Smugglers, idiots and loyal cheats: situated intervention as method out of control

Teun Zuiderent-Jerak (Linköping University)
Martina Klausner (Humboldt-University)
Judith Igelsböck (Technical University of Munich)
Confluence, collaboration and intersection
FASS Building Meeting Room 2/3
Session slots:

Short abstract:

What happens when we commit to intervening in the practices we study as a form of STS scholarship? Avoiding the polarized positions of promise and critique of intervention, this panel empricises what happens when STS scholars get involved in experimental, uncontrollable processes of worldmaking.

Long abstract:

Intervention as method has long been a contested topic in STS. Some authors claim that constructivism leaves no ground for intervention, since relativism refutes direction for action. Others keep promising a bright future in which STS will have much to contribute to the construction of the worlds we live in. Maximally untroubled by these equally linear positions of critique and promise, others try to empiricise what happens when STS scholars get involved in worldmaking. This panel aims to provide a space for just that. What happens, if we - as researchers - commit to intervention? How does intervention become method? What knowing does it generate? How does STS knowledge travel to new sites and audiences? How does it challenge our own normative positions? And how are we able to smuggle in what we care about? How are STS debates translated in the process? How and when are interventions considered helpful and collaborative versus disruptive or disloyal to 'shared' goals? And what strategies do we develop when we notice that little of what an intervention or an interventionist STS scholar is, is in our hands? In this panel we assemble contributions that reflect on empirical instances of intervention as a method for the production new knowledge and novel normative sensibilities. Empirical topics include health care and medical knowledge production, urban planning and architectural design, social youth work and school system, environmental sciences and computational modelling.