Author Archives: Jose A. Cañada

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

Call for papers: “Science, technology and society” – working group at the Annual conference of the Westermarck Society, 2019

Our yearly working group at the Annual conference of the Westermarck Society (AKA Sosiologipäivät) is back. In 2019, the conference will be held under the theme “Various Faces of Inequalities” at the University of Turku, on 15-16.3.2018. The keynote speakers are: Göran Therborn (University of Cambridge), Melinda Mills (University of Oxford & Nuffield College), Giselinde Kuipers (University of Amsterdam), and Minna van Gerven (University of Twente). Find the abstract and the contact of the coordinators below. Abstract proposals should be sent to the coordinators by the 31st of January, 2019.

9. Science, technology and society

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, how a prominent STS scholar, Steve Woolgar, has said: look 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 historical processes contribute to the development of certain technologies? We also welcome papers discussing the specific topic of circulations. 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.

Coordinators:

Aaro Tupasela, University of Helsinki. Email: aaro.tupasela (at) helsinki.fi

Mikko Jauho, University of Helsinki. Email: mikko.jauho (at) helsinki.fi

New book: ‘Craft in Biomedical Research: The iPS Cell Technology and the Future of Stem Cell Science’ by Mianna Meskus

The STS Helsinki blog is happy to present and promote the recent publication of the book of one of our members, Associate Professor Mianna Meskus.

The book, titled ‘Craft in Biomedical Research: The iPS Cell Technology and the Future of Stem Cell Science’, tells us about the political and economic expectations placed upon stem cell research by exploring how iPS cell technology has made it possible to turn human skin and blood cells into pluripotent stem cells. These biotechnological advancements provide with unprecedented opportunities to study the pathophysiology of diseases, understand human developmental biology and generate new forms of therapy. Mianna Meskus approaches the topic by discussing non-human agency, the embodied and affective basis of knowledge production, and the material politics of science, developing the idea of an instrumentality-care continuum as a fundamental dynamic of biomedical craft. These three approaches serve as the main tools to discuss the form in which biology becomes technology by providing new perspectives to the commercialization and industrial-scale appropriation of human biology and, as a result, to the future of ethical biomedical research.

The book comes endorsed by Professor Charis Thompson, from the University of California at Berkeley, and Associate Professor Melinda Cooper, from the University of Sidney. About the book, Professor Thompson has highlighted the “extensive fieldwork” behind the book and that it “shows that as stem cells are becoming a highly versatile biological research tool, working with them continues to require demanding embodied skills and judgment, and dense political and affective engagement”. Associate Professor Melinda Cooper emphasises the central position of the notion of “‘craftwork’ at the heart of the laboratory” and the unpredictability of “the pathway from the lab to the clinic to the market” that only “high artisanal craftwork” can bridge.

The book is published by Palgrave Macmillan and can be bought and accessed by clicking here.

Open Position: Postdoctoral Researcher on Social Study of Microbes

University of Helsinki is looking to hire a POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER ON SOCIAL STUDY OF MICROBES for a three-year fixed term period from 3 September 2018 onwards (or as agreed).

Project

The postdoctoral researcher will be positioned in Sociology at University of Helsinki in a Finnish Academy funded research group studying Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in West Africa. The group is part of an interdisciplinary consortium of clinical researchers, microbiologists and sociologists studying the spread of AMR genes in the region that has extensive gaps in data regarding AMR. AMR has increased rapidly, especially in low income countries which lack controlled antibiotic policy, and have poor infrastructures enabling the flow of AMR genes between the environment, animals and humans. The study joins environmental, microbiological, sociological, and medical expertise to explore the evolving and transfer of AMR genes between water, soil, animals, food, and humans (“One Health approach”).

Available position

The sociological group wishes to recruit an enthusiastic postdoctoral researcher who is interested in developing social scientific research on microbes. The position will be in an exciting new group that is exploring the emerging field where microbes are given increasing attention through the study of microbiota, gut wellbeing, microbes’ role for mental health, etc. The postdoctoral position gives the right candidate an opportunity to explore microbes in the context of development: how are infrastructures, understandings of bacteria, social practices, antimicrobial resistance, and ecologies connected?

The ideal candidate will have a good understanding of medical anthropology, science and technology studies, and global health, and ideally have past experience of ethnographic work in relevant sub-fields such as, but not limited to, social study of international collaboration, emerging technologies in low income countries, pharmaceuticals, non-human subjects, or indeed, microbes.

The position entails ethnographic fieldwork in West Africa (in Burkina Faso, Mali and/or Benin) that is expected to last between six months to a year and to study people’s understandings of microbes, how antibiotics are used, and how people ‘live with microbes’ in these contexts. During the third year, the project will develop participatory videos (PV) through a participatory research process with the help of a PV team that the candidate can be part of making.

Candidate

The appointee must hold a doctoral degree in a relevant field of social sciences (sociology, science and technology studies, anthropology, development studies, gender studies, geography etc). Period following the completion of doctoral degree must not exceed five years, excluding family leave and equivalent periods of absence.

Moreover, the candidate is expected to have the ability to conduct independent ethnographic research. The candidate is expected to develop her/his own research on the topic and contribute to the joint research agenda.

Please see the full job description here https://www.helsinki.fi/en/open-positions/postdoctoral-reseacher-on-social-study-of-microbes

If you have any questions, please contact: salla.sariola@utu.fi

Sosiologipäivät 2018 työryhmän raportti

STS Helsinki piti viime vuoden tapaan työryhmän Sosiologipäivillä, jotka tänä vuonna järjestettiin Itä-Suomen yliopiston Joensuun kampuksella. Oheinen yhteenveto raportoi työryhmien ohjelman ja kertaa lyhyesti esitysten sisällön.

Työryhmä: Science, technology and society

Järjestäjät: Heta Tarkkala (ISY), Vera Raivola (ISY) & Karoliina Snell (HY)

Tieteen- ja teknologiantutkimuksen työryhmässä pidettiin yhteensä kymmenen esitystä torstain ja perjantain aikana. Työryhmän esitykset jakaantuivat sosiologiaa tieteenalana käsitteleviin aiheisiin ja toisaalta tiedettä, pääosin lääketiedettä, sen edellytysten järjestämistä, siihen kytkeytyviä käsitteitä ja käytäntöjä eri suunnista lähestyviin esityksiin. Jose Canada (HY) piti esityksen pian valmistuvaan väitöstutkimukseensa liittyen. Tutkimus tarkastelee, miten globaaleista terveysuhista ensinnäkin tulee uhkia ja toiseksi hallinnan ja strategioiden kohteita identifikaatio- ja kategorisointiprosesseissa, joihin kiinnittyy sekä inhimillisiä että ei-inhimillisiä toimijoita. Josen jälkeen Salla Sariola (TY) ja Elina Oinas (HY) jatkoivat esityksessään keskustelua inhimillisten ja ei-inhimillisten toimijoiden yhteiselosta meneillään olevassa rokotetutkimuksessa Beninissä. Ripulia ja tätä kautta antibioottiresistenssiä ehkäisevään rokotetutkimukseen osallistuvat suomalaisturistit konkreettisesti elävät erilaisin tavoin suhteessa ympäristöönsä, sen mikrobeihin ja bakteereihin. Seuraavana oli Venla Oikkosen (HY) esitys rokotteisiin liittyvästä narkolepsiasta. Se, mikä ja millainen asia rokotteisiin liittyvä narkolepsia on, määrittyy eri tavoin esimerkiksi tilastoissa, tieteen kentällä ja mediassa. Torstain session jälkipuolisko oli varattu sosiologiaa tieteenalana tutkiville aiheille. Mikko Hyyryläinen (HY) kysyi esityksessään, millaista sosiologiaa kognitiivinen sosiologia on ja mitä se voisi olla? Johanna Hokka (TaY) jatkoi keskustelua sosiologian tieteenharjoittamisesta esittelemällä tutkimustaan alan professoreiden diskursseista näiden neuvotellessa suhdettaan huippututkimukseen ja sen mittareiden legitimiteettiin.

Perjantain avasi Vera Raviola (ISY), joka pohti, miten biopankkiosallistuminen uuteen Veripalvelun biopankkiin jäsentyy sen tapahtuessa osana aiemmin tuttua verenluovutusta ja roolia verenluovuttajana. Tästä jatkoi Annerose Böhrer (FAU) esittelemällä, kuinka hän hyödynsi metafora-analyysia tutkimuksessaan elinluovutuskeskustelusta Saksassa.  Tärkeään rooliin nousi elinsiirtokortti niin konkreettisena esineenä kuin ajattelun välineenä. Mikko Jauho (HY) pohti esityksessään, miten rasva ja kolesteroli figuroivat riskiobjekteina sydän-ja verisuonitautien syy- ja seuraussuhteissa. Kyse ei ole vain pahoista rasvoista. Riikka Homasen (HY) esitys käsitteli heteronormatiivisen perhekäsityksen sekä valkoisuuden suojaamiseen liittyvien oletusten vaikutusta lesboparien sekä sinkkunaisten hedelmöityshoidoissa, vaikka lisääntymisteknologiat samalla jatkuvasti kyseenalaistavat perhemuotoihin liittyvät normit. Työryhmän viimeisessä esityksessä Karoliina Snell (HY) ja Heta Tarkkala (ISY) käsittelivät Pohjoismaisia, sekä kansallisia että yhteisiä strategioita terveysdatan hyödyntämisen edistämiseksi. Pohjoismainen väestötieto on identifioitu ainutlaatuiseksi ”kultakaivokseksi” ja esityksessä kysyttiinkin, mitä kaikkea tämä kulta oikeastaan on ja mitä sitä kaivamalla saadaan aikaan.

Sociology Days 2018 Working Group Report

As we have previously mentioned in this blog, the STS Helsinki group organized for the second consecutive year a working group in the annual conference Sociology Days, which this year took place in the University of Eastern Finland, in the Joensuu campus. We are happy to bring you the report of our two sessions with a small summary of all of our very interesting presentations. Looking forward to organizing it again next year!

Working group: Science, technology and society

Organizers: Heta Tarkkala (University of Eastern Finland), Vera Raivola (University of Eastern Finland) and Karoliina Snell (University of Helsinki)

The working group ’Science, technology and society’ had in total ten presentations during two sessions organized on Thursday, 15th and Friday, 16th of March. The presentations discussed a variety of topics related to sociology related topics and other disciplines, mostly to medical science. First, Jose Cañada (University of Helsinki) had a presentation about his doctoral dissertation. The study focuses on how global health threats are conceptualized and how, for the sake of governance strategies, there are identification and categorization processes, which are connected to human and nonhuman actors. Salla Sariola (University of Turku) and Elina Oinas (University of Helsinki) continued the conversation about human and nonhuman actors from cooperative initiatives connected to vaccination research in Benin. Vaccines help to prevent diarrhea and antibiotic resistance. Finnish tourists experience their relation with the environment, microbes and bacteria in very concrete and different ways. Next presentation, by Venla Oikkonen (University of Helsinki), discussed the connection between Influenza vaccines and narcolepsy. What and how that connection is articulated differs in, for example, statistics, science or the media. The second half of the Thursday session was reserved to discussions related to the study of sociology as a discipline. Mikko Hyyryläinen (University of Helsinki) discussed the building of cognitive sociology as a sub-field of study inside sociology. More concretely, he discussed what the field is at the moment and what it could yet become. In the last presentation of the first day, Johanna Hokka (University of Tampere) continued the conversation about the scientific practice of sociology by discussing professor discourses on high quality research and measurements of legitimacy.

Friday opened with Vera Raivola (University of Eastern Finland), who pondered how participation in the new biobank of the Finnish blood services (Veripalvelu) is understood as part of the wider practice of blood donation and the role of blood donors. Annerose Böhrer (Friedrich-Alexander University, Erlangen Nürnberg) continued by presenting how she utilized metaphor analysis in her research on organ donation in Germany. One of the most important points was the role of the organ donor card, which worked as a material and discursive object. Mikko Jauho (University of Helsinki) discussed in his presentation how fat and cholesterol figured as a double risk object in the cardiovascular arena. The presentation of Riikka Homanen (University of Helsinki) discussed heteronormativity in relation to understandings of family. The presentation discussed this in the context of reproductive care sought by lesbian couples and single women. Karoliina Snell (University of Helsinki) and Heta Tarkkala (University of Eastern Finland) gave the last presentation of the working group. It discussed Nordic and national collaboration strategies for the exploitation and development of health data. Nordic populations are identified as a ‘gold mine’ and the presentation wondered what this gold actually is and what we can get from digging it.

Osallistu työryhmään ‘Science, Technology and Society’ Sosiologipäivillä 2018!

Westermarck-seuran vuosittaiset Sosiologipäivät ovat jälleen käsillä. Kuluvana vuonna Itä-Suomen Yliopisto järjestää konferenssin Joensuun kampuksella 15.-16.3.

Viime vuoden tapaan STS Helsinki organisoi päiville työryhmän, jonka tavoitteena on yhdistää tieteen ja teknologian tutkijoita niin Suomesta kuin ulkomailtakin.

Kaksipäiväinen työryhmä “science, technology and society” sisältää kiinnostavia esityksiä, jotka saavat varmasti aikaan hyvää keskustelua.

Aikataulu:

Torstai 15.3. klo 15.45-18.15 Natura N101

  1. Jose Canada: More-than-human intersectionality: understanding categorization, indentification and boundary-making during pandemic processes
  2. Salla Sariola & Elina Oinas: Living-with microbes in the era of antimicrobial resistance
  3. Venla Oikkonen: Pandemic vaccination, vaccine harm and the politics of futurity
  4. Mikko Hyyryläinen: Kulttuurin ja kognition sosiologia – mielen sosiologiaa vai kognitiivista sosiologiaa?
  5. Johanna Hokka: Sociology, Science Policy Ideals on ’Excellence’ and the symbolic struggles over legitimate science – Finnish and Swedish Sociology as a case in point

Perjantai 16.3. klo 9.00-11.30 Natura N104

  1. Vera Raivola: Making sense of a blood bank biobank
  2. Annerose Böhrer: Metaphors in organ transplantation and the role of donor cards
  3. Mikko Jauho: Structuring the Cardiovascular Health Arena – the Double Risk Object of Dietary Fat and Cholesterol
  4. Riikka Homanen: Hetero- ja parinormitonta sukulaisuutta tekemässä? Itselliset naiset ja naisparit yksityisissä hedelmöityshoidoissa
  5. Karolina Snell & Heta Tarkkala: Goldmining Nordic population(s) – data, health and policy

Työryhmän koordinaattorit ovat Heta Tarkkala, Itä Suomen Yliopisto/Helsingin Yliopisto, (heta.tarkkala@uef.fi), Karoliina Snell, Helsingin Yliopisto (karoliina.snell@helsinki.fi), ja Vera Raivola, Itä-Suomen Yliopisto/Helsingin Yliopisto (vera.raivola@student.uef.fi).

Koordinattorit vastaavat kaikkiin työryhmää koskeviin kysymyksiin.

Tervetuloa!

Do not miss our Workshop ‘Science, Technology and Society’ at the upcoming Sociology Days!

Time has arrived for Sosiologipäivät 2018, the annual conference of The Westermarck Society. This year, the conference is organized at the University of Eastern Finland, in the Joensuu campus, on the 15th and the 16th of March. As last year, members of the STS Helsinki network organize a workshop that has as an objective to bring together researchers across Finland who have an interest in science and technology, as well as from other countries. This year we have a very exciting list of presentations, so consider coming even if you do not have one. As last year, we are hoping for very exciting conversations to take place.

Timetable:

Thursday 15.3; 15.45-18.15; room Natura N101

  1. Jose Cañada: More-than-human intersectionality: understanding categorization, indentification and boundary-making during pandemic processes
  2. Salla Sariola & Elina Oinas: Living-with microbes in the era of antimicrobial resistance
  3. Venla Oikkonen: Pandemic vaccination, vaccine harm and the politics of futurity
  4. Mikko Hyyryläinen: Kulttuurin ja kognition sosiologia – mielen sosiologiaa vai kognitiivista sosiologiaa?
  5. Johanna Hokka: Sociology, Science Policy Ideals on ’Excellence’ and the symbolic struggles over legitimate science – Finnish and Swedish Sociology as a case in point

Friday 16.3; 9.00-11.30; room Natura N104

  1. Vera Raivola: Making sense of a blood bank biobank
  2. Annerose Böhrer: Metaphors in organ transplantation and the role of donor cards
  3. Mikko Jauho: Structuring the Cardiovascular Health Arena – the Double Risk Object of Dietary Fat and Cholesterol
  4. Riikka Homanen: Hetero- ja parinormitonta sukulaisuutta tekemässä? Itselliset naiset ja naisparit yksityisissä hedelmöityshoidoissa
  5. Karolina Snell & Heta Tarkkala: Goldmining Nordic population(s) – data, health and policy

The workshop has been organized and will be chaired by Heta Tarkkala, University of Eastern Finland/University of Helsinki (heta.tarkkala@uef.fi), Karoliina Snell, University of Helsinki (karoliina.snell@helsinki.fi), and Vera Raivola University of Eastern Finland (vera.raivola@student.uef.fi). Please get in touch with them if you have any questions about the session.

Greetings from our Sosiologipäivät STS -working group (23-24.3.2017)

Around three months ago, we published a call for papers for the “Science, technology and society” working group that the STS Helsinki group organized at the Annual Conference of the Westermarck Society, more commonly known as Sosiologipäivät (Sociology Days in Finnish). We were happy to receive quite many abstracts, which resulted in two very fruitful and intense sessions with a total of 17 presentations taking place during the 23rd and 24th of March at the University of Tampere.

We divided our working group into five smaller thematic sessions.

Session 1: ANT and technology

Elina Paju, Minna Ruckenstein and Päivi Berg explored in their paper children’s physical activity as an issue of neoliberal government through the products of ReimaGo activity sensor for kids and the Pokemon GO game. Mervi Jalonen focused on the notion of experiment in an innovation-based society, discussing various examples of experiments aimed to facilitate sustainability transitions. Meanwhile Oskari Lappalainen presented ongoing work on the development of personal data economy through the social movement called MyData.

Session 2: Fertility and reproduction

Elina Helosvuori discussed her ethnographic study on infertility, deploying the notion of excess to grasp the personal experiences generated through IVF. Riikka Homanen turned the focus on transnational egg donation where enacting Nordicness, whiteness and kinness is at play. Lise Eriksson presented a paper on surrogacy and uterus transplantation from the point of view of medical knowledge production.

Session 3: Social research, impact and policy

Reetta Muhonen presented a project tracking research in social sciences and humanities with a practical side by following projects from different sites in Europe. Kamilla Karhunmaa talked about energy policy and different expectations in the field in the Finnish context. Juha-Pekka Lauronen discussed how social research’s impact in society is understood among policymakers, researchers and science administrators. Johanna Hokka introduced research on orthodox definitions of sociology among Finnish and Swedish professors.

Session 4: Knowledge production

Salla Sariola’s presentation discussed the governance of international clinical trials in India, showing how civil society activists managed to negotiate changes in the regulations guiding them. Minna Ruckenstein analysed breakages and gaps in data and the practices of repair involved in using such data for research. Annika Lonkila’s theme was the use and non-use of genomic knowledge on dairy farms, specifically the practices involved in the selection of animals for breeding. Anuradha Nayak presented the case of cryo-preserved life and the legal problems regarding the status and ownership of the preserved ‘material’.

Session 5: Genes and molecular life

Mianna Meskus, explored craftsmanship as a way to describe the use of cutting-edge biotechnology in the field of stem cell research. Secondly, Heta Tarkkala introduced her work on the Finnish biobanking scene, in which genetic uniqueness and difference appear as sources of value for the use of Finnish samples in international biological research. Finally, our last presentation had Venla Oikkonen present some ideas related to how genomes and DNA relate to temporality, belonging and nostalgia.

Finally, we were happy to see that so many scholars with such varied topics, but still many common interests, came together and shared ideas. Hopefully, this was only the first of many other encounters to come in which the STS community in Finland starts to take shape. We would like to especially thank all the presenters for their work and willingness to participate. See you all next year!

Join the the Finnish Reproductive Studies Network (FireSNet)

The Finnish Reproductive Studies Network (FireSNet) brings together scholars from fields of social and political sciences, humanities, law, health sciences and medicine exploring reproduction not merely as physical birth but more broadly as an agent of bodily, biological, viral, sexual and cultural transformation. The common commitment of the researchers in the network is to inquire into the historical and current complexities of reproductive practices and policies. This commitment on reproduction studies derivers from women’s health movements and a long scholarly interest in developing a toolkit to grasp sociotechnical webs that constitute reproductive practice. In short, studies on reproduction not only show how perceptions and practices of reproduction are multiple and contested, but also how questions of power relations, resources, skills, suffering, hope, meaning, and lives are always at stake.

The Finnish Reproductive Studies Network is founded on the need to establish a common discussion forum for scholars scattered in different higher education institutions in Finland, looking at reproduction from various perspectives. The purpose of the network is to support, develop and inspire different collaborative efforts in research and teaching. We will be arranging seminars with international speakers, workshops, and provide a platform for joint funding applications. The network will also distribute research publications authored by its members. The network also has an email list, FiReSNet@uta.fi.

The network invites scholars from all career stages exploring the following questions and more: How does reproduction matter in social life and society? How are our futures, origins, selves and kin organized by societal and institutional power relations? What are the changing conditions for reproductive freedom and justice, and for whom? How are gendered, racialized, sexed and classed human and non-human bodies, body parts and tissue reproduced, commodified, transported, governed and cared for in local and transnational spaces?

The network launch meeting with members from Finland is planned to take place November 17, 2017.

The network is organized by Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher Dr. Riikka Homanen from the University of Tampere and Academy Research Fellow Dr. Mianna Meskus from the University of Helsinki.

If you would like to join the network and the email list, please contact Riikka Homanen, Riikka.Homanen@uta.fi or Mianna Meskus, Mianna.Meskus@helsinki.fi. Also please feel free to distribute this call for members in your own networks.