Accepted Paper:

Strong coproduction: promissory technological futures and the heuristics of continuity  

Author:

Pierre Delvenne (University of Liège)

Paper short abstract:

This paper investigates the ‘heuristics of continuity’ in and across promissory regimes of S&T that produces lasting asymmetries of power. It argues that continuity across technological domains can be traced to a cornucopian sociotechnical imaginary of abundant knowledge and creative resources.

Paper long abstract:

STS are paying greater attention to the interactions between new technologies and politico-economic orders. Dynamics of promises and expectations with regard to technological developments, and their uptake, play a major role in shaping political-economic policies, institutional practices and wider societal mutations. The notion of "co-production" (Jasanoff 2004) was introduced to refer to the analysis of scientific and technological practices as reciprocally conditioning transformations of socio-political orders. This paper adopts a strong co-production (Joly 2015) approach as it postulates that there is 'heuristics of continuity' in and across promissory regimes of S&T that produces lasting asymmetries of power and reinforces 'imperial structures' (Stirling 2015). To attend such strong coproduction, 'micro' perspectives looking at situated social experiments have to be broadened to also engage 'macro' phenomena such as capital-labour relations, forms of 'neoliberalism' and citizen-consumer hybrids (Johnston 2008). The paper takes new manufacturing economy based on 3D printing technologies as a counterpoint to bioeconomy. Even though both political economies build on different promises, have different societal embeddings, and connect with different dominant narratives, it is argued that the continuity across technological domains can be traced to a cornucopian sociotechnical imaginary (Jasanoff and Kim 2015) of abundant knowledge and creative resources that create an imperative to invest in, share or protect new knowledge, technologies and human creativity for increasing market values and competitiveness. Activated against the backdrop of fabricated contexts of scarcity (of competitiveness, skilled workers, growth, ecological resources), this sociotechnical imaginary has powerful performative effects on sociotechnical relations, practices and engagements.

Panel T094
Emerging science and technology : questioning the regime of promising