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Political Economy, Historical Materialism, And STS 
Britt Paris (Rutgers University)
Owen Marshall (Cornell University)
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Britt Paris (Rutgers University)
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Historical materialist analyses of technoscience reveal the world as a complex configuration of processes entwined with political and economic forces. We invite work around scientific and technological concepts and practices situated within and/or challenging dominant political economic processes.

Long Abstract:

Historical materialist approaches to science and technoculture see the world as complex configurations of overlapping and interconnected processes embedded within a tangle of political and economic forces. Even as technoscience is tightly intertwined with neoliberalism, these forces are negotiated and negated through a variety of underrecognized strategies and practices by people seeking to endure crisis and precarity. Political economic analysis of science and technology render social systems and structures as more than subjective value-laden processes. Rather political economic analyses rooted in historical materialism render these systems and structures traceable, contextualized activities. These analyses expose how explicit and implicit policies privilege those who already have the most at the expense of those who have the least. In so doing, they show how these structures and processes might be upended to make life not merely liveable under capitalism, but to build a future that encourages human flourishing.

STS work that places technoscientific culture and practices in direct relation with historical materialism and political economy exists, but is far from normalized. This panel seeks to expand such discussions. We invite political economic analyses of science and technoculture, including but not limited to critiques of scientific discourse and practice, the commercialization and of education systems, the indebting of technoscientific subjects, grounded anti-capitalist projects, or using science and technical infrastructure as an organizing tool to mobilize against the harms of financial accumulation. We are interested in surfacing examples and approaches to the following questions: What are obstacles and avenues to meaningfully incorporating historical materialism into STS work? How are political economic relations reified or contested in science and technical projects? How can we transform the dominant mode of political economic reification in scientific and technological assemblages to bring about a people-centered future?

Accepted papers:

Session 1