Intersectionality, power dynamics and visibility of women in science
Chandni Vadhavana (Central University of Gujarat)
Paper short abstract:
The paper explores the culture of science studies within technological institutes, through a sociological lens focusing on the relations between gender, race, caste and class prevalent in laboratories from an STS perspective to understand the in/visibility and marginalization of women in science.
Paper long abstract:
The paper sought to demonstrate, through an intersectional framework, that unlike much of the dominant public portrayals, science is not a "value neutral entity" but its performance is inevitably influenced by many socio-political and cultural factors, and further, tries to understand how the organizational structure of scientific institutions and culture of laboratory is multifaceted and complex embedded in the larger socio-cultural contexts. Observing the close interactions between human and non-human elements the study tried to explore the micro-level intricacies of power relations, networking and collaborations that reinforce ingrained hierarchical structures and hegemony operating in the science research laboratories. The paper attempts to critically analyze the mainstream argument, the "theory of merit" and reflects on the privileges and accumulated socio-cultural capital that plays a prominent role in visibility and invisibility of marginalized community in research institutions. Moreover, the paper elaborates on the laboratory as a site of ethnographic analysis to gain a deeper understanding of the multitude of power relations that operates through diverse categories of gender, race, caste, class and perpetuates inequality in technological spaces. In addition, the study is also an effort to understand how deeply contextual social pressures and the gendered nature of the laboratory spaces act as hindrances for women researchers in establishing their career in science.
The room where it happens: inclusion, exclusion and power in STS research and practice