ABSTRACT SUBMISSION DEADLINE 2/21/2016
Convenors: Christopher Kelty (UCLA), Joan Donovan (UCLA), Aaron Panofsky (UCLA)
Explores the dark side of infrastructure and how participation, collaboration and maintenance can be looked at from the perspective of illegitimacy, inequality, and evil. Papers will address under-researched, unintended or surprising aspects of science, engineering and infrastructures.
Why do good things happen to bad people? This track looks at the dark sides of infrastructure, especially on the otherwise rosy themes of participation, maintenance and collaboration. For most work in STS these concepts are already antidotes: Participation because: unaccountable expertise; Collaboration because: hierarchy and individuality; Maintenance because: the routine is innovative. .
But if we grant these concepts a positive and a negative moment, what does the latter look like? When is public participation a bad thing? When does it “democratize” inequality or vindictiveness? What does too much or the wrong kind of participation look like? When is collaboration insidious or destructive? How does does it order racism, homophobia, classism, or sexism? What kinds of maintenance perpetuate horrible infrastructures or malevolent forms of power? When is the routine an evil to be resisted?
The track will include research addressing under-researched aspects of science and infrastructure, or unintended consequences related to building and standardizing socio-technical systems. Some examples might include: How is the work of participation, collaboration or innovation in criminal, terrorist or other illegitimate worlds conducted? Can we learn something about infrastructure by looking at the worlds of hate groups, delinquents, spammers and scammers, or scientists and engineers otherwise working outside of the mainstream? What blind spots are created by the shared theoretical approaches of STS?
Research is welcome from all subfields of STS including: software and platform studies, labor, scientific communication, feminist and queer science studies, information and communication technologies, games, social movements, surveillance studies, biomedicine, public engagement, economics, to environmental studies, and beyond.