Re-valuing European Research Infrastructures – Knowledge, Innovation, and the Public Good
International Workshop, Sky Lounge, University of Vienna
It seems to be beyond dispute that research infrastructures are of vital importance, given that we live in a society driven by a ceaseless thirst for scientific and technological innovation. If we accept this assumption – at least as a provocation for engaged and critical analysis – then it prompts us to explore how research infrastructures are made and remade in order to yield social and political value, and how they (are envisioned to) support and grow into other fields of practice.
Clearly, the term ‘research infrastructures’ itself refers to a spectrum of different socio-material assemblages that elude a unified definition. The literature points to a variety of typologies and oppositions that may serve as intriguing starting points: small vs. large, physical vs. virtual, local vs. regional vs. transnational, single-sited vs. distributed, etc. Definitions become even more challenging when we seek to map and explore research infrastructures in their connections to other sociotechnical infrastructures, their transitions, and fault lines.
This workshop thus seeks to explore the role and meaning of research infrastructures in and for Europe, not only through, but also beyond their primary aim of supporting scientific activities and collaboration. In particular, we seek to examine current articulations and revaluations of their central purposes – namely, generating knowledge, enabling innovation, and fostering the public good.
Our empirical entry points are research infrastructures situated in Europe. In doing so, we do not want to conceive of ‘Europe’ as a closed-off, firmly defined geo-political terrain or specific institutional ensemble (and certainly not as identical with the European Union as such). Rather, Europe may be best approached as an entangled and imagined locality where different scales, spatialities, temporalities, and politics and become folded, condensed, articulated, and problematized. We will further elucidate this notion by tracing the infrastructural networks that underpin and sustain the European Research Area, with their multiple tangles reaching beyond Europe. Explorations of European research infrastructures thus open up a heteroclite perspective on practices of structuring and stabilizing specific forms of political formation and imagination.
Conceptually and methodologically, we wish to bring together papers that engage in
- empirically rich, situated analyses with particular attentiveness to detail and/or
- theoretically informed problematizations of (European) research infrastructures, drawing on different social science perspectives that share conceptual affinities with STS work.
We furthermore encourage the following three dimensions of research infrastructures be captured across different contributions: (1) the question of the relationship of research infrastructures to ‘innovation’ as a social ideal and sociopolitical imperative; (2) questions of value(s) in relation to research infrastructures, i.e., the evaluation and valorization of research infrastructures along different registers of value; and (3) questions of contestation, problematization, and subversion of research infrastructures by different actors and across different sites.
Keynote speakers include:
- Prof. Klaus Hoyer, University of Copenhagen
- Dr. Katharina C. Cramer, University of Bonn
Some financial support is available for travel and accommodation costs. Please get in touch with us in case you need support.
Abstract should be 250-300 words, include a title and 5 keywords, and should indicate the overall argument, conceptual approach, methodology and empirical materials/case studies that underpin the paper.
Please send your abstracts to: firstname.lastname@example.org by March 5, 2023.
Decisions will be communicated latest on March 20, 2023.
The full call can be read here.