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Digital Innovations and the Future(s) of Agriculture - I

Wed, September 4, 8:00 to 9:30am, Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, Floor: Five, Grand Ballroom B

Abstract

Proponents of digital agriculture argue that innovations in sensing, big data and automation will transform how we think about and organize food systems. Digital technologies may optimize different components of production and distribution, with implications for productivity, profitability, social security, and environmental protection. But as the land encounters the digital and the digital the land, it is important to consider how innovations are both shaping and being shaped by social and political processes and institutions. This panel is animated by the normative belief that STS attention to the interplay between technology and the social could advance a generative and timely analysis of digital agriculture.
We invite papers exploring the ways by which digital innovations are mobilized in food production and wider societal re-ordering. Panelists could consider how STS concepts such as co-production, assemblages, socio-technical systems, and ontological politics could help in this work? What power dynamics are reproduced under so-called “revolutionary” innovations, and how are different groups problematizing and resisting stabilization as well as change? What social values are entangled with everyday technical practices to collect, order and (re)present agricultural data? How are farmers, agrochemical corporations, extension workers, governments, and other social groups engaging with digital agricultural technologies?
Through this panel critically interrogating agricultural innovation (including what is assumed to be “innovative”), we secondarily hope to innovate STS’s disciplinary assemblages by making bridges with other fields attending to digital agriculture (food and rural studies, communication studies).

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