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Message posted on 13/01/2020

CFP for Open Panels "Can it Scale? The scalability zeitgeist, entrepreneurial thinking, and the role of STS" (#18) and "Living in the laboratory: Experimental zones and the labification of everything" (#96) -- EASST/4S Conference, Prague, Aug 18-21, 2020

Dear colleagues,

We are delighted to bring to your attention two calls for papers for open panels at the EASST/4S Conference in Prague (Aug 18-21, 2020). Please consider submitting a paper, and feel free to circulate the call! The submission deadline is Feb 29, 2020.

Best regards,
Sebastian Pfotenhauer
(on behalf of the panel organizers)

18. Can it Scale? The scalability zeitgeist, entrepreneurial thinking, and the role of STS

Scalability is central to contemporary innovation discourses and, therefore, political and economic life. ‘Can it scale?’ Has become a cliche in venture capital firms and NGOs alike. Perhaps most prominent in discussions of platform technologies, big data, and new digital monopolies, scalability has also permeated public policy in the form of “grand societal challenges,” calls for “entrepreneurial statehood”, and scalable “living labs.” This panel questions scalability as a paradigm and ordering device in innovation and public policy. Our ambition is not to theorise scale, as geographers have long sought to do. Rather we aim to examine how actors mobilise and stabilise ideas of scale through their ‘scalable’ innovation instruments and practices, and the changing political economy associated with it. This opens the possibility of interrogating how actors mobilize, rationalize, and operationalize (the idea of) ‘scaling up’ and ‘scaling across’ space, and what it means to produce credible templates. Rather than repeating rehearsed objections to the very possibility of scalability, on the grounds that the local is irreducibly complex, this panel aims to work toward a new STS vocabulary for understanding and critiquing the entrepreneurial zeitgeist of scalability. We seek to open new avenues for enquiry, by attending to the practices through which spaces are hierarchically organised, like Russian-dolls, into scalar models of one another or ‘flattened’ into a single scalar register. The panel welcomes theoretical engagements with scalability, as well as efforts to broaden the STS toolkit for practically engaging with problems of participation, power, and justice at different scales.

Panel organizers:
Makoto Takahashi, MCTS/Technical University of Munich
Sebastian Michael Pfotenhauer, MCTS/Technical University Munich
Brice Laurent, Ecole Des Mines De Paris
Gianluigi Viscusi, EPFL
Cian O’Donovan, University College London

96. Living In The Laboratory: Experimental Zones And The Labification Of Everything

Notions of “laboratories,” “experimentation,” and “zones of exception” are presently gaining wider currency, far beyond the traditional confines of S&T and the narrow focus on lab science. From evidence-based policy-making using controlled trials, to living labs, test beds and regulatory sandboxes, all the way to design labs, urban labs, policy labs, social innovation labs, and legal labs – experimental approaches are being deployed across countless social and political settings. These labs promise to tackle social problems more inclusively, playfully, innovatively, and effectively, while at the same time invoking elements of scientific rigor, controlled experimentation, and the promise of scalability. They frequently lower regulatory burdens and overtly enrol populations into the making and testing of immature technologies, suggesting that business as usual will not produce the right solutions and that the effects of these experiments can be contained and tested before releasing them onto society at large.

This track aims to scrutinize the ongoing “labification of everything” in processes of social, political, and technological change. Building on STS traditions in lab studies, technical democracy, public engagement, and the politics of innovation, we especially invite papers asking:
– How are lab-like settings deployed across diverse settings?
– What does it mean to live in, or be exposed to, experimental settings?
– How are livelihoods, rights, and responsibilities affected by it?
– How do localized zones of exceptions challenge/reconfigure/test the state and the law?
– Which/whose problems are labs supposed to solve? Which problems do they create?
– How do labs contest/reconfigure/stabilize socio-technical orders, redistribute power and affect (in)equality?

Panel organizers:
Arzu Sedef, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Thomas Buocz, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Brice Laurent, CSI-Ecole Des Mines De Paris
Mathieu Baudrin, CSI-Ecole Des Mines De Paris
Sebastian Michael Pfotenhauer, MCTS/Technical University of Munich

Prof. Dr. Sebastian M. Pfotenhauer

Carl von Linde Assistant Professor of Innovation Research
Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS)
TUM School of Management
Technische Universität München

Augustenstr. 46, Room #456
80333 München, Germany

office: +49 89.289.29222
mobile: +49 17.3344.1148

Innovation, Society, and Public Policy Group
Coordinator, EU H2020 Consortium SCALINGS

Profiles: ResearchGate & Google Schoolar

Recently published:

· Engels, F., Wentland, A., Pfotenhauer S.M. “Testing future societies? Developing a framework for test beds and living labs as instruments of innovation governance,” Research Policy (2019).

· Guridi, J.A., Pertuze, J.A, Pfotenhauer S.M. “Natural Laboratories as Policy Instruments for Technological Learning and Institutional Capacity Building: The Case of Chile’s Astronomy Cluster" Research Policy (forthcoming).

· Garden, H., Winickoff, D., Frahm N. and Pfotenhauer S.M. “Responsible Innovation in Neurotechnology Enterprises” OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers (2019).

· Pfotenhauer, S.M. “Building global innovation hubs: The 'MIT Model' in three start-up universities.” In: Wisnioski, M. et al. (eds.) Does America need more innovators? MIT Press, pp. 191-220 (2019)

· Pfotenhauer, S.M., Juhl, J., Aarden, E. “Challenging the ‘Deficit Model' of Innovation: Framing Policy Issues under the Innovation Imperative,” Research Policy (2018).

· Winickoff, D. and Pfotenhauer S.M. “Technology Governance and the Innovation Process,” OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook (2018).

· Pfotenhauer, S.M. and Jasanoff, S. “Panacea or diagnosis? Imaginaries of innovation and the “MIT model” in three political cultures,” Social Studies of Science (2017).
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