Accepted Paper:

Navigating the sea of drug discovery: Innovation research seen from below  


Masato Fukushima (The University of Tokyo)

Paper long abstract:

Recent research on the performativity of economics in STS (Callon et al. 2007; Mackenzie et al. 2008) raises questions regarding the related dynamism of theoretical formulations existing between STS and Innovation Study (IS). It has been proposed that efforts be made to synthesize diverse theoretical legacies in the case of management theory (Mintzberg 2005) or middle range STS theory (Geels 2007), but I advocate reconsidering the meaning of such efforts from the practitioners' viewpoint. Acknowledging the importance of the popularized usage of concepts, from paradigm to hype cycle, in guiding and legitimizing researchers' actual practices (Van Lente 1993; Rip 2006; cf. Wieder 1974, Bourdieu 1992), this paper aims to illustrate the possible performativity of STS/IS in the context of ongoing innovation processes.

Drawing upon an ethnographic observation of scientists and managers involved in big biological projects in a public research institute in Japan, I will discuss their diverse ways of making sense of their endeavors in the wider process of drug discovery pipeline and how this diversity eventually produces competing or even contradictory expectations about what is coming and what to do next. This leads us to think of the possibility that different theoretical devices, from STS to IS, can be beneficial to different recipients in guiding their diverse experiences. This line of reasoning indicates a need for further research on the performativity of diverse innovation theories in situ, where different theories may flourish by finding their own niche, distinguished from the ways attempted in academia.

Panel K2
Cross-breeding science and technology studies and innovation studies