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The biennial forum of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST)

Event details


Mar 14, 2010
from 08:40 AM to 11:40 PM


Faculty of Sociology, Trento, Italy

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Science Technology and the North-South Divide in an Emerging Global Order

We propose to organize a series of sessions to engage with practices, performances, and transfer of science and technology (S&T) and their links with development, democracy and justice in an emerging global order. The session especially aims to focus on the world outside of EU and the USA and the connections and antagonisms between various regions with respect to science, technology and global change.

Science and technology rank high on the worldwide list of tools promising to foster economic growth, social well-being and environmental sustainability especially in the “global south.” These goals often assume the “transfer” of ideas, technologies, and related values from countries in the expert North to the lay South. Also, a significant part of STS tend to focus exclusively on Western science in northern countries and ignore wider roots, politics, context and relations of science and technology across regions. In both respects a shift in focus seems needed.

Nation states are not and have never been sovereign decision makers in matters of S&T. It is also increasingly difficult to imagine the world divided in monolithic blocks of North and South that are at different stages of development. This is made even more visible by the current spread of global technological infrastructures, rise of multinational corporations, and deep penetration of global governance structures into national boundaries. Therefore, it is important to go beyond the focus on S&T in nation-states in “the North” and look at this issue from a wider geographical and intellectual perspective. Furthermore, we think that the image that globalization is a process in which Western science and Western cultures are being rolled out over the world in unquestionable ways is highly problematic. We propose that epistemic and politics of the changing co-production of science, technology and society in a globalizing world need closer study in a symmetrical fashion across regions and hemispheres.

This track will engage with the links between S&T and notions of development, progress, democracy, justice, ethics, and newly emerging identity politics in non-Western settings. It will also focus on transfer of technology on the North-South axis. We aim to bring together papers that may be historical, ethnographic or quantitative. A list of possible themes or sessions is suggested as below.

  1. Historical perspectives on interconnections between science, technology and development;
  2. Risks and uncertainties of newly emerging technologies in politically, culturally and religiously diverse contexts;
  3. Social and scientific practices and context of “transfer” of S&T from north to south;
  4. Economic and social influence or impact of S&T “transfer” along the north-south axis;
  5. Controversies on science and competing religious and identity politics in a globalizing world;
  6. Changing geopolitical configurations and their effects on S&T agendas;
  7. Science, economic growth and global and local inequalities.
  8. Catching up with the South: New Spaces of Conversation with STS

Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be sent by email (following website instructions) by 2010 March 15th.

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