STS scholarship has recently turned to consider democracy as an object of study and experimentation in itself. This panel brings together studies of democratic experiments in the making and interventionist work that takes a deliberately experimental approach to creating new forms of democracy.
In recent years STS scholarship has turned to consider democracy as an object of study - and as a domain of scientific and technological innovation - in itself. This has brought forward an interest in treating forms of democratic and participatory practice as socio-material experiments in the making (e.g. Marres, 2012; Chilvers & Kearnes, 2016; Lezaun et al. 2017). Rather than being pre-given external categories, the subjects, objects and models of democracy are seen to be co-produced and emerge through the performance of collective practices. One way of approaching this is through situated studies of experiments in democracy in situ as they emerge, as they become technologized and standardised, as they are translated and embedded in particular institutional contexts, or as they intermingle in particular systems, constitutions and issue spaces (e.g. Pallett, 2015; Soneryd, 2016; Laurent, 2017). This can also be approached through forms of intervention in democracy where STS scholars attempt to deliberately create new socio-material configurations in ways that respond to ongoing emergence, exclusions, uncertainties and effects of democratic practices (e.g. Horst & Michael, 2011; Waterton & Tsouvalis, 2016; Voss, 2016). This panel provides an opportunity to bring together emerging work from both of these approaches.