Next Seminar on Policy and Expertise: War, Security and Expert Knowledges

by Lisa Stampnitzky

Please join us for the next seminar in this term’s GAIn seminar series on policy and expertise. The topic will be:

War, security and expert knowledges
Tuesday, 08 February 2011, 16:30-19:00
Andrew Cormack Seminar Room
Saïd Business School

Through a variety of case studies and analytical perspectives, three speakers will examine the relations between knowledge, judgment and practices of ‘security’:

  • Brian Rappert (Sociology and Philosophy, University of Exeter):
    States of ignorance: the unmaking and remaking of death tolls
  • David Rodin (ELAC, University of Oxford):
    Explaining the absolute prohibition of torture
  • Luis Lobo-Guerrero (War Studies Department, King’s College London):
    Security, knowledge and expertise in the insured liberal world

The discussant will be Lisa Stampnitzky, James Martin Research Fellow in Governance, Accountability, and Innovation at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society.

The seminar will be structured in an innovative way, designed to encourage interaction among the speakers, between the speakers and the audience, and to highlight connections between the empirical and theoretical findings in the three researchers’ projects. Each speaker will give a short presentation, followed by a comment by a discussant. After a short break, there will be plenty of time for questions and comments from the audience.

For abstracts, please visit the InSIS events page. You can also download a flyer [pdf].

The (fourth) STS Talk-Walk: Travelling – how to make our work travel?

by Malte Ziewitz

The first STS Talk-Walk of the year revolved around the issue of travelling: how to make our work travel? This turned out to be a concern not just for the master and doctoral students among us, but also the post-docs and professors. What is it to ‘reach’ an audience and be ‘understood’? What do we want our research to do? Who do we relate to and how? Lots of food for thought thanks to the Amsterdam group, who had shared the topic on their blog.

The 'Travellers': Fredrik, Andreas, Malte, Torben, Helene, Cristina and (right behind you) Chandrika

The 'travellers': Fredrik, Andreas, Malte, Torben, Helene, Cristina and (right behind you) Chandrika

To give you an idea of what this was about, here are three random issues we discussed while walking:

  • Work doesn’t need to be written up and published to start travelling. Already asking a question in an interview (or asking for an interview) can be a way to spread ideas and foster new relationships.
  • Who to relate to in our work? The ‘big shots’ in the field or rather unknown younger scholars? While some expressed their frustration with reading the 87th reinterpretation of ‘Pandora’s Hope’ and preferred to learn about the potentially better fitting work of recent graduates, others were skeptical of abandoning big names entirely since it may help researchers get noticed in the first place.
  • A final observation concerned the ways in which we managed (or did not manage) to make our own work travel during the talk-walk. Although there always is a cross-cutting theme, we usually spend at least a few minutes to tell our respective conversation partners what we are currently working on. While some of these accounts seem to have travelled well, others caused frowning and confusion. This led some of us to turn the issue into a topic and try out different ways of telling their stories.

Next STS Talk-Walk: Friday, 18 February 2011, 2pm. More info here.

New seminars on policy and expertise: Libby Schweber, Kathryn Janda and Paul du Gay

by Lisa Stampnitzky

Please join us for the first of our upcoming seminars on policy and expertise. Each seminar brings together three speakers whose research touches on the nexus of knowledge, expertise, and policy.

The first in the series will be held on Tuesday, January 25, commencing at 4:30 p.m., in the Cormack seminar room at the Saïd Business School. Further seminars will be held on Tuesday February 8 (on knowledge, policy, and expertise in the arena of security), and Tuesday March 8 (on innovation).

These seminars will be structured in an innovative way, designed to encourage interaction among the speakers, between the speakers and the audience, and to highlight connections between the empirical and theoretical findings in the three researchers’ projects. Each speaker will give a short presentation, followed by a comment by a discussant. After a short break, there will be plenty of time for questions and comments from the audience. The seminar will conclude at 7pm.

Speakers and presentations

Libby Schweber, University of Reading: “Liberal technologies and the distribution of expertise: the use of sustainable assessment tools in medium sized construction projects”

Libby Schweber is a principal research fellow in the Innovative Construction Research Centre at the University of Reading where she is responsible for a series of projects on sustainable construction.  She comes to construction research from the Sociology of Science and Technology and has a particular interest in styles of reasoning and the relation between science and the state.

Kathryn Janda, University of Oxford: “Building Expertise: Renovation as Professional Innovation ”

Kathryn Janda is an interdisciplinary, problem-based scholar and senior researcher at the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University. Her role is to integrate social and technical dimensions of changing building practices for a lower carbon future. Her research encompasses three principal areas: (1) social, economic, and environmental implications of ecological design, (2) social dimensions of energy use, and (3) the relationship between environmental practice and organizational decision-making.

Paul du Gay, Copenhagen Business School: “In Defence of Mandarins: recovering the ‘core business’ of public management.”

Paul du Gay is Globaliseringsprofessor in the Department of Organization (IOA) at Copenhagen Business School. His work is located on the cusp of Organization Studies and the Sociology of Organizational Life. His recent publications include Organizing Identity: persons and organizations ‘after theory’ (Sage), Conduct (eds. with E.McFall and S.Carter, MUP), and Identity in Question (ed. With A.Elliott, Sage). He is currently co-ordinating a research project with Signe Vikkelsø on the theme of What Makes Organization? funded by the Velux Foundation in Denmark.

This week’s discussant will be Will Davies, James Martin Research Fellow in Governance, Accountability, and Innovation at InSIS.

Practices of STS around the World: A Summary Report

How is STS practised at universities around the world? And what are the opportunities for collaboration? Koichi Mikami, a recent Oxford STS graduate and now Assistant Professor at the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Japan (Sokendai), has just sent an excellent summary report of a workshop he had organised last August in Tokyo. The workshop was titled “Practices of Science and Technology Studies: Reflexive Takes on Cross-Context Collaboration” and brought together STS scholars from Singapore, the U.S., the United Kingdom and Japan. In the introduction, Koichi writes:

STS scholars, both young and established, were invited to share their current activities in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS), and to explore emerging opportunities for collaboration. The workshop was divided into 2 days, and aimed to identify key issues in STS teaching as well as to look into some potential directions of ‘cross-context’ research.

Besides presentations from our Oxford colleagues Javier Lezaun, Tarek Cheniti and Malte Ziewitz, the report features contributions by Trevor Pinch, Mike Lynch, Ling-Fei Lin, Tyson Vaughan, Honghong Tinn (Cornell), Catelijne Coopmans (NUS Singapore), Samuel Evans (Harvard), Sharon Traweek (UCLA), Joseph Dumit (UC Davis), Kenji Ito, Kaori Iida, Parthenia Giannakopoulou (Sokendai) and Miwao Matsumoto (University of Tokyo). You can download the report here.