Accepted paper:

Suitcase science and after. Structures of semi-peripheral knowledge production


Krzysztof Abriszewski (Nicolaus Copernicus University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper will focus on suitcase science as a dominant form of semi-peripheral scientific knowledge production. It will analyze suitcase science in terms of B. Latour's circulatory model of science from his "Pandora's Hope".

Paper long abstract:

In many studies, STS demonstrated situatedness of scientific knowledge production, dissolving universalist myth of science. Following this, one can rise a question about how it is situated geo-politically. Using examples from scientific careers, grant proposal evaluations and narratives about reforms of Polish universities, the paper will focus on the specificity of semi-peripheral knowledge production. It will be argued that one such form, dominant at least in 1990s and 2000s in Poland, was a cluster of phenomena that I call 'suitcase science'. Suitcase science is a complex assemblage of practices, entities, relations, and circulations with its heart comprising of transporting scientific texts in suitcases from one place in center (of capitalist world-system) to another in (semi)-periphery. Being a textbook example of a translation, this process will be investigated by using Bruno Latour's circulatory model of science from his Pandora's Hope. The suitcase translation rapidly loses its role in the recent several years due to Internet based access to scientific texts. As a result, suitcase science assemblage loses its relative stability which in turn stimulates the emergence of new forms of semi-peripheral knowledge production. It will be argued, that a currently emerging form of semi-peripheral knowledge production uses neoliberal ways of stimulating productivity while increasing bureaucratic measures to increase control, and constructs a quasi-currency of credits for publications as its focal point.

panel E10
Geographies of knowledge production and legacy of postsocialist technoscience