CFP: Design and displacement – social studies of science and technology

Sunday, March 18, 2012 (All day)


CALL FOR PAPERS: “Design and displacement – social studies of science and technology”
October 17-20, 2012
Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Held jointly with European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) 
Deadline for abstract submission: March 18, 2012
The quadrennial joint conference of The Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) and European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) will take place October 17-20, 2012 in Copenhagen, Denmark. For the conference we invite papers that address the dynamics and interrelationships between science, technology and society. Papers which address the conference’s theme ‘Design and Displacement’ are especially relevant, but papers on any topic in STS are welcome.
‘Design’ has become a key concept across a multitude of disciplinary domains and social spheres. In addition to its traditional ‘aesthetic’ associations, it is now a key term in multiple scientific domains and in diverse technological practices. One can even think of societies and social arrangements being ‘designed’. In science and technology, ‘design’ implies the re-arrangement of materials and ideas for innovative purposes. When newly designed scientific and technical objects enter the world, however, their initial purposes are often displaced.
For decades, STS researchers have been following the practical and political dimensions of science and technology. By focusing on concepts and practices of scientific and technological design at their sites of construction and on their multiple displacements, the 2012 conference continues this tradition. By bringing together ‘design’ and ‘displacement’ we want to highlight how scientific and technological design engages with existing socio-technical arrangements in both planned and unplanned ways, facilitating both collaborations and contestations, and generating both order and disorder.
The conference encourages analytic, critical, and practical engagement with design and displacement in several ways. First, it points to the need for investigating the relation between design intentions and their displacements, for example as catalysts for change and conflict. It also highlights the importance of investigating design controversies. It locates design practices in broader political contexts, and focuses attention on how design facilitates or hinders social inclusion, locally and globally. The theme ‘Design and Displacement’ invites careful analyses of the way design practices take part in shaping worlds. However, ‘Design and Displacement’ also raises questions around STS as design work and practice-based interventions. In this sense design becomes simultaneously topic and outcome, a situation that raises new questions concerning the role of STS research. 
Important Dates
January 4, 2012: Deadline for submitting open panels 
January 18, 2012: Abstract submissions open
March 18, 2012: Deadline for submissions of individual papers and session proposals. 
May 1, 2012: Acceptance notification. 
Program practices
Each participant in the conference will be limited to one first-authored submission and one other activity (such as session chair or discussant but not a second paper) for a maximum of two appearances. Papers may be submitted individually or by a session organizer. Paper abstracts should be up to 250 words. They should include the main arguments, methodology, and their contribution to the STS literature. The title of papers should be up to 10 words. New this year, individual papers may be submitted to one or more “Open Panels”. The call for open panel themes received enthusiastic response from the community. 106 panels are available, which have been grouped into 10 subject clusters. View the full descriptions at Session proposals should be limited to 250 words total, and should contain a theme and a rationale for the session, and a brief discussion of its contribution to the STS community. Session proposals should list a chairperson and names of all session organizers and panelists, including institutional affiliations and (electronic) addresses. Session proposals should be based on the assumption of 1½-hour time slots with fifteen minutes per presentation. A typical session consists of maximum five papers, one chairperson, and a fifteen-minute open discussion slot. You must have a minimum of three complete paper descriptions in order to submit a session proposal. You can add additional papers to the session up until the submission deadline. Submission process
Submit paper and session proposals now:
Please note, this is a separate database from the 4S and EASST membership/registration systems. All presenters, including those included in session proposals, must have a user accounts with the submission system. Submitters can create accounts on behalf of their co-authors and session participants, if necessary. Anyone who has participated in a 4S meeting in the last four years should already have a user account.
The meeting “home page” is at For information on EASST, visit For general meeting information and any questions about the program, contact the Scientific Program Chair, Signe Vikkelsø at For technical assistance with the submission or registration process, contact the 4S Webmaster. Exhibitors
The 4S is the oldest and largest scholarly association devoted to studying science, technology and society. The annual meeting attracts over 1,000 scholars. Many attendees look forward to the book exhibit for finding new books for class, for their research, and for staying current in the field. Visit the Exhibitors page for information on how to participate. Mentorship Program
The Mentorship Program has become a popular part of the 4S conference. The goal of the program is to facilitate mentoring of individuals who are new to the conference and/or to 4S. A mentoring relationship assumes a minimum of one conversation at the 4S conference. It is hoped that mentoring relationships will also continue with at least two follow-up phone calls or emails during the following 12 months. We will match new scholars with more experienced scholars and make an effort to assign mentors outside of one's university. We hope that the mentoring project will allow new scholars to feel more at home in the STS community. Travel Support for Students
Please consult the travel grants page for more information.

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