Rooted in social sciences, the science and technology studies since the beginning have been interested in investigating the changes of the social world caused by operating science and spreading technologies. The "Shifting publics" session will focus on various ways of transforming the public in many studied contexts. One of the presented papers refers to the important subfield of the public understanding of science, crossing it however with the risk studies. Research on the public attitudes tends to stress either cognitive or emotional factors, avoiding broader perspective taking both into account. Another paper focuses on the very mechanisms of social change: following the general observations about the laboratorization of the society, it studies the bodies and institutions deliberately constructed as laboratories of social change, which transform the social order by negotiating with different actors and ontologies. Another classical STS theme will be brought to attention by yet another paper - that of the important role of technological artifacts and material infrastructure of transport and communication for the emergence and competition of disparate (sometimes contradictory) social orders. The field of the media and its public will be also addressed by another paper, in the context of development and spreading of the new biotechnologies and ethical issues they rise. The papers collected in the session share a general interest in the type of processes, yet clearly follow different paths of investigation.
The papers will be presented in the order shown and within one session