Technoscience from Below – CALL FOR TRACKS of the 7th STS Italia Conference


Technoscience from Below

7th STS Italia Conference

University of Padova, Italy, June 14–16, 2018



The 7th STS Italia Conference will be hosted at the University of Padova, Italy, June 14 through 16, 2018, by the Italian Society of Science and Technology Studies, in collaboration with the FISPPA Department and the University of Padova.

The conference will be an opportunity to present empirical and theoretical work from a variety of disciplines and fields: sociology, anthropology, design, economics, history, law, philosophy, psychology and semiotics. This work will focus on diverse aspects of the social study of science, technology, and innovation.

The focal theme of the 7th STS Italia Conference will be Technoscience from Below. The conference will be organized around multiple thematic tracks, which will be selected by the scientific committee based on the outcome of this call for tracks, expiring November 15, 2017.

By focusing on Technoscience from Below, the 7th STS Italia Conference will offer the opportunity to explore alternative co-productive paths of science, technology, and innovation. Contemporary research on alternative paths to innovation show that the production of science and technology is blooming in a variety of alternative domains. These cover previously unexpected geographical contexts and organizational settings, involving a wide array of unconventional actors. Some examples of emerging processes of co-production coming from unpredicted places and actors are DIY practices in biomedicine, technoscientific research from the periphery, marginalised contexts of a globalised world, scattered groups of hackers, and lively local communities active in environmental sensing through crowd data generation. These processes are carried out by a combination of public authorities and grassroots participation of citizens and other non-institutional actors (i.e., environmental citizen groups, hackerspaces, and independent groups of patients), as well as with other economic and social actors. Moreover, these collective and distributed processes, in which humans and non-humans interact, also question the political role of technoscience and innovation institutions. They place themselves as alternative or even antagonistic points of view around issues of access to innovation, particularly its transparency and democratization. Technoscience from Below cannot be explained as the result of independent choices by isolated groups, whether designers, producers, or users; rather, it emerges as the collective performance of new ways of engagement in research and innovation governance. For these reasons, the exploration of alternative patterns of technoscientific innovation represents an increasingly important task for the STS community and other related fields.

Based on this broad reflection, the 7th Edition of the STS Italia conference sets out with a call for tracks intended to select topics of focus for the conference’s sessions, which will then form the basis of the call for abstracts. Each track must 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 via e-mail to the organizing committee ( by November 15, 2017. 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

•      Forms of participation and engagement with technoscience

•      Design practices inside and outside official research institutions

•      Postcolonial technoscience: science and technology in non-Western countries

•      The use and deployment of technology, technical devices, and artefacts

•      The relationship among innovation, ethics, and responsibility

•      Regulation and governance of innovation

•      Communication, media, and digital technologies

•      Alternative medical practices and healthcare environments

•      The public shaping of medical research

•      Hackerspaces, makerspaces, and DIY centres

•      The relationship among innovation, market, and macro-economic in subaltern contexts

•      Grassroots innovations for sustainable development

•      Methodologies for studying technoscientific processes from below

•      Alternative strategies for communicating science and technology

•      Research policies and knowledge production in non-institutional loci

•      Groups, organizations, and places of innovation

•      The relationship between knowledge and techniques in material and digital products

•      The body, gender, and technoscientific performance

•      Critical reflection on the gender-technology relationship

•      Expectations and promises related to innovation processes

•      Critical debate on mainstream accounts of the West’s technoscientific practices

Submissions for thematic tracks should be written in English and Italian and include a short description of the proposed theme and area of interest (max. 400 words), as well as some information about the convenors (max. 50 words each, including email addresses). Convenors will be notified of track acceptance by November 30, 2017.

Convenors will independently set session topics and organize each track 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 redirect 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 or merge it with another track.


  • November 15, 2017:       Deadline of the call for tracks (Download the text of the call)
  • November 30, 2017:            Notification of track acceptance
  • December 15, 2017:             Conference announced with call for abstracts
  • February 10, 2018:         Deadline for abstract submission


  • March 10, 2018:               Authors notified of abstract acceptance or rejection
  • March 25, 2018:               Early registration deadline
  • April 15, 2018:                  Closing date for registration
  • May 20, 2018:                   Publication of final conference program
  • June 14-16, 2018:        Conference


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