Summer School “Technologically Dense Environments: What, Where and How” – Ostuni (IT), June 12-16 2013

2nd STS Italia Summer School, with the support of EASST


Ostuni (IT), June 12-16 2013

Call for participation

Register (deadline 15th of May) Registrations are closed

How to get there

Download the Call For Participation

Download the Application Form


Goals and main topics

The school program will be focused on stimulating a sensitivity among students for the complexities of moving between technologies in the contemporary world, especially in working and organizing settings. The idea of technologically dense environments (TDEs), in fact, refers both to concrete places in which human actors and technological artefacts work ‘together’ and to virtual places in which human interaction is made possible by technologies. In TDEs, complex socio-material practices mobilize the coordinated activities of heterogeneous (humans and nonhumans) elements, blurring the distinction between technological and organizational processes.

In the last decades, STS have provided a range of interesting examples of TDEs: laboratories (Latour and Woolgar, 1979; Lynch, 1985) financial markets (Knorr Cetina and Preda, 2004; MacKenzie, 2006), centres of coordination (Suchman, 1997), medical settings (Berg and Mol, 1998) and music making (Pinch and Bijsterveld, 2012). This has broadened the scenario of STS, inviting to focus in depth on the study of practices and processes that inextricably bind together working, organizing and the use of artefacts and technological systems.

However, technological density is not simply the result of a quantitative or qualitative increase, but an enacted quality performed by actors immersed in such environments. Subsequently, we do not confine the notion of TDEs to technological devices. In TDEs, technical procedures can be inscribed in many elements: bodies, languages, artefacts and architectures. Thus, the notion of TDEs takes organisational routines and structures as being inscribed in information and communication technologies, embodied in humans, incorporated into technical arrangements and built into floors and walls. The technological density of such environments does not denote that all the techniques get inescapably fused into one big apparatus governing all; on the contrary it highlights the contingencies of everyday action and the manifold instances of maintenance and repair which are needed in order to keep the semiotic and the material aspects of working and organizing well aligned. Even though organizational processes and artefacts of TDEs might point to rigidity and stabilization, their practice is continuously in flux.

Within a STS analytical framework, the school will introduce students to research experiences, approaches and methods in order to explore the interweaving of technological tools and practices with everyday work. In particular, the program will focus on the following questions:

  • How do we map and understand TDEs?
  • When can we define an organizational environment in terms of TDE?
  • How do objects and technologies interfere with everyday organizational life?
  • What are the ambiguities and disarticulations prompted by technological systems supporting working and organizing practices?
  • What is the role of bodies and gender in TDEs?
  • What are the methodological aspects of studying TDEs?

Who should attend?

Participation is open to PhD students and junior researchers from different fields and disciplines (Sociology, Organization Studies, Semiotics, Cognitive Sciences, Urban Management & Planning, Policy Studies, Innovation Studies, Cultural & Media Studies) whose research is related to technologically density and who are interested in developing a STS sensitivity toward them.

The number of participants is limited to 20 people.

Benefits from attending

Students will gain insights and suggestions on how to develop STS concepts in relation to the study of technologically dense environments, both attending lectures and practising concepts, theories and empirical methods in group discussions and workshops. The school is intended to act as an intellectually and socially stimulating environment, so as to foster active networking and fruitful follow-up among participants.


The school will articulate through Lectures and Workshops. Lectures will be given by internationally known scholars with a transdisciplinary background in Science and Technology Studies, Sociology and Organization Studies. Workshops will engage students around Summer School themes in small working groups. All Lectures and Workshops will be in English.

Confirmed keynote speaker

  • Trevor Pinch (Cornell University);
Confirmed speakers
  • Attila Bruni (University of Trento);
  • Giuseppina Pellegrino (University of Calabria);
  • Manuela Perrotta (Queen Mary University, London);
  • Cornelius Schubert (Siegen University).

Schedule, costs, and accommodation

All participants are expected to attend the entire duration of the Summer School and a Certificate of Attendance will be delivered at the end of it.

The school is a residential one and it will take place in a ‘masseria’ (a typical Southern Italian farm), set in the province of Brindisi, just near Ostuni (in the Puglia region, South-East of Italy). The place, beautifully located in the countryside (6 km from the sea) and surrounded by olive trees, is intended to enhance serendipitous discussions and to involve participants in debates and activities that will take place not just in dedicated times&spaces, but also in the shade, by the sea or at night, while having a drink. Participants will be accommodated in different spaces (all internal to the masseria), such as:

  • 2 independent rooms (2+2 beds) with private bathroom;
  • 1 loft room (5 beds) with private bathroom;
  • 1 (small) room (2 beds) with private bathroom;
  • 3 rooms (3+3+2 beds) with 4 shared bathroom.

For details, please have a look at the location website and the map  (please consider the place is currently under renovation and the website is not updated).

The fee for participation is 350 Eur.

The fee includes:

  • access to all Lectures and Workshops;
  • accommodation (4 days);
  • breakfasts, lunches and dinners (4 days);
  • welcome aperitif;
  • excursions to surrounding areas;
  • 2013 STS Italia membership.


Three scholarships (covering the participation fee) will be available for talented students. Scholarship applicants must send a Statement of Purposes (max 400 words) explaining why attending this summer school would be important for their academic studies or career, outlining also the reasons why they need a scholarship and specifying for what type of scholarship they are applying for (full/partial). Scholarship recipients will be selected on the basis of documented academic performance, personal achievements and financial needs.

How to apply

Application should include:

  1. The application form.
  2. Scientific curriculum together with a statement (max 800 words) outlining in what ways the candidate PhD project and/or research interests relate to the Summer School topics.
  3. Statement of purposes (mandatory only for scholarship applications).

Applications must be submitted electronically to the Summer School Organizing Committee at: Applications deadline is April 15th 2013 April 19th 2013

Important dates

2013 April 15 2013 April 19: Applications deadline.

2013 April 30: Notification for participation and for scholarship eligibility.

2013 May 15: Registration deadline.

2013 June 12-16: Summer School.

Scientific and Organizing Committee

Attila Bruni (University of Trento), Claudio Coletta (University of Trento), Paolo Magaudda (University of Padova), Laura Lucia Parolin (University of Milano Bicocca), Giuseppina Pellegrino (University of Calabria), Manuela Perrotta (Queen Mary University, London), Assunta Viteritti (La Sapienza – University of Rome).

Please contact the Committee via email at for any doubt or question.

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