11. – 14. Apr 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


11. – 14. Apr 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


11. – 14. Apr 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


11. – 14. Apr 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 (



8. – 10. Mai 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.


31. – 3. Mai 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)



7. – 10. Jun 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.


28. – 30. Jun 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.


28. – 30. Jun 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.


25. – 28. Jul 2023

Being in/ at Work: Repositioning Knowledge about Work, Disability, Chronicity


Pan­el at the DGSKA (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kul­tur­an­thro­polo­gie) con­fer­ence in Munich

Just a short reminder of our pan­el on work and disability/chronicity at next year’s DGSKA (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kul­tur­an­thro­polo­gie) con­fer­ence in Munich (25–28 July 2023). We hope to cre­ate a plat­form for schol­ars inter­est­ed in how people’s being at/in work relate to expe­ri­ences of dis­abil­i­ty and chronic­i­ty, in par­tic­u­lar in (but not restrict­ed to) con­texts of the Glob­al South. Your con­tri­bu­tions to the pan­el will hope­ful­ly lead to a spe­cial issue that taps into this (neglect­ed) field.

Sub­mis­sions (max. 200 words) should go to The Call for Paper runs until 15 Decem­ber 2022. Please con­sid­er sub­mit­ting an abstract and cir­cu­late widely.

Being in/ at Work: Repo­si­tion­ing Knowl­edge about Work, Dis­abil­i­ty, Chronic­i­ty (Work­shop)

Dis­abil­i­ty and chronic­i­ty are terms that seek to cap­ture bioso­cial expe­ri­ences that inter­sect with, and affect, how peo­ple engage in work, labor or employ­ment. This pan­el is focused on how peo­ple nav­i­gate dis­abling, debil­i­tat­ing and/or are enabling expe­ri­ences in and through work, and how these expe­ri­ences are shaped by the social local­i­ties from which they emerge. We place empha­sis on how work becomes sig­nif­i­cant for peo­ple whose bod­i­ly con­di­tions or appear­ances are pro­duced as ‘oth­er’ in respec­tive soci­eties, or who expe­ri­ence pain or chron­ic ill­ness that delim­it (but maybe also reshape or expand) their pos­si­bil­i­ties to con­tribute to com­mu­ni­ties and oth­er social arrange­ments. Depart­ing from the focus on work-relat­ed exclu­sion put for­ward in pre­vi­ous inquiries in anthro­pol­o­gy and relat­ed dis­ci­plines, we attend to pos­i­tive rela­tions between occu­pa­tion­al iden­ti­ties and work embod­i­ments on the one hand, and expe­ri­ences of dis­abil­i­ty and chronic­i­ty on the oth­er. Explor­ing new angles on the inter­play between ‘being dis­abled’ and ‘being in/at work’, we ask whether and how work ‘works’ as a form to aban­don or to prob­lema­tize con­struc­tions of dis­abil­i­ty. The work­shop will bring togeth­er schol­ars who address one or more of the fol­low­ing concerns:

Co-Con­sti­tu­tion: How are forms of dis­abil­i­ty and/or chronic­i­ty defined in con­nec­tion to notions and ideas of work? And vice ver­sa, how do dis­abil­i­ty and chronic­i­ty shape extant forms of labor?

Mean­ing-Mak­ing: How do peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ty and/or chron­ic con­di­tions in dif­fer­ent local­i­ties around the globe per­form and talk about their work?

Cri­tique: How can embed­ded under­stand­ings of dis­abil­i­ty, chronic­i­ty and work be brought to estrange the work­ings of admin­is­tra­tive pro­ce­dures, ide­olo­gies and polit­i­cal arrangements?

Reflec­tion and Auto-Ethnog­ra­phy: To what degree is the labor of anthro­pol­o­gists shaped by ableist con­cep­tions? Which poten­tial does dis­abil­i­ty hold to explore exclu­sion­ary dimen­sions of anthro­po­log­i­cal work?

Best, Ste­fanie Mauksch
Insti­tut für Ethnologie
Fakultät für Geschichte, Kun­st und Regionalwissenschaften
Uni­ver­sität Leipzig
+49 341 97 37 227


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Vergangene Panels


15. Mrz - 17. Mrz 2023

Circulations of Knowledges in Digital Medical Applications


Panel at at Human Technology Center Aachen

Link zu dieser Veranstaltung


16. Dez 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 zu dieser Veranstaltung