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Message posted on 26/02/2021

CfP The Epistemological Politics of Interventionist Research in STS 4S 2021

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to invite you to submit a paper proposal to the open panel Aspiring Societal Impact: The Epistemological Politics of Interventionist Research in STS. More information is included below. The deadline for submission is March 8th. Please contact us if you have any questions!

Best wishes,

Jitse Schuurmans Iris Wallenburg Dara Ivanova Roland Bal Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Panel 14 Aspiring Societal Impact: The Epistemological Politics of Interventionist Research in STS

In recent decades there has been an enduring call for STS research to offer practical value for those we study (Downey and Zuiderent-Jerak, 2017). This focus on societal impact raises questions about the value of knowledge production. Yet, it also produces new affordances to empower marginalized subjects and do good for society at large. STS has a rich history in interventionist research, building on calls to ‘move beyond criticism’ and actively influence the worlds we research for the better (Timmermans and Berg, 2003). Under the umbrella of ‘applied research’, distinct epistemological regimes and ‘sorting attachments’ (Jensen, 2007) of research reveal an increasing pressure to demonstrate immediate value. Such calls for practical value of social science have developed within a larger neoliberal trend, in which the university is increasingly reliant on external revenue and as a research and educational institute is governed by a logic of accountability and measurable outputs. The implications of this move towards practical relevance for scientific practice and its produced epistemologies have been well-documented for the natural and life sciences. However, far less attention has been given to the epistemological implications of interventionalist research for the social sciences. In this panel we encourage scholars to explore and theorize the increasing demand for applied approaches in social science research and how it impacts STS aims of interventionist research and knowledge production. We ask: what are the consequences of interventionist research for the epistemologies produced by STS scholars and what ‘modes of doing good’ does it produce? Contact: schuurmans@eshpm.eur.nl Keywords: interventionist research, epistemologies, social science, reflexivity


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