Chronopolitics in Experimental Physics: Technologies of Timework
Tereza Virtová (Czech Academy of Sciences)
Paper short abstract:
In the paper we contribute to the discussion on academic 'acceleration' by interrogating project and process time dichotomy (Ylijoki 2016). Drawing on ethnographic data, we introduce timework technologies that both ease the relationship between project and process and strengthen the formal assessment regime.
Paper long abstract:
Contemporary debates on academic 'acceleration' emphasize the devastating effects of speed culture. In this connection, many commentators call for 'slowdown' in science (e.g. Berg & Seeber 2016; Stengers 2018). These views however tend to victimize academics and, by implication, neglect their agentic capacities to craft, manage and organize temporal agendas. Following the emerging body of STS studies investigating scientific temporality (Felt 2016; Bruyninckx 2017) and our empirical data we aim to problematize this one-dimensional and oversimplified interpretation. In this paper, we contribute to the discussion by building upon audit scholarship (e.g. Strathern 1996) and by critically interrogating the project time and process time dichotomy proposed by Ylijoki (2016). Ylijoki suggests that the project format has gradually become a standard way of research organization and is often in conflictual relationship with the unpredictable process regime that represents inner logic of research arrangements. Drawing on our ethnographic work in an experimental physics department in the Czech Republic, we focus on agentic strategies that converge project and process time. In particular, we introduce four different technologies of timework: multiplication of projects, project flexibilization, diachronization of project and process & division of labour. Such technologies account for time-consuming activities, nevertheless they ease the pressure caused by project’s formal organization and audit framework. In our paper we therefore present different ways of temporal coping, adaptation and flexibilization that, in effect, ease the relationship between project and process in science on one hand and on the other strengthen the formal assessment regime.
Investigating accountability: practices and performances [LAW NET]