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Philanthropy, technoscience, and transformation 
Neil Stephens (University of Birmingham)
Samantha Vanderslott (University of Oxford)
Apolline Taillandier (University of Cambridge)
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel explores the intersection of philanthropy and technoscience, with a particular interest in transformations within philanthropy (e.g. philanthrocapitalism or Effective Altruism), the coproduction of philanthropy and technoscience, and philanthropy as technoscience.

Long Abstract:

Philanthropy, science, and technology have long been tightly entwined. Recently however, ‘new’ philanthropic movements such as Effective Altruism have made headlines, through the recent disgrace of ‘crypto-king’ Sam Bankman-Fried, and the relationship between ChatGPT creator Open AI and Effective Altruism, revealing tight connections between the tech sector and new forms of philanthropy. While there is a wide philosophical literature criticising the utilitarian, anti-democratic or imperialist dimensions of efficient philanthropy, how outcomes-oriented and evidence-based philanthropy work in practice have been little analysed. In this panel we want to study the interactions between philanthropy and technoscience, asking how philanthropy makes technoscience to do good, and to do good in a more effective way. We are open to contributions in STS and other areas of social sciences and employing a variety of methods (historical, ethnographic etc). We would be especially interested in receiving proposals on issues related (but not limited) to:

- The coproduction of philanthropy and technoscience

How do philanthropic actors, and philanthropic practice produce technoscience when determining moral problems, urgencies and priorities, and devising ways of doing good efficiently? How are claims about who should give, how much, to which cause are shaped by, and contribute to producing technoscientific imaginaries, and how do these in turn reshape philanthropic imaginaries of the good society?

- Philanthropy as technoscience

How does philanthropy make claims of expertise in technical fields (such as economics, ethics, finance), and metric work (ranking, categorisation, impact measurement)? How does it reshape whole fields of technoscience as a means of increasing the moral or economic value of philanthropic action as a way of intervening in, and remaking the world?

We welcome papers on all these topics, and transformation in philanthropy and technoscience more broadly.

Accepted papers: