Call for Papers
Open Panel: Can Improved Science and Technology Mean Progress? More Intelligently Steering Technoscientific Systems
Organized for Annual 4S Meeting to be held in Boston, Massachusetts, August 30-September 2, 2017
Must technoscientific “progress” proceed so technocratically? Dominant innovation discourses implicitly support the view that scientific knowledge and technological innovation automatically translate into improved living. Such a view has led to the promotion of “permissionless innovation,” an ideology that legitimates a hands-off approach to the “disruptive technologies” designed by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and freedom of research in their R&D departments. However, scholars have shown that sociotechnical innovations typically benefit some people and organizations more than others. Thus it is clear to many within STS that those wishing to enact non-technocratic visions of progress face social as well as technical barriers.
To mitigate or head off the worst consequences of permissionless innovation and other discourses that naturalize the politics of technoscientifc change, scholars must consider alternative ways of steering technoscientific agendas aside from allowing small groups of politically and financially powerful elites to make most of the decisions. How might new technologies and research programs be shaped to be more suitable for public purposes before markets let them loose into the world?
The purpose of this panel is to explicitly examine what would be required to guide science and technology toward better fulfilling more humans’ needs more of the time. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, mechanisms for slowing the pace of technoscientific change, addressing the privileged position of particular decision-makers, counteracting the subtle effects of “permissionless innovation” and other naturalizing discourses, and better enabling lay citizens and experts to critically probe the politics of innovation.
Submission Deadline: March 1, 2017.
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You can find more details about the conference on
For more information contact:
Taylor Dotson, New Mexico Tech, Taylor.Dotson@nmt.edu
Michael Bouchey, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, firstname.lastname@example.org
Taylor C. Dotson is an associate professor at New Mexico Tech, a Science and Technology Studies scholar, and a research consultant with WHOA. He is the author of The Divide: How Fanatical Certitude is Destroying Democracy and Technically Together: Reconstructing Community in a Networked World. Here he posts his thoughts on issues mostly tangential to his current research.
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