23 August 2018, accessed 28 May 2022.