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Risk technologies can be perceived as temporal, sociotechnical assemblages linking past, present and future, thereby making this future malleable and knowledgeable in its very uncertainty. The panel inquires into how uncertainties, complexities, and contingencies are dealt with in the mode of risk.
Crises such as the corona pandemic seem to suspend the normal course of life: Whereas the temporary destabilization of implicit and explicit rules of everyday life renders the future inherently fragile and unpredictable, future's very uncertainty manifests the instability and precariousness of present epistemic orders underlying those rules. Risk, perceived as socially constructed, culturally mediated, and effective in practices, is the concept which mediates between an uncertain future and a precarious present, as it is embedded in technologies aimed at governing the future. Procedures of risk determination can be interpreted as cultural forms of risk perception and assessment and therefore as specific modes of knowledge production: Risk technologies - e.g. technoscientific practices of risk assessment and management, biopolitical interventions in disease control, technologies of insurance, etc. - can be perceived as temporal, sociotechnical assemblages linking past, present and future, thereby making this future malleable and knowledgeable in its very uncertainty. Concepts and practices of risk engender "uncertainty" as the "normal" state, the "rule" of contemporary society.
This panel inquires into how uncertainties, complexities, and contingencies are dealt with in the mode of risk and the historically situated settings these practices are embedded in. We ask for papers focussing on precise empirical situations while putting under scrutiny specific risk modes, e. g. in medicine, politics, or every-day life. We welcome contemporary ethnological case-studies as well as analyses of historical material/sources. Possible analytical perspectives include (but are not limited to) medical anthropology, STS, anthropology of the future, anthropology of knowledge.