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Anthropology and STS: Dis/Encounters and Potential South-North Exchanges I

Wed, August 20, 11:00am to 1:00pm, Intercontinental Hotel, Moliere

Session Submission Type: Paper Session


In their 1986 "Anthropology as Cultural Critique" Marcus and Fischer described the relationship between anthropology and science studies as being one of mutual learning. Their assessment was published when US cultural anthropologists were establishing scientific cultures as legitimate objects of ethnographic and theoretical inquiry within anthropology. Since the 1970s both this sub-field of anthropology and the interdisciplinary field of STS have developed their own distinctive concepts, methods, interpretive approaches, and forms of collaboration. Both have successfully established, institutionalized, consolidated, and maintained separate academic infrastructures (jobs, funding, workshops, circuits, etc.), although STS is more visible internationally. Meanwhile, the relationship between anthropology and STS has changed considerably and tensions have surfaced about their different approaches to research and public engagements.

This panel addresses the current relationship between anthropology of science and STS with a focus on current possibilities for renewed dialogue and cross-fertilization. It will contribute a discussion of the theoretical and methodological developments in both fields, as well as those in transit between STS and anthropology, as they gain traction in the global South. We will present and debate on-going research in anthropology of science and technology from different traditions to map out differences and alternatives that are emerging from anthropology and STS research in the global South. For this panel, anthropologists will present their research work in progress on the study of disasters, science and engineering publics, sociotechnical infrastructures, intersecting science/state policies, and global knowledge work while exploring the methodological and theoretical Anthropology/STS borderlands.

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