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Accepted Paper:

Semi-peripheral concepts in STS and their uptake in English-language journal articles  
Markus Hoffmann (TU Berlin)

Short abstract:

This talk builds on an empirical operationlization of the uptake and proposition of STS concepts in publications to discuss the integration of research from a semi-peripheral STS community (Japan) in the international discourse (mainstream journals).

Long abstract:

In STS and other social science fields discussions have been taking place that criticize the asymmetrical relation of theory developed in centers and case studies done in the peripheries. Concepts are circulated one-way out from a center of academic power and applied in contexts outside of their development. This talk addresses this asymmetry and proposes its empirical operationalization to the relationship of Japanese- and English-language STS as a concrete example.

I ask three empirical questions: First, which concepts are used in Japanese STS publications, where do those come from and for which cases are they used? Second, are new conceptual contributions proposed in these publications? And third, how are those contributions used in the English-speaking STS journal discourse? These questions are answered through a document analysis of two Japanese STS journals and two edited volumes with Japanese STS cases studies and a citation context analysis of relevant publications identified in the Web of Science. My results show that 1) the majority of the investigated Japanese STS cases studies works with cases from Japan and that they frequently employ Western concepts. 2) These publications often either implicitly or explicitly offer new conceptual tools. 3) Less than a sixth of these offers are put to use by the international STS community.

I will propose explanations for this asymmetry, discuss possible ways to address it and connect those results to other relevant questions in the field.

Traditional Open Panel P246
Peripheral and semi-peripheral science and technology as an object of STS inquiry and theory
  Session 1