Past Seminars Seminários Já Decorridos 2013

Designed to fail: the politics of integrating social scientists in technical facilities

By: Ana Viseu
From: York University and ISCTE-IUL
At: Instituto de Investigação Interdisciplinar, Anfiteatro
[2013-05-02] 11:30

Contemporary science policy emphasizes the need for integration between the soft and hard sciences as a means to engage the public and thus produce responsible science. This is particularly true of current efforts in nanotechnology research and development , an effort that has entailed the integration of social scientists in nano-facilities. But has this integration has worked in practice? Drawing on ethnographic data during my three years as an ‘in-house social scientist’ at a U.S. nanofabrication center, I argue that this policy model is not working. My paper will examine how the ‘social’ is incorporated into a lab, namely on the ways in which the ‘public’ comes to stand-in for the ‘social’, and the ways in which this affects expectations regarding the role of the social sciences.