Accepted paper:

Transformation processes after 1989 reflected in changes to Czech industrial chemical research institutes


Nina Fárová (Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences)
Hana Dankova (Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

The paper presents a research project into the pre-1989 standing and subsequent transformation of chemical industrial research and development institutes. The project examines the situation of the researchers working at the institutes and the fate of their knowledge in the transformation process.

Paper long abstract:

Before 1989, industrial research and development institutes were part of the Czechoslovak national science system, complementing research done at the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, universities and departmental research institutes. The transformation from socialism to post-socialism brought about their demise or transformation into (semi) commercial entities (cf. Couderc 1996). In our paper, we will present a research project grounded in STS the goal of which is to shed light on the fate of industrial R&D institutes and especially the knowledge embodied by their (former) employees. One of the aims of the project is to highlight the repercussions of the historical and discursive demise of the Eastern Bloc for individual researchers as well as to establish whether these were gendered. Research into the transformation of science systems in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989 has contributed to organisational theory (Soulsby, Clark 2007), and transformation processes have often been studied as grounded in an unstable geopolitical environment both affecting and affected by managers of industrial facilities undergoing various forms of change (e.g. Soulsby, Clark 1996, Clark, Geppert 2006). The present project broadens the scope of these studies by focusing on a possible counter-narrative of the transformation and its key influences (such as the continuities in management staffing) and thereby offer a critical, empirically grounded reflection of the transformation period locally largely interpreted as fundamentally beneficial for the development of the science system.

panel E10
Geographies of knowledge production and legacy of postsocialist technoscience