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STS confessions: untold stories in transforming fieldwork into text 
Timo Roßmann (Goethe University Frankfurt)
Markus Rudolfi (Goehte-University Frankfurt am Main)
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

We invite scholars to talk about those curious stories we decide to leave untold as we transform our fieldwork experiences into text. We explore such confessed omissions as part of the construction of a common sense and speculate about what parallel stories their inclusion might have produced.

Long Abstract:

This panel is a stage for confessional stories from our empirical projects. We invite STS researchers to tell us about those vibrant situations, encounters, relationships, people, or materials that are part of the research process but get ‘lost in transformation’ as we compose our fieldwork experiences for more conventional academic formats. Such untold stories wouldn't rest easy on us because our sensitivity and curiosity in STS recognizes potential we eventually did not pursue. We seek to reflect upon these omissions as possible effects of our engagement with theoretical frameworks, methodologies, and the representational politics to which we adhere.

For that matter, we ask for your contributions in the form of STS confessions: Which stories have you suspended in the sake of producing a superseding story that is more focused, coherent, or compelling? Which stories have you sacrificed, perhaps uneasily, given the expectations of interlocutors, colleagues, supervisors, or against the prospects of publication? We are keen for your contributions to engender a speculative moment (Haraway 2016; Stengers 2018a, 2018b), thus we also invite you to share what other work you imagine your text would have become if you had included these stories after all.

With this experimental and speculative ‘STS confessions’ panel format, we want to ignite one of many conversations to follow, not only on the mechanics of making and un-making data and the conceptual logics of using and discarding field stories but also on knowledge economies prompting us to un-tell such stories and at what costs we do so. We argue that a confessional and speculative engagement with the stories we discard is part and parcel of making and doing transformations – it lets us explore how we construct and how we would like to construct ethnographic common sense in STS.

Accepted papers: