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Sociotechnical formations incentivizing collective goods 
Heidrun Åm (NTNU)
Karoliina Snell (University of Helsinki)
Heta Tarkkala (University of Helsinki)
Mette N. Svendsen (University of Copenhagen)
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel explores the socio-material practices involved in coproducing resources and goods—from health data, gene editing tools, artificial intelligence, aquaculture, oil, crops, or other— and incentives for creating collective goods in a growth economy.

Long Abstract:

STS scholarship provides plenty of evidence for how science and technology facilitate continuous extraction of economic value from human life and nature, and how power concentrations are inherent in this development. In recent years, STS scholarship has also explored resource extraction beyond profit- or control incentives and demonstrated that assetization dynamics need not dominate the making of sociotechnical resources.

This session starts from the insight that collective goods involve a sense of collective control and governance (Geiger 2021). We wish to explore how collective goods are resourced and bring about transformations. In particular, we want to bring into spotlight the sociotechnical practices of imagining and incentivizing collective goods and the involved understandings of ‘collective’ and ‘good’. We also wish to discuss how these developments can be guided to serve publics in specific locations and more widely. We are particularly but not exclusively interested in topics such as health data, gene editing tools, artificial intelligence, aquaculture, oil, or crops.

We welcome papers that address questions such as:

 What imaginations, practices, and governmental regimes are involved in creating resources and turning them into collective goods?

 What does it take to administer sociotechnical resources as collective goods? Who (and what) benefits?

 What are the reasonings that operate when collective incentives gain traction?

 How do actors navigate tensions between capitalist economies and collective goods? Are there new, alternative ways to benefit from collective goods, for example, beyond capitalist logics?

Our aim is to critically map and understand tensions and challenges in growing and creating collective goods and to identify what works.


Geiger, S. (2021) Healthcare Activism, Marketization, and the Collective Good. In: Susi Geiger (ed.) Healthcare activisme. Markets, morals, & the collective good. Oxford, 1-27.

Accepted papers: