Understanding the Shaping of Socio-Technical Futures

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 14:15-15:45
Location: Hörsaal BIG 1 (Main Building)
RC23 Sociology of Science and Technology (host committee)

Language: English

Attempts to shape the future through socio-technical visions and scenarios are increasing in science and policy. An increasing use of “knowledge objects” embodying socio-technical futures (STFs) such as scenarios, simulations, models, roadmaps in decision-making and innovation processes can be observed. Even visions made by professional visioneers appear to have become a common element of long-term innovation processes, e.g. in the field of new and emerging technologies (McCray, 2012).
The production and the use of visions and scenarios constitute a cross-disciplinary field of practice and research. Sociology of knowledge and action theory is common place when studying the adscription of meaning to technology, the social shaping of STFs, the functions they fulfil and their impact.
However, there are also approaches less centred on objects and actors, advocating a process sociology perspective and investigations of systemic societal dynamics to study “futures in the making” (Adams, 2011). Today interesting analyses also stem from practitioners (foresight, technology assessment), who strive for a theoretical foundation of their prospective and anticipatory practices (Joint Research Center, 2014).
We invite contributions from social science perspectives and from the field of practice aimed to better understand the epistemic status and concrete practices of STFs.
Session Organizers:
Knud BOEHLE, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany and Petra SCHAPER-RINKEL, Austrian Institute of Technology, Austria
Evolving Patterns of Governance of and By Expectations - the Graphene Hype Wave
Kornelia KONRAD, University of Twente, Netherlands; Carla ALVIAL PALAVICINO, University of Twente, Netherlands
Visions As Socio-Epistemic Practices – a Concept to Analyse the Effects of Visions
Andreas LOSCH, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany; Reinhard HEIL, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany; Christoph SCHNEIDER, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Situational Scenarios in Engineers' Practices of Inventing Socio-Technical Futures
Ingo SCHULZ-SCHAEFFER, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany; Martin MEISTER, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany