Call for Submissions – 4S Sydney


Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) Annual Conference

Sydney International Convention Centre, Sydney, Australia

August 29 – September 1, 2018


Paper Submissions to Open Panels

Over 100 open panel proposals have been accepted for 4S Sydney.  Below are panels that may be of particular interest to ADTSG members.  Click here for a full list of open panels.

Abstracts due: February 1, 2018

Producing Transformations: Drugs, Bodies, and Experimentation

Kane Race, University of Sydney; Kiran Pienaar, Monash University, Dean Murphy, University of Sydney

Throughout history, drugs and medications have been used to produce transformations. Experiments with different substances have taken place in diverse contexts: individual, subcultural, communal, scientific, medical, commercial, criminal/illicit and transnational. Despite the immense diversity and heterogeneity of these experiments, each is subject to specific norms, protocols, evaluative criteria, and concerns; and each often entails assembling publics to validate their findings or assess whatever emerges from them. This Open Panel invites papers about the transformations (intended or otherwise) associated with different practices of drug experimentation and consumption. Against commonplace understandings of drugs as stable entities with unique chemical properties that act to produce identifiable effects, the ontological turn in STS inspires a growing number of drug researchers to conceive the action of drugs and their purported effects to be produced in relation to various other actors, arrangements and networks. How do the practical arrangements devised to put drugs to the test in different places and times tally with the historical, cultural, technological and material processes in which drugs are implicated, and which undoubtedly mediate, extend, and complicate their effects? How are those transformations that extend beyond the experimental apparatus accounted for? What gets neglected? What criteria render specific experiments legitimate, and others illicit, and how are these criteria contested, changed, and/or adapted over time? What is unique about the adventures such experimental subjects undertake? What matters to them? What can be learned from situating their activities? How are their findings translated to other situations, and with what implications?

A Critical Look into the Classification of Emerging Entities

Tomiko Yamaguchi, International Christian University; Eunjeong Ma, Pohang University of Science and Technology

A novel entity, be it synthetic, genetic or phytochemical, emerges as a result of advances in science and technology. At the level of public policy, the classification of such an entity is considered in the context of existing legal and regulatory categories for the securing of public safety. As both goods and services increasingly travel across national borders, it becomes imperative to understand how classificatory system for such goods and services are formulated and put into practice, and the contradictions that arise as a result. The proposed panel aims to understand and map diverse ways of defining an emerging entity across a range of commodities, as exemplified by shifting boundaries such as food versus drug, medical versus cosmetic interventions, as the new entity comes into contact with regulatory agencies and consumer markets at the national and global levels. Following on a body of literature in STS that examines classificatory systems, the departure point for this panel is the observation that a classificatory system is inevitably interlinked with cultural, historical, social, economic and political circumstances. Sharing research concerns about the ways in which official classifications with regards to food, drugs, and environmental matters have far-reaching consequences in many areas of public life (such as public policies, health food markets, and consumer perceptions), the contributors to this panel are expected to explore questions hinging on shifting boundaries of commodified objects.

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