: CALL FOR PAPERS - Special Issue - At the core of science and technology: work and organization in STS

Work and organization have always been at the core of STS. Focusing on work and organizing practices has been crucial for STS in order to grasp and highlight science and technology as the results of the ordinary and sometimes routinary action of scientists (Latour and Woolgar, 1979; Knorr Cetina, 1981; Lynch, 1985), but also to attract attention on the invisible and articulation work that technologies and innovations often imply and require to their users (Star and Ruhleder, 1996; Star and Strauss, 1999).

The work conducted by STS has thus become relevant to Organization Studies (OS) and to develop a non-deterministic approach to technologies in relation to work and organization. This is mirrored in a variety of papers, special issues and edited books published at the clash of the past century. Barbara Czarniawska and Tor Hernes’s Actor-network Theory and Organizing (2005), the special issue of the journal Organization provocatively titled “Does STS Mean Business?” (Woolgar, Coopmans, and Neyland, 2009), and/or the translation in organizational terms of the concept of sociomateriality (Barad, 2003) by Wanda Orlikowski (2007) are telling examples of the relevance of STS concepts for organizational scholars and of their appropriation within OS and management theories.

Given the relevance and the appropriation of an STS approach in OS, one could symmetrically ask: in which ways an organizational perspective could contribute to STS and to a relational approach to technology? Which are the concepts, theories, and approaches coming from the field of OS STS borrow (or could borrow)? More broadly, what is the attention devoted by contemporary STS to work and organizational issues in technological, scientific, and innovation processes? 

These three questions help us to point out how “work” and “organization” have progressively dropped out (at least in explicit terms) from the STS debate. For example, they do not appear in the titles of the nearly hundred thematic tracks of EASST and 4S conferences; they are mostly absent from articles and special issues of the principal STS journals (STHV; 4S; S&TS); while STS have incorporated a variety of concepts coming from social sciences, the idea of “institutional isomorphism” (just to name a blockbuster concept in the field of OS) seems not to be of interest to STS scholars; in a similar vein, in the current debate going on in OS about the digitalisation of organising and working practices, STS are mostly absent, while media studies play a central role.

The aim of this special issue of Tecnoscienza is thus to reinvigorate the debate around issues of work and organization when studying scientific and technological phenomena. Precisely, we welcome contributions that elaborate on what emerges when scholars of both fields – STS and OS – acknowledge the deep entanglement between science, technology, innovation, work, and organizations. We are interested in contributions that provide theoretical and empirical material to highlight what are the synergies between OS and STS and what such “collaboration” brings forth, also in terms of tensions and contradictions. We invite theoretical, analytical, and methodological papers that explore the relationship between STS and OS in relation (but not limited) to the following issues and their overlapping:

 

-       the ways digital technologies (artificial intelligence systems, algorithms, information infrastructures, software and online platforms) support, automatize, disturb and reorient work and organizing practices;

-       the different modalities of work and organization allowed for or hindered by digital technologies;

-       work and organizing practices lurking behind the functioning of digital technologies;

-       the mingling of digital and organizational processes;

-       imaginaries of ‘the future of work’ and the forms of labor such imaginaries entail or take for granted;

-       analyses of what counts as “work” and “organization” in increasingly digitalized contexts;

-       collateral and hidden dimensions of the use of digital technologies in work and organizations;

-       the politics and the power dynamics surrounding digitalization processes in work and organizations;

-       innovative methods and concepts with which to study and understand digitalized work and organizations.

 

Deadline for abstract submissions: June 30th, 2022

 

Abstracts (in English) with a maximum length of 500 words should be sent as email attachments to tecnoscienza.specialissue@gmail.com and carbon copied to the guest editor. Notification of acceptance will be communicated by mid-July 2022.  Full papers (in English with a maximum length of 8,000 words including notes and references) will be due by November 15th 2022 and will be subject to a double-blind peer review process. We expect to publish the special issue in 2023.

 

 

For information and questions, please do not hesitate to contact the guest editor:

 

Attila Bruni, attila.bruni@unitn.it

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Barad, K. (2003), Posthumanist performativity. Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter, in “Signs”, 28 (3), pp. 801-831.

Czarniawska, B. and Hernes, T. (eds.) (2005), Actor-Network Theory and Organizing, Liber, Copenhagen Business School.

Knorr-Cetina, K. (1981), The Manufacture of Knowledge. An Essay on the Constructivist and Contextual Nature of Science, Oxford, Pergamon Press.

Latour, B. and Woolgar, S. (1979), Laboratory Life. The Social Construction of Scientific Facts, Beverly Hills, Sage.

Lynch, M. (1985), Art an Artifact in Laboratory Science. A Study of Shop Work and Shop Talk in a Research Laboratory, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Orlikowski, W.J. (2007), Sociomaterial practices. Exploring technology at work, in “Organization studies”, 28 (9), pp. 1435-1448.

Star, S.L. and Ruhleder, K. (1996), Toward an ecology of infrastructure. Design and access for large information spaces,  in “Information Systems Research”, 7 (1), pp. 111-134.

Star, S.L. and Strauss, A. (1999), Layers of silence, arenas of voice. The ecology of visible and invisible work, in “Computer-Supported Cooperative Work”, 8 (1/2), pp. 9-30.

Woolgar, S., Coopmans, C., Neyland, D. (2009), Does STS Mean Business?, in “Organization”, 16 (1), pp. 5-30.



ISSN: 2038-3460