Mar 15 – Mar 17, 2023

Circulations of Knowledges in Digital Medical Applications


Pan­el at at Human Tech­nol­o­gy Cen­ter Aachen

Please find our CfP “Cir­cu­la­tions of Knowl­edges in Dig­i­tal Med­ical Appli­ca­tions”/fSTS (for 2023) attached. takes place on March 15th-17th 2023 at Human Tech­nol­o­gy Cen­ter Aachen

Dead­line for abstracts is Octo­ber 16th 2022.

In med­i­cine what is con­sid­ered as knowl­edge is espe­cial­ly con­test­ed because the field great­ly influ­ences knowl­edge in oth­er fields and oth­er fields also influ­ence how and which knowl­edge is con­struct­ed in med­i­cine. We see this in archives of stan­dard­ized knowl­edge that get cir­cu­lat­ed a lot also in oth­er dis­ci­plines, such as brain atlases, anato­my books and the like (con­cep­tu­al­ized by Susan L. Star as bound­ary objects). With new tech­nolo­gies and new dig­i­tal appli­ca­tions also new dis­ci­plines and stake­hold­ers get involved and claim their say. E.g., (bio)medical appli­ca­tions based on arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence are being devel­oped by teams of med­ical and tech­ni­cal experts, ethi­cists, legal advi­sors, and oth­ers, such as it is intend­ed in the ELSI (eth­i­cal legal soci­o­log­i­cal impli­ca­tions) frame­work manda­to­ry for BMBF projects. The new work­ing alliances raise ques­tions about how knowl­edge is cre­at­ed, trans­lat­ed, passed on, and cre­ate new rela­tion­ships of depen­den­cy. Fem­i­nist STS has a long tra­di­tion in crit­i­ciz­ing (hege­mo­ni­al) knowl­edge and analy­ses how knowl­edge is formed (or con­struct­ed), who is involved with which pow­er and which con­se­quences result there­of. By pro­vid­ing impor­tant ana­lyt­i­cal tools to ask about the pro­duc­tion of knowl­edge and its effects, fem­i­nist STS makes an impor­tant crit­i­cal contribution.

This pan­el aims to dis­cuss the cir­cu­la­tion of knowl­edge in/with/and through dig­i­tal med­ical appli­ca­tions from a fem­i­nist STS view. Exam­ples could be the analy­sis of:

-       cir­cu­la­tions of knowl­edge in empir­i­cal stud­ies on inter-/and trans­dis­ci­pli­nary devel­op­ment and appli­ca­tion of such devices;

-       (shift­ing) pow­er hier­ar­chies through the cir­cu­la­tion of knowl­edge in med­ical applications;

-       social inequal­i­ty through dif­fer­ent access to dig­i­tal applications;

-       the role of inter­dis­ci­pli­nary work in the devel­op­ment and imple­men­ta­tion of dig­i­tal med­ical applications

-       the con­se­quences for users and the impor­tance of users in the devel­op­ment of dig­i­tal devices

-       suit­able method­olog­i­cal frame­works for the analy­sis of these cir­cu­la­tions in med­ical appli­ca­tions; and others.


Please send your Eng­lish abstract (300 – 500 words) and a short bio­graph­i­cal note includ­ing, name, affil­i­a­tion and ORCID num­ber (if avail­able) until Octo­ber 16th 2022 to all two pan­el orga­niz­ers: Renate Baum­gart­ner, Cen­ter of Gen­der and Diver­si­ty Research at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Tübin­gen, AND Tama­ra Schw­er­tel, Insti­tute for His­to­ry, The­o­ry and Ethics of Med­i­cine at the Uni­ver­si­ty Med­ical Cen­ter Mainz,


Apr 11 – Apr 14, 2023

Capitalism, Labour and Being ‘Unwell’: Workers in and Beyond Toxic Embodiments


Pan­el at the ASA 2023 con­fer­ence „An Unwell World? Anthro­pol­o­gy in a Spec­u­la­tive Mode” at the Uni­ver­si­ty of London

Camelia Dewan (Uni­ver­si­ty of Oslo)

Rebec­ca Pren­tice (Uni­ver­si­ty of Sussex)

This pan­el explores the rela­tion­ship between labour and health in indus­tries where the lin­ger­ing effects of ill-health – invis­i­ble haz­ardous expo­sure or the sus­tained impact of toil on work­ers’ men­tal and phys­i­cal well­be­ing – extend far beyond place-based bound­aries of employ­ment and their bureau­crat­ic imag­i­nar­ies. We call for papers that exam­ine the embod­i­ment of labour – focus­ing on affec­tive and phe­nom­e­no­log­i­cal accounts of the work­ing body-as-lived – and the­o­rise being ‘unwell’ in rela­tion to the spa­tial and tem­po­ral pol­i­tics of labour. In much of the world, the expe­ri­ence of labour today involves the cross­ing or dis­so­lu­tion of bound­aries: pre­car­i­ous and infor­mal labour arrange­ments, work­ing from home and cross­ing of public/private bound­aries as well as work­ing in con­di­tions where haz­ardous mate­ri­als and invis­i­ble pathogens pol­lute the very air we inhale. Work­ing bod­ies car­ry with them the ill-effects of adverse labour con­di­tions long after the work day, as these seep as well into com­mu­ni­ties. The effects of these are uneven­ly dis­trib­uted, as are the care bur­dens and labour of repair required in com­mu­ni­ties that are often shaped by state- and cap­i­tal-led crises of social repro­duc­tion. Our focus on the bound­ary-cross­ing nature of work­ing con­di­tions today invites new reflec­tions on per­me­abil­i­ty as a gen­er­a­tive site for con­sid­er­ing new pos­si­bil­i­ties for labour pol­i­tics. How can attend­ing to the bound­ary cross­ings of unwell­ness help us the­o­rise alter­nate pos­si­bil­i­ties root­ed in resis­tance, care, and worldmaking?

We invite papers that explore labour and health in indus­tries where ill-health extends far beyond place-based bound­aries of employ­ment and their bureau­crat­ic imag­i­nar­ies. How can bound­ary cross­ings of unwell­ness help us the­o­rise alter­nate pos­si­bil­i­ties root­ed in resis­tance and worldmaking?

To pro­pose a paper:

Pro­pos­als can be made via the ASA web­site until Jan­u­ary 3rd 2023. Pro­pos­als should include a paper title, the name and address­es of author(s), a long abstract of 250 words, and a short abstract of 300 char­ac­ters. On sub­mis­sion of the pro­pos­al, the author(s) will receive an auto­mat­ed email con­firm­ing receipt (make sure this is received to con­firm sub­mis­sion), and a deci­sion from the pan­el organ­is­ers will be made soon after Jan­u­ary 3rd.

Though pro­pos­als must be made through the ASA sys­tem, the pan­el organ­is­ers are hap­py to answer ques­tions via email: or


Apr 11 – Apr 14, 2023

Creating well-being: biosocial approaches to practices of making well


Pan­el at the ASA 2023 con­fer­ence „An Unwell World? Anthro­pol­o­gy in a Spec­u­la­tive Mode” at the Uni­ver­si­ty of London

Short Abstract:
This pan­el is con­cerned with how peo­ple in diverse con­texts ‚make well’ as a bioso­cial phe­nom­e­non. If cre­ativ­i­ty is ‘a poet­ics of mak­ing’, what are peo­ple hop­ing to cre­ate in gen­er­at­ing well-being, how do they go about it and what are the effects on the health of bod­ies and society?
Long Abstract:

In their explo­ration of what ‘life is worth’, Mars­land and Prince (2012) con­tend that anthro­pol­o­gists’ ten­den­cy to focus on the dystopic – on vio­lence, suf­fer­ing, depri­va­tion, des­ti­tu­tion and bare life – comes at the expense of begin­ning with people’s every­day sit­u­at­ed con­cerns. Con­verse­ly, ‘an anthro­pol­o­gy of hope’ (Corsin-Jimenez, 2008) can point us in a dif­fer­ent direc­tion towards how peo­ple cre­ate what Thin (2008) calls ‘nor­mal hap­pi­ness’ or the con­di­tion of being well, despite ever-threat­en­ing sources of harm and mis­ery. This pan­el seeks con­tri­bu­tions that explore the notion of well-being as a bioso­cial phe­nom­e­non. It asks how we can fruit­ful­ly access, mea­sure, analyse and grasp how peo­ple make lives with worth and the effect this has on their health. If cre­ativ­i­ty is ‘a poet­ics of mak­ing’ (McLean, 2009), what are peo­ple in a vari­ety of con­texts hop­ing to cre­ate in the gen­er­a­tion of well-being, how do they go about mak­ing these hopes mate­ri­al­ize and what are the effects of these dif­fer­ent poet­ics of mak­ing on bod­ies and soci­ety? In par­tic­u­lar, we invite papers that engage with the role of phe­nom­e­na such as fun, joy, play, cre­ativ­i­ty, imag­i­na­tion, exper­i­men­ta­tion and resource­ful­ness in gen­er­at­ing well-being and/or that con­sid­er how bioso­cial anthro­pol­o­gy might method­olog­i­cal­ly account for the role of well-being prac­tices on health.

Please do get in touch if you have any ques­tions about the panel.


Dalia Iskan­der

Head of Med­ical Anthropology

Lec­tur­er (Teach­ing) in Med­ical Anthropology

UCL Depart­ment of Anthropology

14 Tavi­ton Street | Lon­don | WC1H 0BW


Apr 11 – Apr 14, 2023

Is all well with birth? Anthropological contributions to reproductive and maternal health systems


Pan­el at the ASA 2023 con­fer­ence „An unwell world? Anthro­pol­o­gy in a spec­u­la­tive mode” in London


Short Abstract:

This pan­el con­sid­ers how “all is not well with birth” (Chad­wick, 2018), wel­com­ing insights from across repro­duc­tive and mater­nal health. We invite pan­el­lists to re-envi­sion care worlds and spec­u­late how anthro­pol­o­gy can con­tribute to the pro­vi­sion of equi­table and respect­ful health systems.

Long Abstract:

“All is not well with birth” (Chad­wick, 2018). Despite the wide­spread improve­ments in mater­ni­ty ser­vices, glob­al and local inequal­i­ties in care and out­comes per­sist, and dis­pro­por­tion­ate rates of mater­nal and infant mor­tal­i­ty cut along racial, eco­nom­ic and geo­graph­i­cal lines. The WHO named 2020 ‘Year of the Nurse and Mid­wife,’ recog­nis­ing mid­wives’ piv­otal role in pub­lic health, yet the same year the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic upend­ed repro­duc­tive and mater­ni­ty ser­vices, leav­ing many women and birthing peo­ple with­out essen­tial ante­na­tal, birth and post­na­tal care. Repro­duc­tive rights, obstet­ric vio­lence and birth trau­ma are press­ing issues, while rates of cae­sare­an sec­tions and obstet­ric inter­ven­tions con­tin­ue to rise around the world. The chal­lenges and strug­gles relat­ed to ‘pol­i­tics of repro­duc­tion’ (Gins­burg and Rapp, 1991) have nev­er been more fraught and urgent.

This pan­el con­sid­ers the state of birth but also wel­comes insights from schol­ars work­ing across repro­duc­tive and mater­nal health. We recog­nise that expe­ri­ences and pro­vi­sion of ser­vices often hang togeth­er on a ‘con­tin­u­um of care’, involv­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with “all rel­e­vant health care edu­ca­tions, providers, insti­tu­tions and orga­ni­za­tions” includ­ing tra­di­tion­al care­givers, birth atten­dants and mid­wives (Davis-Floyd, 2022). Anthro­pol­o­gists have held a promi­nent role in cri­tiquing bio­med­ical ways of know­ing and doing birth, and recent work sug­gests more hope­ful visions of care, sit­u­at­ed in life-affirm­ing prac­tices pri­ori­tis­ing cul­tur­al safe­ty and well-being. In look­ing for solu­tions, we invite pan­el­lists to re-envi­sion care worlds and spec­u­late on how anthro­pol­o­gy can be a source con­tribut­ing to the pro­vi­sion equi­table, respect­ful and sus­tain­able repro­duc­tive and mater­ni­ty care for all.

Call for papers clos­es on 7 Jan­u­ary 2023.


Best wish­es, 

Cas­san­dra and Chiara


Apr 11 – Apr 14, 2023

The human social in psychiatric practice


Pan­el at the ASA 2023 con­fer­ence „An unwell world? Anthro­pol­o­gy in a spec­u­la­tive mode” in London

Please note that this call for papers clos­es on 3rd Jan­u­ary 2023.

Con­venors: Liana Chase (Durham Uni­ver­si­ty) and David Mosse (SOAS)


Short abstract

This pan­el explores some of the ten­sions inher­ent in efforts to har­ness the ther­a­peu­tic ben­e­fits of human social­i­ty with­in men­tal health­care sys­tems. It invites ethno­graph­ic work on mod­els of care that empha­size human con­nec­tion over psy­chi­atric exper­tise (e.g., lay coun­selling, peer support).


Long abstract

Uncer­tain­ty over the med­ical mod­el of men­tal ill­ness con­tin­ues to grow, includ­ing scep­ti­cism that dis­tress is best han­dled by med­ical experts through the treat­ment of dis­crete diag­nos­able dis­or­ders. The impor­tance of the qual­i­ty of ther­a­peu­tic rela­tion­ships in explain­ing out­comes is increas­ing­ly well estab­lished, sup­port­ing mod­els of care that give pri­ma­cy to fos­ter­ing human con­nec­tion with­in – and beyond – the clin­i­cal set­ting. In recent years, this recog­ni­tion of rela­tion­ships as an ‘active ingre­di­ent’ in men­tal health treat­ment has inter­sect­ed with glob­al short­ages of trained clin­i­cians to open up more space for ’non-med­ical’ and ’non-pro­fes­sion­al’ inter­ac­tions with­in care deliv­ery. In the Glob­al North, this has involved the intro­duc­tion of peer and lay roles as well as (re)training clin­i­cians to cul­ti­vate more mind­ful, empa­thet­ic, and ‘human’ rela­tion­ships with clients. The Glob­al South has seen a pro­lif­er­a­tion of inter­ven­tions rely­ing on lay coun­sel­lors and com­mu­ni­ty work­ers, whose social embed­ded­ness with­in the neigh­bour­hoods they serve is rec­og­nized as a ther­a­peu­tic asset.


This pan­el explores some of the ten­sions inher­ent in efforts to har­ness the ther­a­peu­tic ben­e­fits of human social­i­ty with­in men­tal health­care sys­tems, con­sid­er­ing the ways the ‚human’ and the ‚clin­i­cal’ come to be defined in rela­tion and jux­ta­po­si­tion to one anoth­er. How does the oper­a­tional­iza­tion of rela­tion­ships as ther­a­peu­tic tools with mea­sur­able out­comes alter the terms and qual­i­ties of relat­ed­ness? What cod­i­fied rules come to bear on such rela­tion­ships, and how do these inter­act with every­day social norms? What rela­tion­al ethics is implied, and what kinds of moral lab­o­ra­to­ries are brought into being?

Dr Liana E. Chase (she/her)

Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor, Depart­ment of Anthro­pol­o­gy, Durham University

Co-Inves­ti­ga­tor, Trans­for­ma­tion in Men­tal Health­care: An Anthro­po­log­i­cal Study of Sup­port­ed Open Dia­logue (



May 8 – May 10, 2023

Hope, Hype and Lowering Expectations in the Life Science Industry


Pan­el at the 21th Annu­al STS Con­fer­ence Graz 2023 „Crit­i­cal Issues in Sci­ence, Tech­nol­o­gy and Soci­ety Studies“ 

Dead­line: 30.01.2023
More infor­ma­tion about abstract sub­mis­sion
Feel free to get in con­tact if you have any ques­tions (
Best wish­es, 
Isabel Briz Hernández 
G.1 Hope, Hype and Low­er­ing Expec­ta­tions in the Life Sci­ence Industry

Orga­niz­er: Isabel Briz Her­nan­dez, The Chi­nese Uni­ver­si­ty of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. 

Much has been said about hope and sci­ence. Since the emer­gence of biotech­nol­o­gy and its promis­es of a not-dis­tant-future in which the advances at the bench will quick­ly trav­el to the care at the bed­side, schol­ars in sci­ence stud­ies have warned about the hype around biotech and the deceiv­ing illu­sion that it cre­ates in patients at their most vul­ner­a­ble moment, at the edge of life (Good 2007; Rose and Novas 2005). It has been wide­ly por­trayed how hope is cap­i­tal­ized by biotech com­pa­nies and nation-states, turn­ing the expec­ta­tions of patients and their fam­i­lies into an eco­nom­ic prof­it (Novas 2006; Sun­der Rajan 2005, 2006, 2010; Wald­by 2000). Oth­ers have urged us to look at how the idea of poten­tial­i­ty has impreg­nat­ed life sci­ence and bio­med­i­cine in the last decades (Taus­sig, Hoey­er, and Helm­re­ich 2013). Yet, an emerg­ing schol­ar­ship is also point­ing to how this hype is “recal­i­brat­ed” on the ground (Gard­ner, Samuel, Williams 2015) and how high and low expec­ta­tions are inter­twined (Pick­ers­gill 2011, Fitzger­ald 2014, Swal­low et al. 2020, Day et al. 2021)

This pan­el draws on the “Soci­ol­o­gy of Low Expec­ta­tions” (Gard­ner, Samuel, Williams 2015) and invites papers that reflect on how doubt and uncer­tain­ty are present in promis­so­ry tech­nolo­gies in the life sci­ence indus­try such as gene and cell ther­a­py, stem cell, immunother­a­py or per­son­al­ized med­i­cine in gen­er­al. In addi­tion to the per­for­mance of the “promis­so­ry rhetorics” (Borup et al., 2006; Brown, 2015), this pan­el seeks to ana­lyze ethno­graph­ic moments in which hype is con­test­ed, and yet those prac­tices are con­sti­tu­tive of technoscience.


May 31 – Jun 3, 2023

Creating futures: Revisiting (the transformation of) care networks in African countries


Pan­el at the Euro­pean Con­fer­ence on African Stud­ies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cologne

Short Abstract:

For­mal and infor­mal care net­works are increas­ing­ly emerg­ing in African coun­tries as a way of cre­at­ing sol­i­dar­i­ties and mak­ing futures. We ask what/who con­sti­tutes this future and for whom, how social net­works come to be imag­ined, con­sti­tut­ed, engaged, nego­ti­at­ed, and contested.

Long Abstract:

Social net­works are cru­cial in con­fronting cri­sis and secur­ing African futures. African coun­tries are wit­ness­ing a pro­lif­er­a­tion of dif­fer­ent forms of for­mal and infor­mal care net­works emerg­ing in the con­text of grow­ing health, eco­log­i­cal and envi­ron­men­tal crises. Rang­ing from reli­gious and neigh­bor­hood net­works to self-help groups and pro­fes­sion­al sol­i­dar­i­ties, these col­lec­tives are increas­ing­ly tak­ing a cen­ter stage as forms of dis­tri­b­u­tion and shar­ing in the cur­rent era of the chang­ing dynam­ics of the rela­tion­ship between cit­i­zens, the state and the mar­ket, health and socio-eco­nom­ic crises, and glob­al finan­cial­iza­tion. A grow­ing mid­dle-class pop­u­la­tion and new dig­i­tal and mobile tech­nolo­gies are inter­act­ing with­in reg­is­ters of a long his­to­ry of mutu­al aid soci­eties in African con­texts shap­ing social net­works in dif­fer­ent ways. Mean­while, the state is seem­ing­ly tak­ing a cen­tral role in experimenting/expanding social and finan­cial pro­tec­tion through dif­fer­ent mech­a­nisms such nation­al health insur­ance schemes and cash trans­fer inter­ven­tions, which, in turn are open­ing up ways of bring­ing peo­ple togeth­er in var­ied forms. Along­side these, social and eco­nom­ic hav­oc, pre­car­i­ty, and grow­ing inequal­i­ties (health, eco­nom­ic, social), increas­ing mar­ke­ti­za­tion and access to cred­it con­tin­ue to shape and chal­lenge sol­i­dar­i­ty, while tak­ing new mean­ings across dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions, class­es, and gen­ders in dif­fer­ent con­texts. Peo­ple increas­ing­ly become part of net­works as a way of cre­at­ing sol­i­dar­i­ties and mak­ing futures. We ask what/who con­sti­tutes this future and for whom, how social net­works come to be imag­ined, con­sti­tut­ed, engaged, nego­ti­at­ed, and contested.

Please sub­mit your paper pro­pos­al here.

We look for­ward to your submissions!


Jac­in­ta Vic­to­ria Muinde (Uni­ver­si­ty of Oslo)

Edwin Ame­so (Uni­ver­si­ty of Leipzig)

Ruth Prince (Uni­ver­si­ty of Oslo)


Lena Kroek­er (Bayreuth University)



Jun 7 – Jun 10, 2023

Medical Precarity in Uncertain Times: Understanding Contemporary Healthcare Design, Malfunction, and Collapse


Pan­el at the 16th inter­na­tion­al SIEF con­gress in Brno, Czech Republic

        Short Abstract:
When, why, and in what social and mate­r­i­al con­di­tions does med­ical or
health­care col­lapse occur? This pan­el invites papers that critically
reflect on con­di­tions of health­care or med­ical cri­sis, uncer­tain­ty, and
        Long Abstract:
While the pan­dem­ic has exposed the many seri­ous short­com­ings and
inad­e­qua­cies of con­tem­po­rary health­care sys­tems, the ensu­ing economic
decline has put a seri­ous strain on their func­tion­ing and accessibility,
some­times push­ing them to the verge of col­lapse. The last three years
have brought atten­tion to the pre­car­i­ty and fragili­ty of contemporary
health­care and med­ical sys­tems, though calls for their post-pandemic
reimag­in­ing or reform have arguably been sparse.
With­in the broad­er rubric of uncer­tain­ty, draw­ing on the entire spectrum
of sys­tem­at­ic mal­func­tions, this pan­el invites papers that speak about
cas­es of med­ical pre­car­i­ty, includ­ing instances of sys­temic malfunction,
pol­i­cy mis­man­age­ment, and polit­i­cal abuse that lead malfunctioning
sys­tems to col­lapse. When, why, and in what social and material
con­di­tions does med­ical or health­care col­lapse occur? By what met­rics or
stan­dards do peo­ple define and mea­sure med­ical or health­care collapse?
Alter­na­tive­ly, how do health­care and med­i­cine co-exist, or even thrive,
under con­di­tions of sys­tem­at­ic mal­func­tion? In what ways might Western
bio­med­i­cine con­tribute to med­ical pre­car­i­ty, includ­ing some patients and
some dis­eases at the expense of others?
We wel­come papers tak­ing on top­ics such as, for example:
- pan­dem­ic and post-pan­dem­ic health­care malfunctions,
- cost-dri­ven health­care inaccessibility,
- war-time healthcare,
- inequal­i­ty by design: med­ical exclu­sion of cer­tain groups or health
- var­i­ous stages of sys­temic health­care malfunction,
- health­care or med­ical col­lapse in all its forms.


Jun 28 – Jun 30, 2023

“Ageing contested”. Exploring anti-ageing bio-hacking and repair practices in later life


Pan­el at the STS Italia Con­fer­ence at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bologna

Orga­niz­ers: Francesco Miele (1); Michela Coz­za (2)
1: Uni­ver­si­ty of Tri­este, Italy; 2: Mälardalen Uni­ver­si­ty, Sweden

Top­ics: Every­day life and design of the mun­dane; Algo­rith­mic knowl­edge, media ecolo­gies and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence; Inno­va­tion imag­i­nar­ies, prac­tices and poli­cies; The val­ue of sci­ence, tech­nol­o­gy, inno­va­tion and research prac­tices; Het­ero­ge­neous assem­blages in bio­med­ical research

Key­words: Anti-age­ing, bio-hack­ing, geron­tech­nolo­gies, socio-mate­r­i­al practices.

Over the last decades, the nexus between bio­log­i­cal age­ing and func­tion­al decline has been more and more ‘con­test­ed’ (Vin­cent, 2006), espe­cial­ly by crit­i­cal schol­ars – among them, also STS schol­ars – com­mit­ted to eman­ci­pat­ing from bio­log­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal nat­u­ral­i­sa­tions of age cat­e­gories. The rela­tion­ship between age­ing and techno­sci­en­tif­ic inno­va­tion can be analysed by focus­ing on the con­stel­la­tions of socio-mate­r­i­al prac­tices through which the rela­tion­ship itself is per­formed. Our pan­el aims at explor­ing mate­r­i­al-dis­cur­sive tex­tures asso­ci­at­ed with age­ing, by focus­ing on two inter­re­lat­ed macro-topics.

The first top­ic refers to the so-called bio-hack­ing, defined as the use of “sci­ence-based tools and short­cuts for opti­miz­ing your own bio­log­i­cal poten­tial” (Lee, 2015: 8) and for max­imis­ing longevi­ty. In line with process­es of bio­med­ical­i­sa­tion of the body (Coz­za et al., 2022), dis­cours­es and ini­tia­tives relat­ed to bio-hack­ing pop­u­late online com­mu­ni­ties and social move­ments, which gen­er­ate, share, and repro­duce techno­sci­en­tif­ic prac­tices to coun­ter­act and reverse age­ing (e.g., the quan­ti­fied-self move­ment). Sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ties and mar­kets are also involved in extreme anti-age­ing prac­tices to extend lifes­pan (e.g., gene edit­ing). The phe­nom­e­non of bio-hack­ing relies on neolib­er­al prin­ci­ples which, in turn, dic­tate the ulti­mate goal of enhanc­ing the human body through tech­nolo­gies that ‘improve’ its oth­er­wise dete­ri­o­rat­ing func­tion­al­i­ties well beyond what is actu­al­ly nec­es­sary to sus­tain or repair the body itself.

From the first top­ic descends the sec­ond focus relat­ed to a process that we would call repair­ing age­ing. In this case, we bring atten­tion to the main­te­nance of aged human bod­ies, rather than to deep manip­u­la­tive inter­ven­tions upon them. We may refer to the soft­est forms of anti-age­ing med­i­cine to cure dis­eases asso­ci­at­ed with old age and to extend life expectan­cy as much as pos­si­ble (Vin­cent, 2006). The under­ly­ing eth­ic of care induces patients, fam­i­lies, and clin­i­cians to refrain from say­ing “no” to med­ical solu­tions as embody­ing a promise of bet­ter age­ing (Kauf­man, 2004). In par­al­lel, also most of assis­tive geron­tech­nolo­gies aim at repair­ing the effects of age­ing process­es on the human body, match­ing with an imag­i­nary of old­er peo­ple as ‘in need’ of being helped, in accor­dance with the ideals of ‘inde­pen­dent liv­ing’ in lat­er life.

Hav­ing this frame­work as our start­ing point,here is a not exhaus­tive list of indica­tive top­ics that might be considered:

- Enhance­ment tech­nolo­gies for aged human bodies.

- Hack­ing age.

- Repair­ing prac­tices in lat­er life.

- Algo­rith­mic elder­ly care.

- Age­ing and self-quantification.

- Assis­tive tech­nolo­gies and emerg­ing care practices.

- Age­ing and neo-liberalism.

- Ageism in design practices.

- Clin­i­cal inter­ven­tions and life-extensions.

- Eth­i­cal dilem­mas relat­ed to bio-med­ical anti-age­ing interventions.


Coz­za, M., Kirsten L. E., and Katz S. (2022). Hack­ing age. Soci­ol­o­gy Com­pass, 16(10), e13034.

Kauf­man, S. R., Shim, J. K., and Russ, A. J. (2004). Revis­it­ing the bio­med­ical­iza­tion of aging: Clin­i­cal trends and eth­i­cal chal­lenges. The Geron­tol­o­gist, 44(6), 731–738.

Lee, J. (2015). The bio­hack­ing man­i­festo: The sci­en­tif­ic blue­print for a long, healthy and hap­py life using cut­ting edge anti-aging and neu­ro­science based hacks. Cre­ate­Space Inde­pen­dent Pub­lish­ing Platform.

Vin­cent, J. A. (2006). Age­ing con­test­ed: Anti-age­ing sci­ence and the cul­tur­al con­struc­tion of old age. Soci­ol­o­gy, 40(4), 681–698.


Jun 28 – Jun 30, 2023

Interesting worlds as matters of caring and commoning


Pan­el at the 9th STS Italia Con­fer­ence in Bologna

The dead­line for abstract sub­mis­sion is Jan­u­ary 15, 2023.
Please, find below the details.

Orga­niz­ers: Mari­acristi­na Scian­nam­blo (1); Mau­r­izio Teli (2); Gia­co­mo Poderi (3)

1: Sapien­za Uni­ver­si­ty of Rome, Italy; 2: Aal­borg Uni­ver­si­ty; 3: IT Uni­ver­si­ty of Copenhagen

Top­ics: Knowl­edge co-cre­ation, cit­i­zens sci­ence, co-design process­es, mate­r­i­al publics and grass­root inno­va­tion; Method­olog­i­cal chal­lenges in a more-than-human world; Every­day life and design of the mun­dane; The val­ue of sci­ence, tech­nol­o­gy, inno­va­tion and research prac­tices; Extrac­tivist pow­ers, imag­i­nar­ies and asym­me­tries; Build­ing alliances in pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion and engagement

Key­words: car­ing, com­mon­ing, col­lab­o­ra­tive research, co-design, engagement

The con­cept of ‘inter­est’ has been cen­tral in STS since its incep­tion (Cal­lon and Law 1982; Cal­lon 1982), when it was intro­duced to describe net­works of rela­tion­ships between human and non-human actors through the employ­ment of devices, the devel­op­ment of inter­pre­ta­tions, and the mobi­liza­tion of alliances. The dis­cus­sion of the for­ma­tion of inter­ests and its relat­ed process­es of trans­la­tion has brought the issue of pow­er, and its reconfiguration(s), under the spot­light, as mean­ing­ful­ly artic­u­lat­ed by Cal­lon through the ques­tions: “Who speaks in the name of whom? Who rep­re­sents whom?”.

More recent­ly, the increas­ing promi­nence of crit­i­cal approach­es – e.g. fem­i­nist and post­colo­nial STS – and the inter­sec­tions with cog­nate research fields – e.g. par­tic­i­pa­to­ry design, infor­ma­tion sci­ence, envi­ron­men­tal human­i­ties – have stressed the polit­i­cal­ly engaged char­ac­ter of STS which empha­sized its ‘activist inter­est’ (Sis­mon­do, 2008). That has spurred the emer­gence of a „col­lab­o­ra­tive turn” in STS (Farías, 2017) that we see as a direct con­se­quence of STS con­cerns with pow­er. The col­lab­o­ra­tive turn has brought about ques­tions on the eth­i­cal, affec­tive, and polit­i­cal dimen­sions of research­ing by means of col­lab­o­ra­tive and com­mit­ted action-research projects based on dia­logue, mutu­al learn­ing, and car­ing rela­tion­ships with­in het­ero­ge­neous collectives.

These con­cerns have been trou­bled and fur­ther elab­o­rat­ed by fem­i­nist think­ing in STS, in par­tic­u­lar with the pro­lif­ic reflec­tions on the con­cept and prac­tice of care (Mol et al. 2010; Mar­tin et al. 2015), which empha­size the ambiva­lent, sit­u­at­ed, and mate­r­i­al char­ac­ter of care as well as our own care and con­cerns as STS researchers and prac­ti­tion­ers (Puig de la Bel­la­casa 2017).

In par­al­lel, STS research has explored the impor­tance of the com­mons whether these are nat­ur­al, mate­r­i­al, human made, or imma­te­r­i­al (Papadopou­los 2018). Com­mon­ing prac­tices can indeed be con­sid­ered mat­ters of care as they attend to every­thing we do to main­tain, con­tin­ue, and repair our world (Tron­to 1993). Addi­tion­al­ly, com­mon­ing prompts us to recon­sid­er human-nature and more-than-human rela­tion­ships in ways that chal­lenge dom­i­nant exist­ing extrac­tive cap­i­tal­ist mod­els, towards “the pro­duc­tion of our­selves as a com­mon sub­ject” (Fed­eri­ci 2018). These allow us to stay with the trou­bles that attend to mat­ters of care and the relat­ed impli­ca­tions of unpack­ing the log­ics, con­tra­dic­tions, and mul­ti­ple rup­tures gen­er­at­ed by cap­i­tal­ism. Against this back­drop, we hope to make vis­i­ble the neglect­ed and often invis­i­ble labor of repro­duc­ing the com­mons, and to ques­tion which and whose mate­r­i­al, polit­i­cal, and eth­i­cal orders come into play when research­ing and inter­ven­ing in/for the commons.

This pan­el invites pre­sen­ta­tions that explore the inter­sec­tions between car­ing and com­mon­ing in the con­text of STS inter­ven­tion-ori­ent­ed research. Both empir­i­cal and the­o­ret­i­cal con­tri­bu­tions are wel­come. These may include (but are not lim­it­ed to):

-        dis­ci­pli­nary inter­sec­tions among STS, design, and com­mon­s/-ing studies;

-        knowl­edge co-cre­ation, co-design process­es, mate­r­i­al publics and grass­root innovation;

-        ICT, labor, and precariousness;

-        the­o­ries and method­olog­i­cal approach­es as forms of car­ing and commoning;

-        com­plex­i­ties, oppor­tu­ni­ties, and con­tra­dic­tions of mak­ing new alliances between researchers, activists, local pop­u­la­tions, and institutions;

-        sites of ambiva­lence and con­tra­dic­tions in car­ing and com­mon­ing practices.


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Past panels


Dec 16 , 2022

Confronting Racism, Colonialism and Migration in Global Health: Frameworks for the Future


Public panel discussion as part of the workshop "De/coloniality, (Post)migrancy, and Racialization: Conceptualizing a Future of Global Health" at the Kaiserin-Friedrich-Haus in Berlin

Link to this event