The complex relations between expertise and public knowledges and their enrolment into technologies of participation, representation and anticipation are enduring themes of STS scholarship. Paper in this session address questions of normativity, inter-disciplinarity, translation and performance.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Collaboration beyond disciplinary boundaries - meetings in outreach activities
The present paper focus on interdisciplinarity in the science outreach context. With some frequency, activities in this domain bring together different epistemic cultures to address a common question or object. The place of these (brief) meetings in the dynamics of science is discussed.
Bringing together different disciplines and epistemic cultures - within the natural sciences and often including the social sciences and the humanities - collaborations beyond disciplinary boundaries are a significant part of science outreach initiatives. The present paper explores the issue of interdisciplinarity in this context. Do these encounters play a role in the dynamics of knowledge production? Do they represent just a more or less circumstantial and transient effort? Do they embody a culture of collaboration? Addressing these questions, the analysis emerged from the involvement in organizing a few initiatives of this kind and is mainly a theoretical reflection. Outreach initiatives are part of the dynamics of a research area; in this sense, the practices of interdisciplinarity therein will be discussed in view of their framing within the broader scope of the dynamics of science.
Anticipation as a normative practice. Life science researchers' anticipatory practices between care and managerialism
Anticipation is seen as central in "good science", as defined by "Responsible Research and Innovation". However, in practice, different forms of anticipation in life science research relate to different normative repertoires, some managerial, some caring, as well as to different temporalities.
"Anticipation", as key dimension of "Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)", is currently often framed as an imperative in the conduct and governance of research. This underlines a long-standing call to think about possible consequences of new knowledge, and about how imagined futures shape the knowledge we produce in the present. What tends to vanish from our view in this perspective is that anticipating itself is a normative practice. Different forms of anticipation relate to different normative repertoires and compete in how research processes are designed.
We show this using the example of the life sciences: while it is a research field that is increasingly called upon to anticipate possible societal futures and related applications (e.g. new drugs, medical treatments), our empirical material suggests that researchers find forms of anticipation that care for societal values (imagining societal implications) very difficult. Rather, within current neoliberal research governance frameworks, researchers tend to align their anticipatory practices with the normative repertoires and temporalities of funding, evaluation, or careers.
Our argument is that rather than making opaque prescriptions, policy initiatives like RRI need to pay more attention to the normative dimensions of the practices they require of researchers, and to how these dimensions blend into the wider dynamics of contemporary neoliberal research governance. It is vital to ask which conditions support which kinds of anticipation.
Dirty dancing on democratic stages: knowledge that matters in nuclear waste experiments
This paper focuses on the co-production of publics and experts knowledges in nuclear waste experiments. Based on three situated experiments in Belgium, France and Canada, it compares the dance styles of nuclear waste management organizations dealing with active publics on democratic stages.
Among the many experiments in democracy, nuclear waste management is a fascinating case to question the co-production of publics and experts knowledge. Nuclear waste management (NWM) organizations know that audiences are not trusting worshipers anymore, but rather critical spectators, so they adapt their knowledge production strategies accordingly. Several authors already underlined that reception and production sides of knowledge occur at the same time in particular physical and social spaces, which all have their own procedural and normative rules of what should and will be considered as reliable. One key argument is that there is no knowledge performer (and performance) without an audience and vice versa. Publics and NWM organizations could metaphorically be considered as partners dancing together on a particular stage. In this sense, dancing partners jointly participate in the performance as they can each produce and receive knowledge, to which they can be "subjected" or of which they can be an "agent" (Jasanoff 2011, Hilgartner 2000, Ezrahi 1990). But do publics and experts equally perform the dance in nuclear waste experiments? Is one partner more authoritative than the other? Do publics have to wait for the invitation or can they sometimes lead the dance? Is one dancer "hitting the notes, but missing the music" (Wynne 2006)? And whose music?
Based on 82 semi-directive interviews conducted in Belgium, in France and in Canada, this paper focuses on three situated experiments in Western democracies and compares the dance styles of nuclear waste management organizations dealing with active publics on democratic stages.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.