What is this artifact and why is it of interest in comparing STS formations?


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Angela Okune's picture
July 6, 2018

AO: Unfortunately, because we did not have the budget to cover the $2,000 USD fee to make the paper open access, this excellent paper by Wachira and Anne is now behind a paywall and very few will probably be able to read it. (Even as a current PhD student within the UC system, I am still not able to get access to the ACM database of papers for this conference!) This highlights a key problem with many of the academic "for development" material - it is clearly not intended for the "development subjects" because few outside of the direct scholarly community can access the works. This is part of the reason that, as iHub Research we were always keen to publish work via our own site that could be accessible to all. However, such a portal also has its limits as it relies on organizational infrastructure that, without proper management, leadership, funding and strategy, can slowly disappear over time. This is a very important issue that must be discussed as part of the growth of critical studies of science and technology studies in diverse communities around the world. What publishing infrastructures are required to ensure equity of access to all scholarly outputs?

Maggie Woodruff's picture
June 7, 2018
In response to:

Fischer does work to define “anthropology of STS” - six key features are defined on pg 183-4: "The anthropology of STS has emerged alongside, and broadens the purview of, British social studies of science (SSK), French actor-network theory (ANT), the Scandinavian social studies of technology (SCOT), and the history and philosophy of science (HPS) (Fischer 2015b). Five features distinguish anthropological STS: (a) a detailed interest in the actual workings of the sciences and technologies in a social context, in contrast with cherry-picking cultural metaphors (Fischer 2013a, Ong & Chen 2010, Suzuki 2015); (b) a global perspective that replaces knowledge transfer models with attention to exchanges and networks in the making of globally distributed sciences and (dis)articulated technologies (Anderson 2008, Ghosh 1995); (c) strategic multilocale and multiscale ethnographic access to complex distributed processes such as the avian flu, biosecurity, and associated ecological management (Fearnley 2013, Fischer 2013a, Mason 2016), the global coal, chemical, petroleum, solar cell, or nuclear industries and responses to accidents and disasters, or global clinical trials and provision of clinical care (Amir 2009, 2014; Das 2015; Fortun 2001; Shulman 2015; Sunder Rajan 2007, 2010, 2011a,b); (d) global university experiments in reshaping educational systems for the twenty-first century (Mistree 2015, Fischer 2013b, 2015a,b); (e) a concern with the powerful aesthetics of imaginaries, and explorations via bioart, literature, film, and drama of the possibilities of democratizing science, exploring the ramifying effects of technologies, and charting the emotional and psychic investments of both (Buergi 2016, Dean 2001, Lansing 1991, Suzuki 2015); and finally, (f) a practical, media, and pedagogical interest in translating legacy knowledges into public futures, or engaged partnerships with policy decision makers and participatory communities" (183-184). 

Fischer makes important connections between anthropological STS and other fields, such as social and environmental justice democracy, film, art, and comparative literature: “At issue for STS in all the above works are the emotional and aesthetic facets of science and technology, the social worlds they create and in which they operate, as well as the uneven developments, localizations, and alternative trajectories of the sciences and technologies in different places. Anthropologists used to indulge in fantasies of first contact, and historians in fantasies of identifying critical turning points or key experiments that change common sense, but in fact both anthropologists and historians always step into flows of prior representations, including those of journalists, novelists, ritualists, and shape-shifting cultural forms, tropes, or genres” (187). 

James Adams's picture
June 6, 2018

"Anthropologies of the United States," by Jessica Cattelino, is a review article published by the Annual Review of Anthropology in 2010. This article is significant in the way Cattelino simultaneously problematizes traditional, culturally-bounded approaches to area studies along with reactionary research that neglects to appreciate the impact of US empire and the role of the nation-state in shaping regional programs of research.

James Adams's picture
June 6, 2018

The authors of this article, Pablo Kreimera and Hebe Vessuria, characterize it as a reflexive history of STS in Latin America since the 60’s. In the discussion, the authors consistently compare the development of Latin American STS with counterparts in Europe and the USA. It therein provides one model of a regional approach to studying and comparing diverse genealogies STS.