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Social Studies of Science

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https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28641502/ordering-theories-typologies-and-conceptual-frameworks-for-sociotechnical-change
#1
Benjamin K Sovacool, David J Hess
What theories or concepts are most useful at explaining socio technical change? How can - or cannot - these be integrated? To provide an answer, this study presents the results from 35 semi-structured research interviews with social science experts who also shared more than two hundred articles, reports and books on the topic of the acceptance, adoption, use, or diffusion of technology. This material led to the identification of 96 theories and conceptual approaches spanning 22 identified disciplines. The article begins by explaining its research terms and methods before honing in on a combination of fourteen theories deemed most relevant and useful by the material...
June 1, 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28639540/sts-as-science-or-politics
#2
Harry Collins, Robert Evans, Martin Weinel
In a recent editorial for this journal, Sergio Sismondo makes two claims. First, he states that STS bears no responsibility for the emergence of post-truth politics. Second, he claims that debates about the nature of expertise that take place within STS are irrelevant in this context. In contrast, we argue that, whether or not STS had a causal influence on the emergence of post-truth politics, there is a clear resonance between the two positions and that the current political climate makes the empirically informed and scientific analysis of expertise and the form of life of science more important than ever...
June 1, 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28639539/foreskin-and-the-molecular-politics-of-risk
#3
Aaron T Norton
In this paper, I examine disputes over recent claims that male circumcision reduces HIV risk to suggest a complicated relationship between risk individualization and categorization. Whereas randomized controlled trials (RCTs) conducted in sub-Saharan Africa appear to have provided key evidence for the World Health Organization's endorsement of male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy, RCTs alone did not provide evidence for the underlying causal mechanism. For that, medical authorities have turned to histo-immunological studies of the foreskin's biomolecular vulnerability to HIV, thus molecularizing risk...
June 1, 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28633611/rawification-and-the-careful-generation-of-open-government-data
#4
Jérôme Denis, Samuel Goëta
Drawing on a two-year ethnographic study within several French administrations involved in open data programs, this article aims to investigate the conditions of the release of government data - the rawness of which open data policies require. This article describes two sets of phenomena. First, far from being taken for granted, open data emerge in administrations through a progressive process that entails uncertain collective inquiries and extraction work. Second, the opening process draws on a series of transformations, as data are modified to satisfy an important criterion of open data policies: the need for both human and technical intelligibility...
June 1, 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28571510/panacea-or-diagnosis-imaginaries-of-innovation-and-the-mit-model-in-three-political-cultures
#5
Sebastian Pfotenhauer, Sheila Jasanoff
Innovation studies continue to struggle with an apparent disconnect between innovation's supposedly universal dynamics and a sense that policy frameworks and associated instruments of innovation are often ineffectual or even harmful when transported across regions or countries. Using a cross-country comparative analysis of three implementations of the 'MIT model' of innovation in the UK, Portugal and Singapore, we show how key features in the design, implementation and performance of the model cannot be explained as mere variations on an identical solution to the same underlying problem...
May 1, 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28571509/a-long-history-of-breakdowns-a-historiographical-review
#6
Dániel Margócsy
The introduction to this special issue argues that network breakdowns play an important and unacknowledged role in the shaping and emergence of scientific knowledge. It focuses on transnational scientific networks from the early modern Republic of Letters to 21st-century globalized science. It attempts to unite the disparate historiography of the early modern Republic of Letters, the literature on 20th-century globalization, and the scholarship on Actor-Network Theory. We can perceive two, seemingly contradictory, changes to scientific networks over the past four hundred years...
May 1, 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28610553/zombie-projects-negative-networks-and-multigenerational-science-the-temporality-of-the-international-map-of-the-world
#7
William Rankin
The International Map of the World was a hugely ambitious scheme to create standardized maps of the entire world. It was first proposed in 1891 and remained a going concern until 1986. Over the course of the project's official life, nearly every country in the world took part, and map sheets were published showing all but a few areas of the planet. But the project ended quite unceremoniously, repudiated by cartographers and mapping institutions alike, and it is now remembered as a 'sad story' of network failure...
June 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28610552/a-fragile-assemblage-mutant-bird-flu-and-the-limits-of-risk-assessment
#8
Andrew Lakoff
This paper examines the recent public controversy sparked by the laboratory creation of a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza transmissible among mammals. The contours of the controversy can be understood by tracking the assemblage of actors, institutions and devices gathered together in response to the governmental problem of how to manage emerging diseases. The grouping is tenuously held together by a shared commitment to the project of 'pandemic preparedness'. However, as the controversy unfolds, it becomes clear that the main actors involved do not share a common understanding of the problem to be addressed by pandemic preparedness, and the assemblage threatens to decompose...
June 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28466752/what-makes-a-robot-social
#9
Raya A Jones
Rhetorical moves that construct humanoid robots as social agents disclose tensions at the intersection of science and technology studies (STS) and social robotics. The discourse of robotics often constructs robots that are like us (and therefore unlike dumb artefacts). In the discourse of STS, descriptions of how people assimilate robots into their activities are presented directly or indirectly against the backdrop of actor-network theory, which prompts attributing agency to mundane artefacts. In contradistinction to both social robotics and STS, it is suggested here that to view a capacity to partake in dialogical action (to have a 'voice') is necessary for regarding an artefact as authentically social...
April 1, 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28406392/the-right-to-a-human-in-the-loop-political-constructions-of-computer-automation-and-personhood
#10
Meg Leta Jones
Contributing to recent scholarship on the governance of algorithms, this article explores the role of dignity in data protection law addressing automated decision-making. Delving into the historical roots of contemporary disputes between information societies, notably European Union and Council of Europe countries and the United States, reveals that the regulation of algorithms has a rich, culturally entrenched, politically relevant backstory. The article compares the making of law concerning data protection and privacy, focusing on the role automation has played in the two regimes...
April 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28406391/a-material-political-economy-automated-trading-desk-and-price-prediction-in-high-frequency-trading
#11
Donald MacKenzie
This article contains the first detailed historical study of one of the new high-frequency trading (HFT) firms that have transformed many of the world's financial markets. The study, of Automated Trading Desk (ATD), one of the earliest and most important such firms, focuses on how ATD's algorithms predicted share price changes. The article argues that political-economic struggles are integral to the existence of some of the 'pockets' of predictable structure in the otherwise random movements of prices, to the availability of the data that allow algorithms to identify these pockets, and to the capacity of algorithms to use these predictions to trade profitably...
April 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28406390/search-engine-imaginary-visions-and-values-in-the-co-production-of-search-technology-and-europe
#12
Astrid Mager
This article discusses the co-production of search technology and a European identity in the context of the EU data protection reform. The negotiations of the EU data protection legislation ran from 2012 until 2015 and resulted in a unified data protection legislation directly binding for all European member states. I employ a discourse analysis to examine EU policy documents and Austrian media materials related to the reform process. Using the concept 'sociotechnical imaginary', I show how a European imaginary of search engines is forming in the EU policy domain, how a European identity is constructed in the envisioned politics of control, and how national specificities contribute to the making and unmaking of a European identity...
April 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28406389/the-informational-turn-in-food-politics-the-us-fda-s-nutrition-label-as-information-infrastructure
#13
Xaq Frohlich
This article traces the history of the US FDA regulation of nutrition labeling, identifying an 'informational turn' in the evolving politics of food, diet and health in America. Before nutrition labeling was introduced, regulators actively sought to segregate food markets from drug markets by largely prohibiting health information on food labels, believing such information would 'confuse' the ordinary food consumer. Nutrition labeling's emergence, first in the 1970s as consumer empowerment and then later in the 1990s as a solution to information overload, reflected the belief that it was better to manage markets indirectly through consumer information than directly through command-and-control regulatory architecture...
April 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28056721/controlling-new-knowledge-genomic-science-governance-and-the-politics-of-bioinformatics
#14
Brian Salter, Charlotte Salter
The rise of bioinformatics is a direct response to the political difficulties faced by genomics in its quest to be a new biomedical innovation, and the value of bioinformatics lies in its role as the bridge between the promise of genomics and its realization in the form of health benefits. Western scientific elites are able to use their close relationship with the state to control and facilitate the emergence of new domains compatible with the existing distribution of epistemic power - all within the embrace of public trust...
April 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28025902/what-can-science-and-technology-studies-learn-from-art-and-design-reflections-on-synthetic-aesthetics
#15
Jane Calvert, Pablo Schyfter
In this paper we reflect on a project called 'Synthetic Aesthetics', which brought together synthetic biologists with artists and designers in paired exchanges. We - the STS researchers on the project - were quickly struck by the similarities between our objectives and those of the artists and designers. We shared interests in forging new collaborations with synthetic biologists, 'opening up' the science by exploring implicit assumptions, and interrogating dominant research agendas. But there were also differences between us, the most important being that the artists and designers made tangible artefacts, which had an immediacy and an ability to travel, and which seemed to allow different types of discussions from those initiated by our academic texts...
April 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28195030/extra-terra-incognita-martian-maps-in-the-digital-age
#16
Lisa Messeri
Science and technology studies (STS) and critical cartography are both asking questions about the ontological fixity of maps and other scientific objects. This paper examines how a group of NASA computer scientists who call themselves The Mapmakers conceptualizes and creates maps in service of different commitments. The maps under construction are those of alien Mars, produced through partnerships that NASA has established with Google and Microsoft. With the goal of bringing an experience of Mars to as many people as possible, these maps influence how we imagine our neighbouring planet...
February 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28195029/the-problem-of-epistemic-jurisdiction-in-global-governance-the-case-of-sustainability-standards-for-biofuels
#17
David E Winickoff, Matthieu Mondou
While there is ample scholarly work on regulatory science within the state, or single-sited global institutions, there is less on its operation within complex modes of global governance that are decentered, overlapping, multi-sectorial and multi-leveled. Using a co-productionist framework, this study identifies 'epistemic jurisdiction' - the power to produce or warrant technical knowledge for a given political community, topical arena or geographical territory - as a central problem for regulatory science in complex governance...
February 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28195028/academic-judgments-under-uncertainty-a-study-of-collective-anchoring-effects-in-swedish-research-council-panel-groups
#18
Lambros Roumbanis
This article focuses on anchoring effects in the process of peer reviewing research proposals. Anchoring effects are commonly seen as the result of flaws in human judgment, as cognitive biases that stem from specific heuristics that guide people when they involve their intuition in solving a problem. Here, the cognitive biases will be analyzed from a sociological point of view, as interactional and aggregated phenomena. The article is based on direct observations of ten panel groups evaluating research proposals in the natural and engineering sciences for the Swedish Research Council...
February 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28195027/the-anthropo-scene-a-guide-for-the-perplexed
#19
Jamie Lorimer
The scientific proposal that the Earth has entered a new epoch as a result of human activities - the Anthropocene - has catalysed a flurry of intellectual activity. I introduce and review the rich, inchoate and multi-disciplinary diversity of this Anthropo-scene. I identify five ways in which the concept of the Anthropocene has been mobilized: scientific question, intellectual zeitgeist, ideological provocation, new ontologies and science fiction. This typology offers an analytical framework for parsing this diversity, for understanding the interactions between different ways of thinking in the Anthropo-scene, and thus for comprehending elements of its particular and peculiar sociabilities...
February 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28195026/from-academic-laboratory-to-the-market-disclosed-and-undisclosed-narratives-of-commercialization
#20
Adi Sapir, Amalya L Oliver
This paper examines how the Weizmann Institute of Science has been telling the story of the successful commercialization of a scientific invention, through its corporate communication channels, from the early 1970s to today. The paper aims to shed light on the transformation processes by which intellectual-property-based commercialization activities have become widely institutionalized in universities all over the world, and on the complexities, ambiguities and tensions surrounding this transition. We look at the story of the scientific invention of Copolymer-1 at the Weizmann Institute of Science and its licensing to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which subsequently developed the highly successful drug Copaxone for the treatment of multiple sclerosis...
February 2017: Social Studies of Science
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