Week 2 : orientations

This annotated response is my temporary and situated understanding emerged from the certain readings regarding STS in relation to its epistemology, history, knowledge production and future. The main artefacts included in this review are; four genealogies for recombinant anthropology of science and technology by Michael M.J Fischer; A game of cat's cradle by Donna Haraway; unity, dyads, triads, quads and complexity: cultural choreographies of science by Sharon Traweek; social anthropology of technology by Bryan Pfaffenberger.  the other two artefacts which contextualise this 'overview of STS  are Shiv Vishwanathan's article named 'Democracy, Governance and Science, Strange Case of the Missing Discipline ‘and Pablo Kreimer and Hebe Vessuri's article called 'Latin American science, technology, and society; A historical and reflexive approach.

The 'FOUR GENEALOGIES FOR A RECOMBINANT ANTHROPOLOGY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY' deals with how certain ways of understanding in relation to other discourses and disciplines from where the study of 'science and technology through anthropological analytical and methodological tools emerged. It helps the author how the nonlinear, multi-stranded epistemology of both new sociology and anthropology of science and technology emerged by detaching its overwhelming 'hard science lived experiences and the conventional philosophical moorings. Apart from perceiving this genealogy as unidirectional and uniplanar, the author either maps out or deconstructs the so-called notions of the complex relationship between science, hard science, applied science and technology. The author helps us with the historicity of science and technology to figure out the drawbacks and limitations in conventional perceptions about science, knowledge production and technology. the major four genealogies for the author drives us to new sociology of science, the social construction of technology, feminist studies of technology are 1)Science Wars: Autonomy and Demarcation of Science: Vienna Circle, Bernal-Polanyi 2)Programing project-oriented knowledge: sociology of scientific knowledge, Social construction of technology, Actor-network theory. 3) Anthropologically informed ethnographies of science and technology, 4) Emergent Cosmo political techno-scientific world of the 21st century.

It talks more about how knowledge of science and technology is manifested as an irregular, spontaneous, imperfect one rather than a path towards emancipation. On the other hand, this spontaneous continuous processes can’t be generalised as one stretch because of the influence of socio-political actors and actions.

In Sharon Traweek's article, she specifically criticizes the limitations of our logical assumptions, patterns in assessing science and technology in relation to mathematical calculations. Her biggest criticism regarding scientificity is how we are forced to think on the terms of ‘singularity’. From the refraining of the usage of ‘s’es, the monogamic, puritan notions of our day to day life definitions and sciences actually kills the spirit of ‘heterogeneity, inclusion and ' reflexiveness of our understandings.

"The singularities and the universals. Just naming them begins to reveal one of our problems. Just how did we get to believing in those peculiar singular generics: science, man, woman, state, justice, evil, god, love, truth, beauty, logic? Why is it, in our time, in our country, in our academies, considered so very blasphemous to add an s to those words? Why is it so horrifying to suggest that we might think more interestingly, and perhaps more carefully, if we stopped, just for a while, using any singular generics"(Traweek) on the other hand, Pfaffenberger is coming with a new understanding of socio-technical systems. Apart from the fruitless debates of 'whether technological determinism exist or not?’ he gives us a clear way in to look into the matters of the creation of artefacts and how they play as an active agent in formulating social life. Through the dialectical analysis of rituals and artefacts, he came to the conclusion that it is society and its cultural restraints and possibilities define the technological system. Without that, any artefact or technology doesn’t have any meaning. The basic argument is technology is socially and culturally situated and given purpose or meaning.

The article 'cat's cradle' by Donna Haraway will be better explained with two other artefacts or articles such as Shiv Vishwanathan's Democracy, Governance and Science, Strange Case of the Missing Discipline and Pablo Kreimer and Hebe Vessuri's article called 'Latin American science,technology,and society; A historical and reflexive approach. the later article tries to find out the epistemological boosting behind the formation of STS and other science technology-related knowledge productions in Latin America, it also tries to unpack the various universalities attributed to science and technology and how they are problematic in the formation of 'genuine', indigenous knowledge production. The Eurocentric, colonial reference points and its relation as a reason to reflexivity are well narrated in this article. On the other hand Donna Haraway with her feminist approach also 'localises and deconstruct' the ideas of power situated in the production of knowledge and practice of science and technology, according to her “reflexivity, constructionism, techno science instead of

Science and technology, science in action, science in the making (not science made), actors and networks, literary/social/material technologies for establishing matters of fact, science as practice and culture, boundary objects, the right tools for the job, artefacts with politics, delegated labour, dead labour, confronting nature, the culture of no culture, the nature of no nature, nature fully operationalized, escape velocities, obligatory compared to distributed passage points, representing and intervening, how experiments end, social epistemology. All the disciplines of science studies: history, philosophy, sociology, semiology, and anthropology; but also the formation of scientific studies out of the histories of radical science movements, community organizing, and policy-directed work. These histories are regularly erased in the hegemonic accounts of disciplinary and interdisciplinary development in the academy and the professions" (Haraway). She considers this multi cantered, non-euro-centric, nonhomogeneous, nonexclusive, often mutually constitutive, but also no isomorphic and sometimes mutually repellent webs of discourse effective way to understand the complexities. According to Haraway, “The tangles are necessary to effective critical practice. Let me name this knot tendentiously and without commas: antiracist multicultural feminist studies of techno science--i.e., a practice of critical theory as cat's cradle games"

While finding out the complexities and problems related to Indian policies regarding science and technology, Shiv Vishwanathan argues in the similar pattern for a better reflexive understanding about science and technology. To substantiate his arguments, he gives examples of destructive dams and its acceptance in middle classes along with killing silence over the Bhopal tragedy. He argues that STS and other critical discourses in India were emerged from the movements rather than IIT's or any science policy centres. Even though he digs out the epistemological issues like Latin scientist duo and Haraway, he cautions the author not to get trapped in to so call denial of science.

All these articles and artefacts have helped me to understand different issues ranging from history and future to regional and universal aspects of science, technology and its knowledge production.


Analytic (Question)





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