Presentations and Events

CfP: STS interventions for studying invisible data infrastructures

Together with colleagues at the Web Science Institute and Web Science Centre for Doctoral Training, we’ve put together an open panel for the 4S 2018 conference, this year in Sydney. This is an open call designed to gather a wide range of practitioners working in and around STS, specifically focused on discussing methodological interventions for studying digital invisibilities (in their various forms).

Please feel free to pass along to colleagues that might be interested and don’t hesitate to get in touch for more information regarding the panel. More information regarding conference submissions can be found below the abstract.

Please note that the deadline is quickly approaching – abstract submissions are due Feb 1!

4S Sydney: Transnational STS – Open Panel #106 

Panel: From Black Boxes to Locked Boxes: STS interventions for studying invisible data infrastructures

Panel Convenors: Jessica Ogden, Susan Halford, Jack Webster (University of Southampton)

Abstract: Data infrastructures pervade our lives, and yet often remain obscured, inaccessible and resistant to study. Some of the material impacts of data infrastructures can be felt in our everyday lives through interactions with location awareness and transportation apps, music recommender systems, health tracking and grocery store checkouts. And yet, after decades of infrastructure studies, STS methods and theories are increasingly stretched to accommodate the scale and rate at which data infrastructures manifest. As systems of governance, social justice, commerce and warfare are embedded in and utterly reliant upon data infrastructures, the stakes could not be higher. This panel invites contributions that engage with the methodological challenges associated with investigating socio-technical invisibilities in digital data infrastructures. Here we envisage invisibilities to encompass the context of wide-ranging socio-technical relations that enable and disable access to data infrastructures, from black-boxed algorithms and internet protocols to labour and organisational structures. The panel welcomes critical reflection on the ontological and material implications of the ways in which invisibility in data infrastructures is conceptualised in STS, and by extension, operationalised into methods and methodological interventions. We invite creative methodological contributions to STS that reconfigure and extend existing concepts to develop ways of engaging with varying types and degrees of access and absence in digital infrastructures – where even the barriers themselves may become the subject of study. The panel hopes to create an atmosphere of reflexive engagement with both the possible consequences of inaction and the potential for STS interventions in making visible the invisible.

From the Conference Organisers:

4S Sydney 2018 – Call for Submissions

Closes February 1st 2018

We are excited to announce that 4sSydney (August 29th – September 1st 2018) is now open for submissions:

On this website you will find information about submitting a closed panels and single papers  a paper to an open panel  a Making and Doing session; and an exciting new addition to the 4S program, the STS Across Borders Exhibit.

Our theme – TRANSnational STS – encourages presentations, panels, and other events that deepen and extend the transnational character of the Society itself, while engaging issues invoked by both the TRANS prefix (across, beyond, to change thoroughly), and by the problematic and evolving status of ‘nations’ in processes of global ordering.

Over one hundred open panels have been accepted from scholars on every continent and covering every major STS theme. Please consider contributing to what is certain to be a rich and diverse regional conference – by submitting  by adding to our collection of translations of the conference (currently 18 languages) or by contributing to the blog highlighting our two plenary themes, Indigenous STS and Querying STS Geneaologies.

Please share this call to your networks far and wide, email us with any questions, and follow us on twitter or join our mailing list for updates.

Emma Kowal and Matt Kearnes, Program Chairs


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