Call for Papers: “Ethnographic data generation in STS collaboration” (Special Issue)

This is a call for papers for a special issue in Science and Technology Studies on “Ethnographic data generation in STS collaboration” edited by Ingmar Lippert and Julie Sascia Mewes.

More information on formats and deadlines can be found here.

STS scholars frequently engage in collaborative research, as groups of STS scholars as much as in collaborations with colleagues in other fields or non-academics. This SI ex­plores how ethnographic data is generated and transformed for STS analysis in a range of such collaborative contexts. The special issues (SI) aims to lead beyond reflexivity ac­counts of positionality in STS ethnography and establish a benchmark for the STS ethno­graphic study of how ethnographic collaboration configures its data.

This focus recognises that STS now build on and critically engage with a tradition of care­fully scrutinising how scientists pursue their research – in the field, the laboratory, at desks and conferences. Recognising that textbooks’ presentations of methods cannot be mir­rored in their “applications” or “implementations”, STS have questioned how to author STS accounts “after method”; and we may attend to “inventive methods” to pay attention to the various material and semiotic tools and devices (a) that configure research objects and (b) through which the researcher’s data are achieved. Enacting our own STS ethnography’s data involves a range of performances of “decisions”, explicit and implicit assumptions and politico-normative inscriptions, contingent unfoldings and clashes with, potentially unruly, humans and non-humans; we have to “manage” our data as much as our relations within the research assemblages.

Interestingly, however, STS have not yet developed a strong tradition for studying how our own collaborations are shaping the generation and transformation of our ethnographic data. The SI focuses on studying the relation between collaboration, ethnography and its data as it is configured in negotiations of different worlds, in collaborations across differ­ence between researchers and other actants within their research assemblages. Who and what is accountable to what else and in what way in assembling researchers, our partners, subjects, objects, our devices and our data? How do these relations shape and effect not only data but also the objects we study? Ethnographically describing and analysing our method’s data practices – this we call methodography. We deem developing and showcas­ing methodography a significant contribution to our field because this promises to equip STS not only with a resource that ethnograpically working STS scholars can well draw on to analyse their own method choices but also because this proposed SI performs exercis­ing a genre, or a language, for presenting and telling such analyses.