Technoscientific activisms: Collective action with, against, and beyond the burden of proof WS 17/18
Dr. Tomás Criado
STS Theory and Methods
MA in STS
Mondays, 13:00 - 14:30
This course will seek to provide an introduction to the wide STS literature providing insights on the transformation entailed by the irruption of many groups and collectives in the once sacred space and activities of science and technology production. From the participatory engagements of lay people in expert-driven processes–such as citizen science– to articulations of counter-expertise and evidencebased activism–such as the work on affected communities, concerned groups, embodied health and environmental justice activisms to engage in conversations with experts–, many of these practices and activities are not only transforming the who and the how of technoscientific production, but also its spaces and outputs. Hence, the main idea of this course would be to chart STS accounts on technoscientific activisms, paying minute attention not only to the complex distributions and attributions of agency they entail, but also to the particular relations these forms of collective action have with the burden of proof and different forms of ‘truth politics.’
Students will be asked to work in ‘groups’ (3 people per group being the ideal number) in which they will select and analyse a particular dispute, issue or mobilisation, searching to apply the contents of the course to dialogue with their case study as a way to identify the particular mode of ‘collective action’ at stake. The first task, beyond grouping, will be to discuss the title/name and mode of ‘collective’ these groups want to be addressed as, something which will bear on the particular outputs required from the group (5 essays– one per bloc of texts, each having a maximum of 1,500-2,000 words, the first one including a detailed description of the phenomenon–, ideally using an online text editor, allowing their compilation in a final single 8,000-10,000 words essay), but also on the grading system. For instance, two possibilities modes could be: (a) a collective entity–where all texts should bear the mark of such collective trace, not distinguishing between people and their arguments, and being graded as a single entity; (b) a concatenation of free individuals–identifying who said what, and receiving individual marks. But students are free to choose their particular mode of collective address, which could even change from output to output in a dynamic fashion.