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Conference: 8th STS Italia conference

July 18 - July 20

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The 8th STS Italia Conference will be held in Trieste, Italy, 18 to 20 June 2020, by the Italian Society of Science and Technology Studies, in collaboration with the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Trieste.

We are now inviting proposals for tracks. The selected tracks will be subsequently included as part of the formal call for papers. The submitted tracks are meant to engage with the general theme of the conference: “Dis/Entangling Technoscience: Vulnerability, Responsibility and Justice”.

This major theme refers to the complex and ambivalent role of technoscience and innovation in constituting societies – making possibilities flourish, but also creating new vulnerabilities. The emergence of new, severe forms of labour exploitation through digital platforms and algorithms, the risk of massive and hidden surveillance practices and the related commodification of personal information, the emergence of novel forms of genetic discrimination in the context of genomic medicine and the public unease with and controversy over the public accountability of expert communities are just some of the most well known and vivid examples of the epistemic and biopolitical importance of re-considering technoscience in the context of justice and vulnerability.

Indeed, in societies intensely shaped by technoscience, vulnerability – the exposure to harm and the susceptibility to subsequent loss – can be understood as an emergent property of the relationships between human actors and material objects, technological artefacts and infrastructures and social processes and structures. However, the effects of these processes (the levels, intensities and types of vulnerabilities) are unevenly distributed and closely interconnected in space and time and across different social worlds. Such an unequal distribution points to the underlying, fundamental question of justice in a “technologically dense society”. More broadly, it refers to exploring the reasons for this vulnerability, addressing topics such as the forms and sources of power and participation, the limits of control and epistemic uncertainty, the expectations, representations and interests of the social actors and the (often assumed) neutrality of scientific knowledge and technology. It refers to examining how responsibilities for this state of affairs are defined and assigned, addressing topics such as models of governance and regulation, ethics and values, hegemony and contestation and discourse and legitimation. For these reasons, justice and responsibility in technologically dense societies not only represent an important research object for science and technology studies and other related fields, but their exploration is also a way to assert the civic commitment of the STS community itself.

The conference will welcome empirical and theoretical contributions addressing diverse aspects of the social study of science, technology and innovation from different disciplines and fields, such as anthropology, economics, design, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, semiotics and sociology.

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July 18
July 20