CFP: Towards an ecology of neglected things

Towards an ecology of neglected things
STS Italia Conference
Dept. of Sociology and Social Research, University of Trento
November 24-26, 2016

Jeanne Guien, University Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne (Cetcopra)
Gabriel Dorthe, University of Lausanne (Institute of Geography and Sustainability) & University Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne (Cetcopra)

Abstracts (approx. 300 words) should be sent by May 30, 2016 to these three email addresses:;;

New and young scholars with ‘work in progress’ papers are welcomed. Papers can be theoretical or theoretically informed empirical work.

Neglected things are pervasive in numerous contemporary practices and imaginaries. Our patchy knowledge about them is co-produced with a specific social order (Jasanoff, 2004), which is politically shortsighted, negates materiality and environmental issues, and reduces the creativity of practices.

Long Abstract:

Neglected things are pervasive in numerous contemporary practices and imaginaries, whether they are future technologies triggering transhumanist hopes, wasted objects in our backyards or oceans, forsaken quantified self devices, ubiquitous algorithms in our digital lives, to name just a few examples. These largely ignored objects are co-produced (Jasanoff, 2004) with a certain world order, which is politically shortsighted, obfuscates material and environmental issues, and tends to wipe out creative practices. Western world is said ‘materialist’, saturated with objects, on account of consumerist economy. But, if so many things stay neglected, their materiality seeming not worth taking into account, have we ever been ‘materialist’? How precisely do we know these things, dumped, abandoned, or trapped in a distant future? How, by whom and why is their presence or absence shaped?

Beyond a perspective in terms of agnotology, looking at how carelessness is produced, we expect descriptions recounting how these things are concretely set apart, hidden, transformed, or made dazzling. “Making the statement of the materiality of things implies taking their resistance into account” (Julien, Rosselin, 2005). A broad ecological approach is required: overexploited natural resources, intertwined objects, practices, and histories, heterogeneous temporalities should be made more explicit. Things always belong to a network, of which humans are only a part. We intend to critically and creatively engage these things in terms of the complex material and practical entanglements they are inscribed in (Bellacasa, 2011). To heighten the materiality of neglected things is by no means a reductionist approach. It triggers richer sociotechnical imaginaries (Jasanoff, 2015) and re-opens creative political orders, aware of intrinsic limits, and hopefully more interesting. This track aims to gather firmly field-based studies with a strong theoretical appetency. We invite researchers to bring a wide range of topics in order to nurture a collective theoretical questioning.

Possible topics for papers include but are by no means limited to:
– trash studies
– junk studies
– quantified self
– technological promises
– trans-/post-humanism
– material culture studies
– new materialism
– medical humanities
– environmental humanities
– history of technical objects

Abstracts should include: full contact information, including your name, institutional affiliation, and e-mail address. State the title of the track to which you are submitting your abstract.

Please circulate this announcement to colleagues who may be interested in this conference.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Yours sincerely,
Jeanne & Gabriel


Sociotechnical Environments
6th STS Italia Conference
Dept. of Sociology and Social Research, University of Trento
November 24-26, 2016

The 6th STS Italia Conference <> will be held in Trento, Italy, November 24 through 26, 2016, by the Italian Society of Science and Technology Studies <>, <> in collaboration with the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Trento.
As for past editions, the Conference aims at offering the opportunity to discuss empirical and theoretical work addressing diverse aspects of the social study of science, technology and innovation from a variety of disciplines and fields (sociology, anthropology, law, philosophy, design, psychology, semiotics, history, and economics, etc.). The focal theme of this year’s conference is Sociotechnical Environments. On the one hand, we are conscious that everyday and professional environments we inhabit are increasingly shaped by science, technology and innovation processes. However, these environments are not mere results of technical solutions and rational choices, but they rather emerge from a collective, dynamic and open-ended process of co-production, involving social arrangements and technoscientific processes, human actors and material artifacts, natural resources and cultural frameworks. At the same time, reflecting on the sociotechnical co-production of our social world brings to the foreground the relationship between technoscientific innovation and natural environment, turning environmental practices, politics and materialities as decisive focal points for the current research in multiple fields and intellectual domains.
Under this unifying framework, the conference will be articulated in 25 different thematic sessions <>, focusing on several different topics, including: environmental issues, biomedical settings, robotics and algorithms, communication and digital media, scientific and professional work, design, urban infrastructures and innovation processes at large.

Go to the conference website:

Go directly to the list of the 25 thematic sessions:

Info about deadlines and fellowships:

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