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Science: can’t live with it, can’t live without it Bad Stuff Elitist concentration of power Racism, Sexism, Classism, etc. Environmental and health damage Good Stuff Revolutions against Church and State (eg Kovaleskaia) Mertonian universalism, tools for contesting patriarchy, white supremacy, etc. Medicine, protection from environment
Therefore STS offers many different Stances wrt Science and Technology Sharon Traweek: “Storming the Citadel” Helen Longino: “alternatives to androcentric science” Sandra Harding: “Successor science,” “Strong Objectivity” Woodhouse, Hess, Breyman, Martin: “Reconstruction” Linnda Caporael: “Intervention” Donna Haraway: “Cyborgs,” “My People” Mike and Kim Fortun: “Friendship” Harry Collins: “Alternation” Welcoming Antagonistic
Why do we need a Collaborationist Stance? Phoebe Sengers, computer scientist and STS scholar: if STS is just about “storming the citadel” then leave me out of it.
Senger’s “Sensual Evaluation Instrument” (with Isbister, Höök, & Laaksolahti )
Fractal sim for Logone-Birni Logone-Birni Fractal sim for Mokoulek Mokoulek
Examples of collaborationist stance from African Fractals 1) Analysis of Owari as cellular automaton in African Fractals 2) Special edition of Pour la Science on ethnomath included Owari example; caught attention of French mathematicians 3) Mathematician André Bouchet and computer scientist Henning Bruhn publish articles proving new theorems on Owari-like systems (eg “Periodical states and marching groups in a closed owari”) 4) Marc Chemillier merges these results with other Owari math analysis in his book “Les Mathématiques naturelles” – recapture or liberation? 5) Other examples of the collaborationist stance in the African Fractals project
If the collaborationist stance is so great, why doesn’t everyone do it? • Everyone does do it. There is always some element of both collaboration and opposition • Sometimes collaboration is the wrong choice: Malinche, the indigenous mistress of Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortez. Vichy France, collaborated with the Nazi occupation in WWII.
ButSTS has barriers against using the collaborative stance when we should
From the POV of “oppositional technophilia” STS suffers from: • Christian ideology of spiritual purity: eg the fall from the pure garden; Jesus critiques impure rule-based authority in Synagogues. • Romantic organicism: natural always better than artificial; ignoring its use by fascism, patriarchy, etc. • c. Realism: “real” human contact always better than representations. Carolyn Merchant and Vandana Shiva’s primitivizing view of indigenous societies. • d. Religious organicism and normative sexual concepts: "unnatural sex" not ordained by God. Homosexuality, BDSM, and other “deviant” sexual practices become metaphors for condemning “unnatural” technological practices.
Most importantly, STS correctly recognizes the need for alternative accounts, but incorrectly frames relativism and subjectivism as the only route to that multiplicity. This leaves us completely disarmed when right wing politics attacks science: “Intelligent Design” Inventing a global warming controversy Inventing a tobacco controversy Inventing a pesticide controversy Etc.
Multiple Objectivity: anti-relativist approach to situated knowledge 1752: Euler: Vertices, Edges, and Faces V - E + F = 2. Polyhedra are defined as "a solid whose faces are polygons." 1815: Hessel: for a cube with a cubic hollow inside does not satisfy Euler's theorem. Polyhedra are redefined as "a surface made up of polygonal faces." 1865: Mobius notes that two pyramids joined a vertex also defies Euler's theorem. Polyhedra are again redefined.
STS needs more: • Oppositional technophiles • Multiple objectivists • Scholars willing to inhabit the grey area between positivism and relativism STS needs more of us to take the collaborationist stance