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Accepted Contribution:

STS & ethics: encounters on common ground  
Karen Huang (Georgetown University) Jim Dratwa (European Commission and Woodrow Wilson Center) Margarita Boenig-Liptsin (ETH Zürich)

Long abstract:

As diverse traditions in STS and ethics have proliferated and shared space in conversation, boundaries have also been drawn around their theories, practices, and scholarly identities. In prominent strands of thought, STS has been characterized as “descriptive” in contrast to ethics as “normative”. At the same time, ethics has been demarcated from questions around justice, solidarity, and power. In this paper, we interrogate the boundaries that have been constructed and maintained between STS and ethics. In so doing, we aim to think with these two endeavors in their fullness and plurality, and to reclaim spaces of encounter on common ground.

How have boundaries between STS and ethics come to matter? Why are these boundaries important to address amidst contemporary crises in technoscientific societies? How can encounters between STS and ethics, recognizing and respecting their differences, generate experimental modalities for scholarly analyses of agency, power, and normativity? Concerned with the configuring of the human in technological societies, STS contributes a new universe of entities and relations, which provide an ability to reformulate questions around agency and power. STS work in co-production, sociotechnical imaginaries, and ANT has contributed to empirically nuanced understandings of central concerns of ethics, such as identity, responsibility, justice, and visions of the good. By aiming to overcome double misunderstanding of STS and ethics, we contribute to a humanistic project of bringing back together the “is” and the “ought”, and build a foundation for STS and ethics to continue to learn from one another in making just human-technology futures.

Combined Format Open Panel P164
STS & ethics: encounters on common ground
  Session 2