2nd STS Italia Summer School “TECHNOLOGICALLY DENSE ENVIRONMENTS: WHAT, WHERE AND HOW” Ostuni (IT), June 12-16 2013 Call for participation

2nd STS Italia Summer School


Ostuni (IT), June 12-16 2013

Goals and main topics

The school program will be focused on stimulating a sensitivity among students for the complexities of moving between technologies in the contemporary world, especially in working and organizing settings. The idea of technologically dense environments (TDEs), in fact, refers both to concrete places in which human actors and technological artefacts work ‘together’ and to virtual places in which human interaction is made possible by technologies. In TDEs, complex socio-material practices mobilize the coordinated activities of heterogeneous (humans and nonhumans) elements, blurring the distinction between technological and organizational processes.

In the last decades, STS have provided a range of interesting examples of TDEs: laboratories (Latour and Woolgar, 1979; Lynch, 1985) financial markets (Knorr Cetina and Preda, 2004; MacKenzie, 2006), centres of coordination (Suchman, 1997), medical settings (Berg and Mol, 1998) and music making (Pinch and Bijsterveld, 2012). This has broadened the scenario of STS, inviting to focus in depth on the study of practices and processes that inextricably bind together working, organizing and the use of artefacts and technological systems.

However, technological density is not simply the result of a quantitative or qualitative increase, but an enacted quality performed by actors immersed in such environments. Subsequently, we do not confine the notion of TDEs to technological devices. In TDEs, technical procedures can be inscribed in many elements: bodies, languages, artefacts and architectures. Thus, the notion of TDEs takes organisational routines and structures as being inscribed in information and communication technologies, embodied in humans, incorporated into technical arrangements and built into floors and walls. The technological density of such environments does not denote that all the techniques get inescapably fused into one big apparatus governing all; on the contrary it highlights the contingencies of everyday action and the manifold instances of maintenance and repair which are needed in order to keep the semiotic and the material aspects of working and organizing well aligned. Even though organizational processes and artefacts of TDEs might point to rigidity and stabilization, their practice is continuously in flux.

Within a STS analytical framework, the school will introduce students to research experiences, approaches and methods in order to explore the interweaving of technological tools and practices with everyday work. In particular, the program will focus on the following questions:

  • How do we map and understand TDEs?
  • When can we define an organizational environment in terms of TDE?
  • How do objects and technologies interfere with everyday organizational life?
  • What are the ambiguities and disarticulations prompted by technological systems supporting working and organizing practices?
  • What is the role of bodies and gender in TDEs?
  • What are the methodological aspects of studying TDEs?

Confirmed keynote speaker

  • Trevor Pinch (Cornell University);

Confirmed keynote speaker

  • Attila Bruni (University of Trento);
  • Giuseppina Pellegrino (University of Calabria);
  • Manuela Perrotta (Queen Mary University, London);
  • Cornelius Schubert (Siegen University).

Scientific and Organizing Committee

  • Attila Bruni (University of Trento)
  • Claudio Coletta (University of Trento)
  • Paolo Magaudda (University of Padova)
  • Giuseppina Pellegrino (University of Calabria)
  • Manuela Perrotta (Queen Mary University, London)
  • Assunta Viteritti (La Sapienza – University of Rome)

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