4th STS Italia Summer School Almost Humans: Robotics, Healthcare and STS September 5th– 9th, 2017 Catania, Italy


STS Italia, the Italian Society of Science and Technology Studies – in collaboration with the Department of Political and Social Sciences and the Department of Mathematics and Informatics of the University of Catania is organizing its 4th Summer School, “Almost Human: Robotics, Healthcare and STS”, to be held in Catania (Italy) from September 5th to 9th, 2017.

Download the final program

​All the activities of the Summer School will be held at the Department of Social and Political Science, via Vittorio Emanuele 49, in the very city center of Catania. Here you can find a link with the map of the city center and a selection of Bed and Breakfast and Hotel of that area :




Goals and main topics

Robotics in its various applications and research fields (work, leisure, medicine, care, education, military use, etc.) emerges as a set of technological innovations designed to have a disruptive impact on the economy, politics, and society. Technological artifacts pervasively permeate different spheres of personal and professional life, reconfiguring the relationship between humans and humans and artifacts. Robots, in their various forms, are a “presence” which calls/solicits our attention. After colonizing factories and research laboratories, robots, humanoid or animal, “dispersed” in our technological environments as meta-media (the chatbot, for example), or as professionals of care, are already living among us, populating our cities, inhabiting our homes, taking care of us, and even observing what we do. Consequently, the development of robotics raises new questions in a great number of ethical, legal, social and anthropological issues.

The STS Italia Summer School aims to address the challenges posed by recent developments in robotics and artificial intelligence through a variety of approaches, theoretical frameworks and methodological insights. PhD students and early career researchers in Science and Technology Studies (STS) are invited to participate in a joint reflection that will try to trace some interdisciplinary interpretative frameworks and to propose a space of exchange between social sciences and scientific research.

A particular attention will be given to the role of robotics in the field of health and care. We would like to question the relationship between technological innovation and new practices, or relationships, of care; to question the professional reconfigurations and skills modified by the introduction of assistive technological devices to the cure gesture (surgery, for example) and care practices (in homes and hospitals); to highlight the different concepts of care receivers and care givers that emerge in the contexts of innovation and in always singular and specific contexts of practices and everyday life (prosthetics, assistive robotics, etc.). These issues can be addressed more politically and institutionally (issues of surveillance, infrastructures, social, economic and research policies); at an intermediate level, in the boundaries between private and public sector (in particular as regards the transfer of skills and practices between place of cure – hospital – and place of life – home); at individual level in familiar and professional relationships of care. A question that surely crosses the technological, sociological, institutional and ethical aspects is the concept of autonomy (of person, of patient, of devices, of familiar or professional collectives), which increasingly includes the human and non-human relationship in its definition, in particular in the healthcare field.

This summer school introduces participants to major approaches, exploring new research frontiers and emerging themes under ethical, cultural and socio-technical perspectives:

  • Autonomy (of technological devices, of person, of systems), which includes the notion of enable/disable, empowerment, accessibility, dependency;
  • Robotics in work’s contexts (in particular in healthcare);
  • Human/non human relationship (in particular in healthcare, which includes non human animals);
  • Imaginaries of the body, the machine, the hybrid (cyborg);
  • Ethical and legal approaches;
  • Technological innovation in healthcare: state of the art, perspectives, problems;
  • Epistemological and theoretical approaches to robotics and AI;
  • Technological innovation in healthcare and disabilities and gender studies;The Summer School will offer PhD students and early career researchers the opportunity to interact with STS international scholars with a transdisciplinary background in social studies of science and technology.


  • Maria Carmela Agodi (University of Napoli, Italy)
  • Nathanael Jarassé (ISIR Paris)
  • Giovanni Muscato (University of Catania, Italy)
  • Fiorella Operto (Scuola di Robotica and CNR, Genoa, Italy)
  • Enrico Maria Piras (Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Trento, Italy)
  • Bruno Siciliano (University of Naples, Italy)
  • Guglielmo Tamburrini (University of Naples, Italy)


With the support of:

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For further details, costs, scholarship and how to apply read the extended PDF call you can download from here.

To apply download and fill the APPLICATION FORM.

Applications must be submitted electronically to the Summer School Organizing Committee at: summerschool@stsitalia.org. Applications deadline is June 15th.

Important dates
Applications deadline: June 15th, 2017:-  deadline extension June 25th, 2017

June 30th, 2017: Notification for participation and for scholarship eligibility.

July 10th, 2017: Registration deadline.


You can write to summerschool@stsitalia.org for any further questions regarding the school.

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