Call for papers – Appropriating technologies

The political economy and routinization of artefacts and devices

Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

The interesting seminar will be held in Copenhagen, the 24-25th of September, and is organized by the Technology and Political Economy research group at Copenhagen with the Anthropology of Technology network for more info see here.

Participants will include anthropologists working in the private sector, governmental agencies as well as within the academy. We welcome academic papers, project presentations, short video presentations as well as case studies ‘from the field’. Deadline for abstracts and presentation formats: 29th of June.

The seminar includes keynote presentations from Professor Brian Larkin and Associate professor Antina von Schnitzler.


Technologies are ubiquitous in people’s lives, from the credit cards used in countless daily transactions to water infrastructures, domestic appliances and medical technologies that enable people to live with chronic diseases. Whether imbricated into practices of cleanliness, sustenance, health, nourishment, livelihood, sustainability, connecting or indeed enjoyment, technologies – understood as artefacts and devices created to enlarge people’s powers and capacities – can be both enduring and increasingly specialized or ‘smart’. Once available, new technologies can be rejected, accepted or retooled in different ways. And, as technologies become a routine part of daily life, they often generate particular forms of habituated practice and specific forms of sociality.

The “Appropriating Technologies” seminar will focus on routes of routinization in different technological fields – e.g. trading, energy, telecommunications, food, welfare, health and medicine, water, housing or transportation. A focus on routinization allows for explorations of the socio-historical conditions of the mass production, circulation and distribution of particular technologies often as part of larger assemblages, apparatuses or infrastructures; the habituated daily micro-practices that tend to coalesce around particular technologies; and the ways in which specific technologies come to be appropriated and retooled – often in unimagined or unintended ways – by persons going about their everyday affairs. The goal of our seminar is to locate localized interactions with and appropriations of technologies by persons and communities within broader structures, hegemonies, and inequalities of power, production, distribution and consumption across different scales, e.g. local market places, regional spheres of exchange, transnational regimes of value and (mistrust), and global chains of capital and production. Likewise, seminar participants will explore how particular technologies come to be developed and ‘rolled out’ through the market or as part of governmental programmes. How can anthropological approaches contribute to the study of how specific technologies are developed, adapted, routinized or appropriated?

Organized by the Technology and Political Economy (TAPE) researcher group at the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, the “Appropriating technologies” seminar is a part of The Research Network for the Anthropology of Technology seminar series. The seminar will take place over 2 days in September 2018 with keynote lectures as well as paper presentations. Participants will include anthropologists working in the private sector, governmental agencies as well as within the academy.

We welcome papers that address:

  • how people’s appropriations and creative uses of technologies as they go about their everyday business are always located within broader technical and political-economic practices and systems
  • the ways in which technology developers seek to engage with potential users
  • unintended uses of particular technologies as these come to circulate and become available

Presentation formats can include academic papers, project presentations, short video presentations as well as case studies ‘from the field’.

Abstract deadline: 29 June 2018, 100-200 words to be sent to Eva Iris Otto: eio[at]

Participation is free and coffee and lunch will be provided during the two-day event. Registration is required.

The seminar is funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark.


Monday, 24 September 2018

10.30                                   Arrival and registration

11.00-12.00                        Keynote 1

12.00-13.00                         Lunch

13.00-15.00                        Parallel Sessions 1

15.00-15.30                        Coffee/tea

15.30-17.30                         Parallel Sessions 2

17.30                                  Drinks reception

19.00                                  Dinner


Tuesday, 25 September 2018

9.00-10.00                          Keynote 2

10.00-10.30                        Coffee

10.30- 12.30                        Parallel Sessions 3

13.30-14.30                         Lunch

14.30-16.30                         Parallel Sessions 4

16.30-17.15                        Seminar wrap up