Chapter 4 considers how family practices shape family boundaries, considering who ‘counts’ as family and examining family connections over time and through experiences of placement in childhood. Participants in the two studies had very varied experiences of placement – ranging from a single foster or kinship placement from early childhood to adulthood, to experiences of 20 or more placements, and of residential care and mother and baby placements (especially in the Pause sample). This chapter addresses participants’ narratives of the practices that enable a placement to feel ‘like family’ – or not – and explore the different possibilities for doing ‘family’ that participants highlight in their narratives of placement.
This chapter continues the presentation of ideas about science and politics as separate. While the previous chapter focused on separation as part of wider societal changes and discussed thinkers who demonstrate a clear separation, some of whom also support the idea of strictly separated domains, this chapter focuses on approaches that discuss how science and politics can and should be related to each other, while simultaneously acknowledging that separation exists. Many of the scholars discussed in the chapter study what happens when science and politics meet. First, the chapter presents the view that the increased importance of scientific knowledge for political decision-making has led to stronger demands for scientific consensus. For scientific experts to effectively impact on and influence political decisions, their knowledge base must be generally accepted among other scientists. It then describes the linear model, which is based on the idea that knowledge precedes action. The deficit model follows from the linear model and implies that the public is characterized by knowledge deficits, which can be remedied with education and reliable information. It then presents Jürgen Habermas’ seminal pragmatic model as a way to manage the gap between science and politics, and also the technocratic tendencies in modern society based on the increasing dominance of expert knowledge. In the two final sections of this chapter, classical STS research on what happens when scientific experts become involved in political decision-making processes is presented. Dorothy Nelkin’s studies serve as an important example. Nelkin’s conclusion is that politics frames the work of experts and how expert knowledge is used, and thereby expertise is reduced to a tool in managing political conflicts.
What does it mean to be pregnant or take care of a newborn during climate crisis? How is the current state of the planet changing people’s experiences of reproduction and kin? This book tells stories about people’s experiences of reproduction during the catastrophic Australian bushfire season of 2019–2020, in which more than 8 million hectares – one third of the country’s forests – were burnt. Analysing interviews with pregnant women (and sometimes their partners) as well as various experts, participants’ photographs and drawings, and our own stories of living through this crisis, this book delves into the details of life during an extreme climate event that was immediately followed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The chapters discuss breath, bushfire smoke and the technologies associated with assessing smoke-related risks, new formations of care and kin, and participants’ thoughts about what it means to have children in these circumstances. Engaging with First Nations and other scholarship on fire, we critically introduce the notion of the Pyrocene to describe our current era, and propose our new term, Pyro-reproduction, to articulate the entanglements of reproduction, kin and climate crisis.
This book explores the experiences of pregnant women and their partners, pre- and post-birth, during the catastrophic Australian bushfire season of 2019-20 and the subsequent COVID-19 pandemic. Engaging a range of concepts, including the Pyrocene, breath, care and embodiment, the authors explore how climate crisis is changing experiences of having children. They also raise questions about how gender and sexuality are shaped by histories of human engagements with fire.
This interdisciplinary analysis brings feminist and queer questions about reproduction and kin into debates on contemporary planetary crises.
Drawing on the work of Henri Lefebvre on rhythms, this chapter outlines the escape created within communal growing projects. Drawing from participant observation and interview data, this chapter explores the practices that distinguish the case studies from the rest of the city. Tracing the way that value emerges, it argues that communal growing projects reimagine what work comes to mean and what can be deemed socially valuable. The chapter moves between narratives from the field and theoretical questions around the affective nature of the time-space of the city to recognize the experience of escape as one of temporal sovereignty. It also introduces a key theme of the book in the politics of this escape, which rests on the ability to imagine a different way of being within practices of collective escape.
This accessible book introduces students to perspectives from the field of science and technology studies.
Putting forward the thesis that science and democracy share important characteristics, it shows how authority cannot be taken for granted and must continuously be reproduced and confirmed by others. At a time when fundamental scientific and democratic values are being threatened by sceptics and populist arguments, an understanding of the relationship between them is much needed.
This is an invaluable resource for all who are interested in the role of scientific knowledge in governance, societal developments and the implications for democracy and concerned publics and citizen engagement.
Science and democracy have emerged as important institutions in modern Western societies. But what does it mean that a society is ‘modern’? Among other things, modernity means that the world is understood in the light of scientific knowledge, instead of traditional knowledge and religious beliefs. Scientific knowledge takes precedence over other forms of knowledge and becomes the yardstick from which other knowledge claims are judged. This situation becomes an important part of the characterization of modernity (Beck 1992: Chapter 7). That science becomes superior to other forms of knowledge in modern society is only valid on a rather basic level. However, we are expected to accept that the earth was not created in seven days, that all living things consist of one or more cells, and that the dropped coffee cup falls to the ground due to gravity. The limit, or the boundary, of what issues can legitimately be answered from a scientific point of view can never be strictly formulated. Does climate change have human causes? Has extreme weather become more common due to a higher global average temperature? Is a global climate tax the best measure for reducing greenhouse gas emissions? Do we all need to change our individual lifestyles due to climate change? Where in the climate discussion does science end and politics start, and is climate change mitigation a scientific issue at all? These questions illustrate that it is not obvious what questions science can answer and when science should have priority over other kinds of knowledge.
Citizenship is formally and historically connected to the nation state, though this has not always been the case (cf Athens’ city-centred democracy). In today’s understanding of democracy, however, scientific knowledge and technical expertise intersect with citizens’ ability to hold state power accountable to democratic values. Sheila Jasanoff (2017) describes how the nation state concentrates not only political power but also resources that enable investments in ‘big science’ projects. Based on these concentrations, she asks: if the demos should have a role in the technical framing and resolving of public problems, what analytical resources does STS provide to facilitate such participation? The answer to this question, as suggested by Jasanoff, is that ideas and practices around science and technology – priorities, investments, distribution channels, regulations, and so on – are co-produced with ideas about concerned citizens. Thus, STS scholars should call attention to the fact that practices of collective knowledge-making shape our very understanding of the demos to be served by democracy. As seen in Chapter 6, studies undertaken by STS scholars have focused on the relationships between modes of governing and how issues are made public and open to wider debate, how groups of the public are demarcated through the notion of invited and uninvited publics, and how the agency ascribed to invited publics tends to be circumscribed by instrumental motives. In this work, STS scholars frequently touch on one of the unresolved problems in democratic theory. This is about what properly constitutes the people. Yet, any democratic theory is based on an understanding that there is a people, a citizenry that is implicated in governing in indirect or direct ways and which can hold government accountable. Such unexplored assumptions were met in the first chapter of this book, and they were referred to as belonging to a shadow of democratic theory.
This book explores the relationship between science and democracy from an STS perspective. Through the focus on the interplay between science and politics and the role of participation when it comes to highly expert-dependent issues, the book contributes important insights into the relation between science and democracy. The book also introduces STS as a field of research and presents an overview of classical and current STS scholarship and debates with a special focus on science and democracy. The main argument is that science and democracy belong together - they are co-produced - and are separate. The book takes the reader on a journey that starts by emphasizing the differences between science and democracy and then introduces their similarities and interdependencies. The journey goes through three parts: separation, overlap, and co-production. The book concludes by summarizing specific contributions of STS research to the discussion of science and democracy, based on four themes: representation and participation; separation and hybridization; situated practices and democratic theory; and STS and normativity.
In Chapter 2, I introduced the notion of ‘platform configurations’ to cover the development of game platforms across the previous four decades. I observe that it is not just the game platforms themselves that have changed but also the very concept of ‘platform’, which has altered its meaning from signifying a computational system to signifying large market actors in Big Tech. Thus, the notion of ‘platform configurations’ includes the platform as a standardized computing system along with another range of factors that constitute contemporary platforms, such as market orders, ownership structures, and value chains. The specific role of the platform as a standardized computing system varies across these configurations from being primarily development and publishing devices to including storefronts and shaping multi-sided markets. The latter involves that platforms are strategically designed to shape market interactions (Srnicek, 2017) in ways that serve the economic interest of the platform owner. In the current chapter, I will analyse in more detail how this is specifically done by the Steam platform, that is, I will analyse the way the platform’s API allows third-party actors to operate on the platform through a critical reading of the documentation. The aim is to map and discuss the ways in which the different contexts of economic exchange are made available as sets of strategic design choices by the platform design, more specifically, through the Steamworks API.