STS Helsinki Seminar – Heta Tarkkala, 27.05, 14:15

We are happy to continue our seminar series in 2021 with a talk by Heta Tarkkala:

27 May, 14:15–15:45 (EEST)

Heta Tarkkala, PhD
Postdoctoral researcher – University of Helsinki

Website: https://researchportal.helsinki.fi/en/persons/heta-tarkkala

Visual arts in the presentation of research results in qualitative social science – reflections on collaboration with an illustrator

In a collaborative project “Faces of Masking” we have the aim to  explore alternative formats of presenting scientific results by using visual arts. As an empirical case, we pay attention to one of the most striking visual features of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic – the facemasks. As visual symbols for the pandemic, masks have also come to play a part in many public discussions. We have decided to explore these ‘mask stories’ published in newspapers and social media.

Our approach to the re-structuring of our social world during the pandemic is a combination of social scientific research and professional illustration. This means we have explored alternative forms of gaining and presenting scientific results by using visual arts. And we have collaborated with the artist already during the analytical process. As a result of this, sketches and illustrations, questions and clarifications have been generated as the analysis has moved forward.

In this presentation I will discuss first, the collaboration with visual artist as well as the input of this collaboration for the analytical process. Second, I will address different illustrations, figures and visualisations in the reporting of scientific research results more generally. This is done in order to think about the visualised scientific results and representations, and their tradition, role, and potential more generally, and to contextualise our own empirical case.

Short bio

Heta Tarkkala is a post doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, where she also defended her thesis in 2019. She is currently working in a project called Datalit, which is an interdisciplinary collaboration between social science, law, and computer science that develops understandable and trustworthy practices for utilizing Finnish health, social, and welfare data.

Heta’s background is in sociology and science and technology studies, and in her work she has concentrated on the issues related to knowledge production in biomedicine, biobanks, utilization of health data as well as the becoming of data driven society. She is also collaborating with researchers Annerose Böhrer, Marie-Kristin Döbler and visual artist Susi Vetter from Germany in a mini-project “Faces of masking” that aims to explore alternative forms of presenting social scientific research results in collaboration with visual artist. It is this project today’s presentation is based on.

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Topic: STS Helsinki Seminar – Heta Tarkkala
Time: May 27, 2021 02:00 PM Helsinki

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STS Helsinki Seminar – Mikko Ojanen

We are happy to continue our seminar series in 2021 with a talk by Mikko Ojanen:

29 April, 14:15–15:45 (EEST)

Mikko Ojanen, PhD
Part-time teacher – University of Helsinki Music Research Laboratory, UHMRL
Information specialist – Data Support, Helsinki University Library
Audio engineer, musician, record producer – KrunaUG

Website: https://researchportal.helsinki.fi/en/persons/mikko-ojanen

Engaging with electronic music technology in Finland in the 1960s and 1970s

The 1960s was a time of intensive interplay between music technological utopia and the contemporary reality. The decade marked a significant turning point in electronic musical instrument design. Both the transistor-based integrated circuits and their digital logic applications in sound synthesis, processing and sequencing methods strongly challenged the prior designs. The development occurred widely in the international contexts – as well as at grass-roots level in local scenes. In Finland, the music technological rupture inspired Mr. Erkki Kurenniemi, one of the pioneers of electronic musical instrument design, to seek new means to implement the novel technology in his strive for utopia. For Kurenniemi, the electronic musical instrument of the future was a tool for realizing automated and algorithmic musical processes.

In this case study on Kurenniemi’s designs, I focus on the users of his electronic musical instruments. Amidst Kurenniemi’s ten unique instruments, my research material consists of approximately 100 musical works realized with Kurenniemi’s instruments by twelve Finnish and Swedish composers and artists, who also collaborated with Kurenniemi. My analysis strengthens the notion that instrument design processes are deeply socially constructed and the implementation of new technology is significantly dependent on the users’ willingness to engage with equipment at hand. The willingness to engage with the technological solutions, on the other hand, is affected by the users’ background.

Here, I identified three points of departures for the artistic work of the users of Kurenniemi’s instruments. Their points of departure were based on 1) fully technologically oriented processes, where technological solution even played the most significant role, on 2) listening-based creative processes employed in real-time interaction with the technology, or on 3) their initial ideas for a work, which then were realized with  the current technological solution. Composers and artists either accepted Kurenniemi’s designs as is, or rejected them altogether. They rarely modified his designs, and the user experiences did not feed back to his design process leaving the instruments in the prototype phase.

Short bio

Mikko Ojanen, PhD, studies music technology – especially the history of electroacoustic music in Finland in the 1960s and 1970s at the University of Helsinki. He works as a part-time lecturer at the university’s Electronic Music Studio and as an information specialist in the Helsinki University Library Data Support. Ojanen also performs frequently as a musician, sound technician and music producer in several electronic, experimental and popular music projects and groups.

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STS Helsinki Seminar – Sampsa Hyysalo, 18.03, 14:15

We are happy to continue our seminar series in in 2021 with a talk by Sampsa Hyysalo:

18 March, 14:15–15:45 (EET)

Sampsa Hyysalo, Professor of Co-Design, Aalto University, School of Art, Design and Architecture

Website: https://people.aalto.fi/sampsa.hyysalo

Method matters in the social study of technology
Investigating the biographies of artifacts and practices.

Science and Technology Studies understandings of technological change are at odds with its own dominant research designs and methodological guidelines. A key insight from social shaping of technology research, for instance, has been that new technologies are formed in multiple, particular (albeit interlinked) settings, by many different groups of actors over long periods of time. Nonetheless, common research designs have not kept pace with these conceptual advances, continuing instead to resort to either intensive localised ethnographic engagements or broad stroke historical studies, unable to address both the intricacy and extent of the process in tandem. There has consequently been increasing interest in extending current methodological and analytical approaches through longitudinal and multi-site research templates. We discuss this fundamentally methodological critique and its implications through one of these approaches: the ‘biographies of artifacts and practices’ (BOAP) framework, which by now offers a twenty years body of studies to reflect upon methodological choices in different sociomaterial settings. This paper outlines the basic principles of BOAP and its significant variations, and discusses its contribution to STS understandings of innovation, especially user roles in innovation. We finish by arguing that if STS is to continue to provide insight around innovation this will require a reconceptualisation of research design, to move from simple ‘snap shot’ studies to the linking together of a string of studies.

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Topic: STS Helsinki seminar series

Time: Mar 18, 2021 02:15 PM Helsinki

 

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STS Helsinki Seminar – Małgorzata Rajtar, 21.01, 16:15

We are happy to continue our seminar series in in 2021 with a talk by Małgorzata Rajtar:

21 January, 16:15–17:45 (EET)

Małgorzata Rajtar, Prof. IFiS/Associate Professor, Institute of Philosophy & Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences/Rare Disease Social Research Center

Website: http://rdsrc.ifispan.pl/en/researcher/malgorzata-rajtar-2/

Health Passports and Vulnerability
The Case of Rare Diseases

Rare diseases have held a special status within health policy of the European Union (EU) since 2000. According to key EU legal documents on this issue, patients who suffer from a rare disease are entitled to the same good quality care as others. Due to the “low prevalence” of each rare disease and simultaneously the large total number of patients affected by them – between 27 and 36 million people in the EU – individuals who belong to this group are regarded as particularly vulnerable.

Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork and insights from two sets of scholarship: (1) bioethical and health policy scholarship on vulnerability, and (2) social science literature on materialities, in this presentation I analyze health policy instruments that are tailored to rare diseases. Specifically, I will focus on so called healthcare passports and alert cards that are aimed at facilitating access to treatment for patients with a rare disease. As rare disease materialities draw biomedical attention to conditions patients live with, these documents may fuel paternalistic and biomedically-biased practices and impinge on patient privacy.

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Topic: STS Helsinki Seminar – Małgorzata Rajtar
Time: Jan 21, 2021 04:15 PM Helsinki

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Spring schedule for the STS Helsinki Seminar Series

The STS Helsinki Seminar Series will continue in spring 2021 with talks by both Finnish and international scholars. We are especially happy to get back to our regularly scheduled events after having to cancel a large part of our programme in 2020. We hope the seminar series will continue to be a place to bring together people interested in STS, and look forward to continuing to host lively discussions around the themes this spring.

All talks in the spring programme are planned to take place online. Details will be posted closer to each event.

21 January 2021, 16:15–17:45
Małgorzata Rajtar, Prof. IFiS/Associate Professor, Institute of Philosophy & Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences/Rare Disease Social Research Center http://rdsrc.ifispan.pl/en/researcher/malgorzata-rajtar-2/
Health passports and vulnerability: The case of rare diseases

18 March 2021, 14:15–15:45
Sampsa Hyysalo, Professor of Co-Design, Aalto University, School of Art, Design and Architecture
https://people.aalto.fi/sampsa.hyysalo
Method matters in the social study of technology: Investigating the biographies of artifacts and practices

29 April 2021, 14:15–15:45
Mikko Ojanen, Information specialist, Helsinki University Library, DataSupport
https://researchportal.helsinki.fi/en/persons/mikko-ojanen
Engaging with electronic music technology in Finland in the 60s and 70s

27 May 2021, 14:15–15:45
Heta Tarkkala, Postdoctoral researcher, University of Helsinki
https://researchportal.helsinki.fi/en/persons/heta-tarkkala
Visual arts in the presentation of research results in qualitative social science – reflections on collaboration with an illustrator

Video recording of Ilpo Helén’s talk: What does sociotechnical imply?

We are excited to have been able to come back with the STS Helsinki seminar series after a hiatus this spring.

The new, now virtual programme was kicked off on 3 December with a talk by Ilpo Helén on the concept of sociotechnical. A video recording of the seminar is now available and will stay up until 18 December. If you missed the event as it happened, you can listen Helén’s talk on the University of Helsinki video service:

Ilpo Helén: What does sociotechnical imply? Conceptual fieldwork with a case of data mining in healthcare

Call for papers: Science, technology and society working group at The Annual Conference of the Westermarck Society

STS Helsinki will host the working group ‘Science, technology and society’ at The Annual conference of the Westermarck Society 2021 in Helsinki 11–12 March 2021. This year the theme of the conference is sociology of hope. Keynote speakers include Matthew Desmond and Akwugo Emejulu.

The conference will be organized partly online and partly on-campus in Helsinki, if possible. All working groups in the 2021 conference will take place online on Zoom.

Science, technology and society

Co-ordinators:

Marianne Mäkelin, University of Helsinki, marianne.makelin[at]helsinki.fi
Vera Raivola, University of Eastern Finland, vera.raivola[at]veripalvelu.fi
Jose A. Cañada, jose.a.canada[at]helsinki.fi

Science and Technology Studies (STS) is an interdisciplinary field of study that examines the interaction between society, science, and technology. STS pays attention to how different fields, such as law, politics, and everyday life, become intertwined with science and technology. This is relevant when thinking about heatedly debated topics as diverse as climate change, the role of experts, medicine, genetics, gender, robotics or organic food. The field calls for a deeper understanding of the development, processes, practices and outcomes of such social phenomena. STS explores the mechanisms behind knowledge claims and ontological assumptions that guide our everyday. Or, as a prominent STS scholar, Steve Woolgar, has said: STS looks at how the world defined by science and technology “could be otherwise”.

STS Helsinki calls for theoretical, methodological and empirical papers on current research in social studies of science. Papers both in Finnish and English are welcome. The aim of this working group is to offer a forum to discuss the practices that contribute to the shaping of technoscientific objects and subjects. How is scientific knowledge established and negotiated, and how do historical processes contribute to the development of certain technologies? We especially welcome papers that reflect on the role of hope in the field of STS. This working group is defined as a meeting point for both Finnish and international scholars to share and discuss their work with others studying science, technology and society.

Please apply to the working group by sending your abstract to the working group coordinators. The deadline is Friday 29th January 2021. The maximum length of abstracts is 300 words and they should be in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format. Deadline has been extended until 12 February!

STS Helsinki seminar series continues in December: Ilpo Helén

We are happy to continue our seminar series in December with a talk by Ilpo Helén:

3 December, 14:15–15:45
What does ”sociotechnical” imply? 
Conceptual fieldwork with a case of data mining in healthcare

Ilpo Helén’s talk is about a trend in many discussions of social sciences to replace “social” with “sociotechnical” both as the subject of study and as an attribute. He elaborates what “sociotechnical” as a concept possibly implies in the context of this tendency, with focus on Bruno Latour’s critique of sociological theory and his suggestion of ‘sociology of associations’. Finally, Helén asks how the idea of ‘sociotechnical’ and Latour’s ‘sociology of associations’ would work in an empirical study, using a case of datafication-in-the-making in healthcare as an illustrative example.

Ilpo Helén is a professor of sociology in University of Eastern Finland

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Topic: STS Helsinki Seminar Series // Ilpo Helén: What does ”sociotechnical” imply?
Time: Dec 3, 2020 02:15 PM Helsinki

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Local get-together EASST/4S Meeting 2020 in Helsinki

Dear all,

If you are a Finland-based researcher (or happen to be around during the time of the conference) attending the EASST/4S annual meeting between the 18th and the 21st of August, please keep reading. If you are not, remember that they offer a more economic “Non-presenter” registration that gives access to all the panels and sessions of the conference.

STS Helsinki and the Finnish Society for Science and Technology Studies organise the local F2F EASST/4S meeting get-together on Friday, 21st of August from 18 onwards, after Suplenary 1 “Locating matters”, which will take place via Zoom. For those in Helsinki (or visiting), the plan is to meet after the session in Kaisla (Vilhonkatu 4) to share some drinks and reflections on the conference. Participants in other Finnish cities are encouraged to organise parallel meetings!

Since organising a viewing session for the plenary seems unfeasible given the circumstances, some people (those who feel comfortable with it) might want to organise smaller groups to watch the plenary with some company. If you want to find others or help with the coordination of the get-together, please join our WhatsApp chat group.

Please be aware that the actual happening of the get-together depends, of course, on the recommendations and regulations of the Finnish government regarding the pandemic. We hope to get the chance of making the now virtual EASST/4S meeting a bit less virtual!

Best,

The coordinating team

Heta Tarkkala, Jose A. Cañada, and Minna Saariketo

Cancelled: Next STS Helsinki seminar Thu 19th March: Małgorzata Rajtar

Edit: This event has been cancelled.

Thu 19 March 14:15–15:45, Room 7, Metsätalo, Fabianinkatu 39.

Małgorzata Rajtar, associate Professor, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the Polish Academy of Sciences.
Health Passports and Vulnerability: The Case of Rare Diseases

Abstract:

Rare diseases have held a special status within health policy of the European Union (EU) since the 1990s. According to key EU legal documents on this issue, patients who suffer from a rare disease are entitled to the same good quality care as others. Due to the “low prevalence” of each rare disease and simultaneously the large total number of patients affected by them – between 27 and 36 million people in the EU – individuals who belong to this group are regarded as particularly vulnerable.

My aims in this presentation are twofold. First, I examine current notions of vulnerability prevalent in social sciences, bioethics as well as research ethics, specifically in regard to people living with rare diseases. Second, I analyze “instruments” developed by health policies that are tailored to rare diseases. By focusing on the so called “health passport”, I argue that such policies often increase the danger of paternalistic practices and may contribute to discrimination and stigmatizing.

 

Małgorzata Rajtar, PhD is Associate Professor and the Head of Rare Disease Social Research Center in the Institute of Philosophy & Sociology at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw (http://rdsrc.ifispan.pl/en/). She was a EURIAS Senior Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies in Finland (2018-2019) as well as an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the Freie University in Berlin, Germany (2011-2013) among others. Since 2016 she has been conducting ethnographic research on rare metabolic diseases in the Baltic Region.