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Message posted on 21/04/2021

CfP edited volume on Technology in Decline

Dear colleagues,

We are delighted to share with you this call for contributions to an edited volume (Routledge) on technology decline, phase-out, destabilisation, discontinuation and adjacent concepts, edited by Bruno Turhneim, Harro van Lente, Peter Stegmaier and myself. We are looking for case studies and/or discussion of policy processes and implications of (the dynamics of) phased-out, declining or obsolescent technologies, preferably from outside Europe. Please see the (intentionally provocative) blurb of the accepted book proposal below:

The Doomsday Clock, a US NGO that since 1945 has been tracking existential risk to humanity, showed that at the start of 2020 we were closer than ever to the doomsday. The climate crisis and advanced technology going out of human control are probably among the main existential threats to humanity in this century. Recent years have seen growing emissions and advancements in ethically uncertain technology, such as autonomous weapons. This indicates that we as a species may be on a pathway to environmental and socio-economic catastrophe. Currently, this is largely discussed through the lenses of how certain paths may be purposely created or reoriented. Instead, in this book we focus on the possibilities for reversing, or stepping out of established technological trajectories as they become undesirable or misaligned with environmental and equality objectives. We argue that to deal with the risk, public and private decision-makers must revisit the lessons of the past when societies turned away from chemical and nuclear weapons, DDT, ozone-depleting aerosols and other disruptive technologies. Using past and contemporary examples, we show which strategies might work and which might not, and how a democratically supported decision to turn away from a questionable technology could be initiated and navigated.

The deadline for submissions of first drafts is very soon: June 1, 2021. The word limit is 8,000 with references. We would like to ask you to first contact us a.s.a.p. if you plan to submit a contribution. Due to space limits, we will only be able to include a couple of contributions most relevant to the topic. Please use for communication and submissions.

Best wishes on behalf of the editors, Zahar Koretsky PhD candidate at Maastricht University STS group Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS)

Latest publication: Koretsky, Z., & van Lente, H. (2020). Technology phase-out as unravelling of socio-technical configurations: Cloud seeding case. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 37, 302-317.

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