Submissions in! Jan and I (Nicholas) proposed an open session for this year’s Society for the Social Studies of Science meeting in San Diego this fall. We already have 18 submissions for the one session, which — at least I think — is the highest level of interest we’ve had in the state/stateness area of STS in the last few years of organizing these panels/sessions. Obviously, this is very cool, and we are stoked. If you sent us an abstract, thank you; they look great. Looks like we’ve got a month to put the abstracts into order. We are being allotted 15 total spots to spread over 3 sessions, which will also be the biggest set of sessions we’ve been allowed to host.
Timing: According to the webpage about the conference, by 12 May 2013 abstract submitters should learn of their acceptance notification and the placement of their respective papers (the day afterward, early registration starts, coincidentally).
Also, for those unfamiliar with the sessions we promote: We called the proposed session “State Multiplicity, Performativity and Materiality: Current STS Research on State and Stateness,” and our brief description reads:
Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), October 9 – 12, 2013 — San Diego, California
Open Session 43. State Multiplicity, Performativity and Materiality: Current STS Research on State and Stateness
Organizers: Jan-Hendrik Passoth; Nicholas J. Rowland
Currently, science and technology studies is rich with opportunity to conceptualize the state and comment on its consequences for global living. While long under the conceptual jurisdiction of traditional political science, political sociology, and political history, scholars in science and technology studies have, with their own concepts and style, taken to rethinking the state and, with renewed nuance, capture its many and multiple influences in our (decidedly) material world. Similar to the move made by scholars in the social studies of finance, when they showed us how to rethink economic sociology, recent work on the machinery and infrastructure of governing is growing in significance. We see large empirical studies of water infrastructure in India, Columbia, and US states such as California, research on public transportation systems and global logistics, work about census creation and population data gathering as well as growing and genuine theoretical contributions to state theory and theories of stateness have all been published in recent years.
The upshot: Conceptual lens such as multiplicity, performativity, and materiality, which are central to contemporary science and technology studies, provide one such direction toward an explicitly science and technology studies perspective on the state. We believe that this line of thinking, if properly developed in-house by science and technology studies scholars, has the potential to produce discourse-changing research even among our friends in traditional political science, sociology, and history. This open panel will consist of two or three sessions. We invite empirical and theoretical contributions on a wide variety of topics, regions, and theoretical approaches. We encourage work-in-progress as well as more mature projects to the session. We especially invite papers on the multiple ontologies of political entities such as states, the performativity of social and political theory, and the materialities of governing modern states and their environs.