Message posted on 21/09/2022

Call for Abstracts | Panel: Testing as a research object of STS | 2023 | Aachen (Germany), 15-17 March 2023

                Dear Colleagues,

Please find attached and below a call for abstracts for the panel "Testing as
a research object of STS. Transdisciplinary perspectives on testal translation
chains", which will be part of the upcoming in spring 2023 (15-17
March) in Aachen, Germany. More information about the event are available

If you are interested in contributing to the panel, please send abstracts of
300 words max to no later
than October 31, 2022.

Kind regards,



The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined a fact that was already manifest before,
but now, since the beginning of the pandemic, is more evident than ever:
contemporary society is significantly shaped by tests. There is in fact hardly
a person who has not been tested in their life, hardly an area of society in
which tests do not play a significant role (Pinch, 1993; Hanson, 1994;
Marres/Stark, 2020).

From an STS perspective, tests are particularly relevant not only because of
the considerable social consequences they are capable of evoking, but also due
to the fact that they are inevitably socio-technical instruments, embedded in
relational webs of human and non-humans, that do not test for extra-worldly
phenomena. Instead, they utilize always and inevitably socially mediated
indicators, which have to be understood as defined by humans and stabilized by
conventions (MacKenzie, 1989). Test procedures are therefore inescapably
subject to epistemic fractures since they per se only indicate a
representation of what is the target information of the test procedure - which
applies to the testing of people (Hanson, 1994; McNamara, 2003) as well as the
testing of technology (Pinch, 1993; Downer, 2007). Consequently, testing
implies closing epistemic gaps between the test result and the actual target

This closing of epistemic gaps in testing procedures, we aim to put forward in
this panel, can be fruitfully conceptualized as a "chain of translation"
(Latour, 1999), referring to "the work through which actors modify, displace,
and translate their various and contradictory interests." (Latour, 1999: 311)
This transformative journey is understood as a cascading, socio-technical
process, in the course of which (scientific) reference is constantly being
modified. Before this backdrop, testing can be understood as translation work
as well, reformulating the argument of the necessity of closing epistemic gaps
in testing procedure in a way that makes it sensitive to the heterogeneous web
of human and non-human actors.
Although tests and testing procedures are highly relevant in contemporary
society, tests have hardly been researched systematically in STS. This panel
will therefore attempt to conceptualize the role of tests in present-day
society, with a special focus on the transdisciplinary perspectives required
to analyse the application of tests in detail, which especially includes the
knowledge of the scientific and (bio-)technical test instruments.

We invite theoretical as well as empirical papers, focusing on one specific
type of test or on practices of testing in general. Although not mandatory, we
especially welcome contributions that address the sociotechnical closure of
epistemic gaps in testing procedures.

Dr. Simon Egbert
Bielefeld University
Faculty of Sociology
ERC-Project 'The Future of Prediction. The Social Consequences
of Algorithmic Forecast in Insurance, Medicine and Policing'
Phone +49 521
Building X, room C2-208
P.O. Box 10 01 31
33501 Bielefeld

[demime 1.01d removed an attachment of type application/pdf which had a name of CfP - sts hub 2023 - Panel 'Testing as a research object of STS'.pdf]
EASST's Eurograd mailing list
Eurograd (at)
Unsubscribe or edit subscription options:

Meet us via

Report abuses of this list to
view formatted text

EASST-Eurograd RSS

mailing list
30 recent messages