Accepted Paper:

Promiss or perish ! Doing science by other means in the regime of promising  


Marc Audétat (University of Lausanne)

Paper short abstract:

This paper intends to set the scene of the regime of promising, and to discuss its issues for doing scientific research today, as well as for opening debate about possible sociotechnical futures.

Paper long abstract:

Unlike an institution, a regime lasts as long as the fluxes which feed it are maintened. In other words, how the regime of technoscientific promises came into place and what is supporting it ? Since the end of the cold war, emerging economies have been perceived as increasing economic competition. The knowledge economy and large programs of technoscientific research have been promoted to support economic growth and competitiveness. The share of competitive funds allocated to science and technology has continued to grow. These evolutions combined with the increase of PR and comunication by laboratories and with the success of ICTs and the Internet. The production and the circulation of promises became massive, bringing new technoscientific futures to public attention on a permanent base (Audétat et al., 2015).

Different from visions and imaginaries, promises suppose a market. Doing science, research, and knowledge production more generally, implies today to cope with a market of promises. In many respect, this market is speculative, tends to work for itslef, loosening ties with research and innovation. While some fields of industry are rather caracterised by a deficit of innovation.

The sociology of scientific promises is necessary to shed light on research policy and sociotechnical change. It is critical in order to engage with the public and open debate about options for the future. It makes room for new alliances with stakeholders and parts of society as a mode of collaborative research, for designing better ways of problematising science and societal needs and expectations.

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