A Matter of Design. Making Society through Science and Technology

The 5th STS Italia Conference will be held in Milan, Italy, June 12 through 14, 2014, by the Italian Society of Science and Technology Studies, in collaboration with the Politecnico di Milano Doctoral School in Design.

The conference is an opportunity to present empirical and theoretical work from a variety of disciplines and fields (sociology, anthropology, law, philosophy, design, psychology, semiotics, history, and economics). It focuses on diverse aspects of the social study of innovation processes, technology, and science.


The 5th STS Italia Conference theme is design processes. Design, on the one hand, is a process that gives rise both to artifacts and to their accompanying social networks, those that are brought about by the artifacts as well as those that make the artifacts possible. On the other hand, design processes cannot be explained as the result of independent, rational choices by isolated individuals, whether designers, producers or users. They are, rather, collective processes in which humans and nonhumans interact. When science and technology studies meet the latest design thinking, new scenarios and new perspectives arise for both these research communities. This occurs, for example, in studying communication tools, robotics, smart fibers or medical products.

The Fifth Edition of the STS Italia conference sets out with a call for tracks. This is intended to select topic areas for the conference to focus on, which will then form the basis of the call for abstracts. Each track is to be presented and managed by one or more convenors. Convenors will be responsible for formulating the call for abstracts, selecting abstracts, and organizing the track.

Track proposals should be submitted online via the conference homepage by November 15, 2013. Proposals may cover all topics related to the social study of innovation processes, technology, and science. Proposals on the following topics are especially welcome:

  • Processes and practices of technological innovation
  • Design processes and the emergence of technical objects
  • Design practices
  • The use and deployment of technology, technical devices, and artifacts
  • The relationship among innovation, ethics, and society
  • Regulation and governance of innovation
  • Communication, media, and mobile technologies
  • Medical practices and healthcare environments
  • The relationship among innovation, the market, and macro-economic processes
  • Methodologies for studying technoscientific processes
  • Communication of science and technology
  • Research policies and knowledge production
  • Groups, organizations, and places of innovation
  • The relationship among knowledge, processes, and techniques in designing material, digital or immaterial products
  • The body, gender, and technoscientific performance
  • Expectations and promises related to innovation processes

Submissions for thematic tracks should be written in Italian or English and include a short description of the proposed theme and area of interest (maximum 400 words), as well as some information about the convenors (max. 50 words, including email address). Convenors will be notified of track acceptance by December 1, 2013.

Convenors will independently set session topics and organize each track overall, according to numerical constraints specified by the scientific board. Convenors who consider an abstract interesting but not suited to their thematic track will be free to re-address the abstract to the scientific board, for submission to another track. If a track draws less than three abstracts, the scientific board will decide whether to run the track anyway or merge it with another track.


November 15, 2013: Deadline for call for tracks

December 1, 2013: Notification of track acceptance

December 15, 2013: Conference announced with track listing, call for abstracts

February 15, 2014: Deadline for abstract submission

March 15, 2014: Authors notified of abstract acceptance or rejection

April 30, 2014: Closing date for registrations

May 15, 2014: Publication of final conference program





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