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The panel encourages a comparative analysis of value-driven digital transformation in public service infrastructure. It welcomes contributions addressing values as input or output, translation work, emerging or blurring boundaries, researcher’s intervention, and rising contingencies in the field.
The study of values and their connection to scientific knowledge production, and technology development is widespread in STS research. This field is constantly evolving with emerging topics such as environmental values and their relationship to nature, caring for more-than-human beings, responsible AI, value-sensitive design, and value-driven data practices and infrastructure. However, value embodiment in public service infrastructure's digital transformation and design choices has yet to be discussed.
Those values are both an input instructing requirements of and an output resulting from design and development processes. Concerning digital transformation processes of public service, this double role is of utmost importance, raising questions like: How does the contextualization of values as input vs. output (re)configure and order the development process? How do various interests position themselves regarding this ordering? How are these values translated between public service's physical and digital appearances? Who is caring for them? What are the emerging or blurring boundaries? What contingencies arise from incorporating values into the digital transformation process when they are not "just" an input? Furthermore, what is our role as STS researchers studying value-driven public service infrastructures? How do we intervene with our research, practice, and tools? How do we, as STS scholars, become part of the transformation and shape the perspectives of the actors in the field?
This panel welcomes empirical contributions, theoretical perspectives, and methodological insights from research on value-driven technology development projects within the public sector from qualitative research at any stage. We aim to collectively develop a deeper understanding of value-driven design by contributing to a comparative analysis of the field, better understanding what is happening there, and how our role as researchers shapes new value comprehensions.