Is STS a bordello or cabinet of wonders?

Nicholas gave us one of our most popular posts this year–a rumination from November 2013. Given its continuing popularity, perhaps the 3:1 Project should take on how we define our disciplines…

Installing (Social) Order


This is based on some ruminations over the last year, which I’ve mentioned a while back casually and which our now full-time blogger Stef Fishel discussed more recently.

Here goes: Is STS a bordello or cabinet of wonders? (I write in the plural because Jan-H. and I were writing this together)


… we recognize the unorthodox and outlandish agency of “nonhumans” like scallops, microbes, Portuguese sea-going vessels, and British military aircrafts. In fact, the way we just listed those example case studies into the minutiae of STS scholarship is more telling than it might immediately appear. You see, STS is populated by intriguing micro case studies, and, from a far, STS appears to outsiders like a “cabinet of curiosities.” Because our research is punctualized into individual case studies, and these case studies were so routinely juxtaposed with one another during the era of great edited volumes…

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1 thought on “Is STS a bordello or cabinet of wonders?

  1. I’m not convinced that other academic disciplines are any more organized/unified than STS just better established in most institutions, my guess is that just as there are now ethnographers working for tech companies there will be ethnographers (broadly speaking) in STEM departments, perhaps long after sociology/anthropology/poli-sci programs have been erased.


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