15th April 2014

CFP Steps towards pragmatist solidarities at sociotechnical sites, EASST 17-19th September

We warmly invite papers to our Track Steps towards pragmatist solidarities at sociotechnical sites, being held at the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) conference in Toruń on September 17-19. The Track is convened by Francois Thoreau (U.Namur), Kim Hendrickx (University of Liege), Tamar Sharon (Maastricht University) and Ine Van Hoyweghen (KU Leuven). The EASST conference 2014 addresses the dynamics and interrelationships between science, technology and society. Contributors are invited to address the conference’s theme of ‘Situating Solidarities’ though papers on any topic relevant to the wider field are also welcome. The full call for papers is here, which ends on April 23, 2014.

Please feel free to get in touch informally regarding potential submissions prior to submitting an abstract online. francois.thoreau@gmail.com; khendrickx@ulg.ac.be; tamar.sharon@maastrichtuniversity.nl; ine.vanhoyweghen@soc.kuleuven.be

The starting point of this track is to take the conference theme “Situating Solidarities” literally. In our view, solidarity is always more than one, solidarities are localized and embodied in practices, and more work needs to be done – empirically and conceptually – in order to identify how solidarities emerge and what normative potential they bear.
In this track we take a pragmatist approach to the notion of solidarity. Rather than providing a one-size-fits-all definition of solidarity, we will explore situations from which solidarity emerges, hence analyzing dynamics and/or practices of “solidarizing” in diverse sociotechnical sites. We believe this pragmatist approach is particularly relevant at a time when fears of “the end of solidarity” loom large; in other words, that it is important to make visible the practices where solidarities are being enacted, rather than criticize their absence, failures or shortcomings.
With this aim, we seek empirically-driven and theoretically engaged STS papers on solidarity and its enactments in diverse socio-technic sites, like markets for food, molecules, self-tracking apps, or nanoparticles. For each of these, efforts will be made to 1) identify situations which nurture a sense of solidarity; 2) question how this relates to the experience of the involved persons, i.e. how is solidarity lived and experienced in such situations? 3) clarify the conditions under which solidarity is put on trial, can be said to fail or succeed; and finally 4) analyze the prospects for a multiple ontology of ‘solidarity’ in current STS research.