Accepted Paper:

Feminist technoscience perspectives on New Big Science   


Kerstin Sandell (Lund University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper approaches New Big Science from a feminist technoscience perspective. My focus is designing instruments for experimentation. I will engage in the stumbling block of representation, in how to pose questions using feminist theory of science and show how the desire of justice gets derailed.

Paper long abstract:

Currently I am studying the realization of two large-scale experimental natural science facilities: The European Spallation Source (ESS) and MAX IV (a synchrotron facility). They are examples of New Big Science (NBS) - facilities where substantial amounts of resources and hopes are tied to making future scientific discoveries. Both facilities will host more than 20 different instruments, catering for a diverse user community from mainly physics, chemistry and biosciences. More precisely I study the design process of the instruments, where promises are to be turned into experimental realities.

In this paper I explore the fruitfulness and pitfalls of using a feminist technoscience perspective in studying these facilities, that are part of what Sharon Traweek call "culture of no culture". I will explore three ways in which feminist technoscience can be mobilized in my studies.

Feminist theory of science questions - this is where I always claim that I start out. But what does it mean to turn feminist theory of science questions into ethnographic explorations in NBS?

Representation - gender as representation seems to be eternally on the agenda in STEM: there are always too few women. In my project the topic of representation seems to be a stumbling block, or a way of just kicking in open doors.

The derailed desire for justice. In this section I will explore how the question of justice seems to constantly displace me from my field site into areas of promises and policy.

Panel T100
Feminist Technoscience Studies in Unexpected Places: (Intra)Activism and Social Justice