F04
STS and normativity-in-the-making: good science and caring practices

Convenors:
Annemarie van Hout (Windesheim University of Applied Sciences)
Jeannette Pols (Amsterdam Medical Centre/University of Amsterdam)
Vicky Singleton (Lancaster University)
Sonja Jerak-Zuiderent (Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam)
Dick Willems (Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam)
Jonna Brenninkmeijer (Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam)
Chair:
Jeannette Pols [AMC/UvA]
Discussant:
Dick Willems [AMC/UvA]
Format:
Location:
Welcome Centre Lecture Theatre 4
Start time:
26 July, 2018 at 9:00
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

The processes of normativity-in-the-making emerges as a concern in STS research. The metaphor of caring has been used for both studying values and registers of valuing used in the practices we study, and for reflecting on the normativity of doing STS work itself.

Long abstract:

The processes of normativity-in-the-making emerges as a concern in STS research. Normativity is studied in two ways: by studying values and registers of valuing used in the practices we study and by reflecting on the normativity of doing STS work itself. Recently, the metaphor of caring has been used for both. Caring becomes a process of relating to particular situations, of tinkering with what is possible and desirable (Mol, Moser and Pols 2010), a normative practice or relating to different 'forms of the good' (Thévenot 2001; Pols 2017), or a generative possibility for relating to one's research (Puig de la Bellacasa 2017). The attempt to achieve good science (health care, knowledge about sheep, or robots..) may be discerned from other goods (cost effectiveness, high impact..). But there are also questions about 'the goodness of the good'; is well intended caring always good? Is there still a space for 'critique' or are there 'other means'? Ethnography seems to be a good approach to study such a sensitivity to knowledge- and-normativity-in-the-making. However, an ethnographic approach does not provide prescriptive modes or handbook style standards on how to achieve good science. But what ways we then think of? How to be normative where, and to what effect? Do we need political programs or emancipatory aims? Ethico-political standards? Methodological safeguards? The panel explores questions about normativity in knowledge making. We invite papers on empirical studies on normativity that address either normativity in scientific and technological practices and normativity in STS itself.