The co-laborator: place-making through laboratization practices in a living lab construction
(Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Iris Wallenburg (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Roland Bal (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Paper short abstract:
This paper calls for critically examining laboratization practices and going beyond the metaphor of the laboratory in assessing trendy places with scientific allure like living labs. Laboratization practices should be examined as heterogeneous processes, where different agendas are at stake.
Paper long abstract:
This article seeks to enrich our understanding of places as knowledge production sites. It discusses the construction process of a living lab for gathering, experimenting with, and creating knowledge for healthcare in assisted-living environments, called Nursing Home of the Future, in The Netherlands. The lab is a place-promise for experimentation that would facilitate break-through innovation, paving the way to "healthcare of the future" and it is a collaborative project between industry, university and various public agencies.
Practices of laboritization (Guggenheim 2012) must be carefully examined, as they may obscure paradoxical, but equally important makings and doings. Our interest is in the processes which lead to what Gieryn (2006: 5) calls a truth-spot - a place that becomes "the right place for the job" (ibid.). We found three themes, which emerged in this case study: social, material and economic lab-making. These three are made to converge, needing each other, so that a living lab can be created and maintained. Living labs are more than laboratories; the specificity of their liminal position between field and laboratory science is what makes them so popular, yet this positioning is problematic. As a result, living labs are made through continuously connecting different worlds.
This paper calls for critically examining laboratization practices in society and going beyond the metaphor of the laboratory (Guggenheim 2012) in assessing trendy places with scientific allure like living labs (Kavoren and van Heur 2014). Laboratization practices should be examined and understood as heterogeneous processes, where different agendas are at stake.
Collaboration in/with "open labs": studying the objects of boundary-making and crossing