Author Archives: Heta Tarkkala

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.

 

STS Courses at the University of Helsinki

During the Spring 2020 following Science & Technology Studies related courses are offered for the students (the list will be updated!):

  • The Politics of Environmental Knowledge course gives students knowledge and tools to critically evaluate the role of science and scientific knowledge in understanding environmental problems and creating solutions for them. Students will be able to apply the theoretical concepts from science and technology studies (STS) to the analysis of historical and current environmental issues.
  • Imagination in Environmental Politics course supplies the students with skills to critically review existing conceptual categorizations and conceptualizations of the future within the field of environmental politics (theoretical aspect); critically apply these categorizations and conceptualizations in relation to specific empirical cases (empirical aspect); and critically assess and evaluate existing future-oriented narration of different kinds and registers (methodological aspect).
  • Analytical approaches to human environmental interaction course gives students the skills to conduct critical interdisciplinary analyses of problems arising in interactions between technology, society and the environment. They can propose theoretically sound, evidence based and sustainable solutions to complex environmental problems. They have the communication skills to convincingly present the solutions to the relevant stakeholders. They are mentally prepared to take on professional challenges in environmental policy analysis, planning, decision-making, implementation and assessment.
  • There are book exams organized in Technology Studies , in Science Studies and in Environment, Technology and Culture. Moreover,  TOTEMI is an ongoing PhD seminar.

 

PAST COURSES (Fall 2019):

  • Science in Society course for doctoral students aims at developing participants’ understanding about how science and scientific experts(/expertise) influence and relate to society and its institutions. the course also provides an opportunity to reflect upon the participants’ own developing expertise in their fields of study.
  • Science Studies course for Master’s and Doctoral Students has two objectives. First, to become familiar with the main streams of thought in STS, the most important authors, situate them in their historical context, and understand how they relate to each other. And second, to be able to discuss different STS approaches in light of their different critiques and relate them to contemporary debates in the field.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Society course introduces students to current discussions, debates, as well as developments in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) from a social scientific perspective. The course will also provide the students with an overview of political, legal and ethical debates surrounding the development of AI.

Call for papers: The Rise of AI Society

THE RISE OF AI SOCIETY

MID-TERM WORKSHOP ORGANIZED BY RN24 (SOCIOLOGY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY NETWORK) OF THE EUROPEAN SOCIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION

MAY 28-29 2020; HELSINKI, FINLAND

During the past few years, numerous countries and organizations have published dozens of policies and strategies regarding the development of artificial intelligence. The permeation of AI, machine learning and algorithmic thinking into an increasing number of facets of everyday life, from banking and medicine to transportation and law suggests that AI is becoming increasingly ubiquitous in society. For science and technology studies (STS) this provides a unique opportunity to study and understand social and technological change.  Not least since the development of AI touches upon so many of the central themes within STS.

This workshop invites presentations which examine the rise of AI in society and the consequences that is has in everyday life. Possible topics for presentation topics may include, but is not limited to:

  • AI and governance
  • Algorithmic culture
  • AI and privacy/surveillance
  • AI in different professions such as healthcare, law, and transportation
  • The design of AI systems
  • AI at home
  • Restructuring of activities for the application of AI, for example in a workplace
  • The role of AI in organizational change
  • Implications of AI in knowledge production
  • Methodological approaches to study AI

We invite contributions from researchers at all stages of the academic career, but we particularly encourage early career researchers to submit abstracts. Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words.

Keynote speakers:

Ilpo Helén (University of Eastern Finland): What do algorithms do? An approach for a sociology of datafication of health care.

Francis Lee (Uppsala University): The Politics of Algorithms: The Challenge of AI, Big Data and Digitalization for Social Inquiry

Abstract submission deadline is January 20, 2020.  Abstracts should be submitted to aaro.tupasela@helsinki.fi.

For further information please contact Aaro Tupasela (aaro.tupasela@helsinki.fi) or Heta Tarkkala (heta.tarkkala@helsinki.fi)

CFP: Materiality, Science, and Technology – Reflections on Time

Call for papers for a panel at the “On Time: Biennial Conference of the Finnish Anthropological Society 2019”:

Materiality, science, and technology – reflections on time

Temporalities, temporal orientations and time are inseparable, but often underanalysed, part of the study of materiality and matter. During the anthropocene, human impact over time on matter is undeniable, and yet but one example of the ways in which politics, ethics and matter intersect. The panel focuses on materiality, the liveliness of matter, that cannot be understood without the effects of time: how connections, infrastructures, or timescapes are shifting, and being shifted in science and technology. In the study of materiality, the knowledge that is produced about the time/matter nexus, and ‘how we know what we know’ is often the focal point of inquiries, which opens up intriguing possibilities for what we want to address and discuss in this panel. Recent discussions have addressed expectations, anticipations, future imaginaries, potentiality and temporalities; how these notions relate to the materialities encountered and engaged within our fieldworks will be discussed in this panel. We encourage presentations paying attention to materialities and temporalities, cycles as well as futures and pasts, in knowledge making practices, and the time and materiality that present themselves in the knowledge making we ourselves do as ethnographers. We welcome papers that present and discuss either empirical cases of material vitality (for example, but not limited to, changing views of microbes, decaying research infrastructures, politics around stem cells, loops in archeogenetic knowledge, paradigm shifts in knowledge etc) or reflect methodologically or theoretically the topic and scope of this panel.

Panel conveners:
Salla Sariola, University of Helsinki. salla.sariola[a]helsinki.fi
Heta Tarkkala, University of Helsinki. heta.tarkkala[a]helsinki.fi

The proposals should comprise abstracts of 250–300 words and be submitted directly to the panel convenors. Please include your university affiliation and contact information when submitting the proposal.

Deadline for paper proposals: April 1st, 2019. Acceptance notifications will be sent by April 15th, 2019.

The website for “On Time: Biennial Conference of the Finnish Anthropological Society 2019” can be found at:

http://www.antropologinenseura.fi/en/events/anthropology-conference-2019/

And the full call for papers at:

http://www.antropologinenseura.fi/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Call-for-papers.pdf

The Finnish Anthropological Society Conference is organised in co-operation with the discipline of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki and the Finnish Literature Society. The keynote speaker of the conference is Ghassan Hage, and the 2019 Edvard Westermarck memorial lecture will be given by Laura Bear on the eve of the conference (August 28). General inquiries regarding the conference can be addressed to timeFAS2019@gmail.com.

 

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

The Annual conference of the Westermarck Society  will be held under the theme “Circulations” at the University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu campus, on 15-16.3.2018. The keynote speakers are: Amade M’charek (University of Amsterdam), Ruben Andersson (University of Oxford), Mianna Meskus (University of Helsinki) and Maria Åkerman (VTT). STS Helsinki is hosting its own working group and announces call for papers:

 

18. 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.

__________________________________________

Submit your abstract directly to the working group coordinator. The descriptions of the working groups and contact information of the coordinators can be found at www.sosiologipaivat.fi.

The final deadline for the abstracts is Monday 22.1.2018. The length of the abstract is max. 300 words and it should be in .doc, .dox or in .rtf-format.

 

!!! UPDATE: CALL EXTENDED TO 2.2.2018 !!!

 

On behalf of STS Helsinki the coordinator is: Heta Tarkkala  (heta.tarkkala@uef.fi)

Experimentation and Evidence – Symposium next week in Helsinki

8-9.6.2017 an “Experimentation and Evidence” -symposium is going to take place at The House of Science and Letters (Kirkkokatu 6) in Helsinki. It is organized by  The Finnish Society for Science and Technology and The Finnish Association for Medical Law and Ethics. The symposium aims at examining the ontological, epistemological and practical issues in the process of creating, validating, and revisioning knowledge.

On thursday 8th of June at 12:30 the keynotes are:

Professor Barbara Prainsack (King’s College London): Harder, better,       faster? Evidence in citizen science

Professor Ilpo Helén (University of Eastern Finland): Innovation and experimentality: Remarks on a configuration of science and politics

And on friday 8th of June at 12:15 the keynotes are:

Professor Michael Guggenheim (Goldsmiths, University of London): Making STS experimental: Evidencing the future of risk

Comment by Associate Professor Eeva Luhtakallio (University of Tampere)

Please see the full program at: http://www.fssts.fi/index.php?page=news-2

Avoimia kysymyksiä tulevaisuuden terveydestä ja yhteiskunnasta

Kliininen päätöksenteko perustuu tutkittuun tietoon. Tiedon tarkentuessa sairausluokitukset tulevat paremmiksi, diagnostiikka ja hoitotulokset paranevat ja potilaat hyötyvät. Myös lääkeaineiden aiheuttamat haitat vähenevät. Potilaan autonomia kasvaa, kun palvelut ottavat paremmin yksilön tarpeet huomioon. Koko terveydenhuoltojärjestelmä sekä tehostuu että tulee vaikuttavammaksi. Ennaltaehkäisevät toimet voidaan kohdistaa niihin, jotka todella hyötyvät niistä. Kansalaisten ymmärrys genetiikasta ja terveydestä parantuu, jolloin he pystyvät huolehtimaan itsestään entistä paremmin. Ja lista jatkuu…

Yllä olevan kappaleen lupaukset on poimittu brittiläisen terveysalan think-thankin  PHG Foundation huhtikuussa 2017 julkaisemasta raportista ”Personalised healthcare: bringing the future into focus”. Raportissa esitetään tulevaisuudennäkymiä siitä, mitä henkilökohtainen lääketiede oikeastaan tulee tarkoittamaan. Lisäksi raportissa nostetaan esille, mitä eettisiä ja yhteiskunnallisia kysymyksiä terveydenhuollon mahdollisesti radikaaliinkin muutokseen liittyy.  Tässä merkinnässä nostan esiin joitakin niistä huolista ja kysymyksistä, jotka tulevat samassa paketissa lupausten kanssa. Kirjoitus perustuu raportin sisältöön.

On tärkeää muistaa, että tiede etenee hitaasti ja uusi tieto on aina osittaista ja rajallista. Uuden tiedon vieminen potilaiden hoitoon ja terveydenhoitojärjestelmään hyödyllisellä tavalla tulee jatkossakin olemaan haastavaa. Edes terveydenhuoltohenkilökunnan ymmärtämys ja tietämys aiheesta ei kenties aina ole riittävällä tasolla. Genetiikkaan ja genomiikkaan liittyvä lukutaito onkin keskeinen haaste koko yhteiskunnalle.

”Personalised Healtcare” -raportissa huomautetaan, että on mahdollista, ettei genomitieto voimaannuta kansalaisia tai tee heistä yhtään enempää valmiita ottamaan suurempaa vastuuta omasta terveydestään. Muutenkaan ei ole aivan selvää, miten visio perimää koskevan tiedon lisääntyvästä käytöstä terveydenhuollossa ja sairaanhoidossa oikeasti vaikuttaa ihmisten terveyttä koskeviin asenteisiin. Voiko tiedon liian suuri määrä johtaa vain välinpitämättömyyteen? Tietoon ja dataan keskittyminen voi myös johtaa siihen, että hoito, hoiva ja ihmisen yksilöllinen kohtaaminen sekä kuuntelu sivuutetaan, kun ihminen näyttäytyy vain terveysdatansa summana. Toisaalta pelkona on, että lisääntyvän tiedon kautta luodaan suuri joukko terveydestään erittäin huolestuneita tai ahdistuneita kansalaisia, joilla ei todellisuudessa ole minkäänlaista akuuttia terveysongelmaa. Ylipäätään ero terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin välillä voi hämärtyä, mikä voi luoda jälleen uusia palvelutarpeita.

Iso potentiaalinen haaste on sekin, minkälaisia yhteyksiä tulevaisuudessa mahdollisesti luodaan geneettisten riskitekijöiden, sosiaalisen vastuun ja perheen perustamisen välille. Johtaako perimää koskevan tiedon lisääntyminen pahimmillaan hedelmällisessä iässä olevien naisten elintapojen ja terveyden entistä tarkempaan kontrolloimiseen? Samoin perhe- ja sukulaissuhteisiin terveyden ja perimän kysymyksillä on vaikutusta. Terveydenhuollon perusteiden mahdollinen radikaali muutos voi myös muilta osin merkittävästi vaikuttaa siihen, miten jatkossa ymmärrämme toisaalta sosiaalisen ja toisaalta yksilön oman vastuun suhteessa terveyteen. Huolena on, lisääntyvätkö epätasa-arvo ja ihmisten syrjintä – eli kääntäen esiin nousee kysymys siitä, ketkä konkreettisesti hyötyvät geenitiedosta ja keitä nämä lääketieteen uudet lupaukset koskevat?

Hallinnon ja palvelujärjestelmän kannalta haasteena on löytää parhaat toimintatavat. Uhkana on  järjestelmän tehottomuus ja liiallinen monimutkaisuus. Raportin mukaan usein nojataan liikaa ajatuksiin innovaatioista palveluihin keskittymisen sijaan. Toisaalta juuri lisääntyvä yhteistyö julkisen ja yksityisen samoin kuin hoidon ja tutkimuksen välillä, nähdään oleellisina osina henkilökohtaisen lääketieteen toteutumista.

Lopulta kysymys on myös siitä, kuinka tuleva terveydenhuoltojärjestelmä kykenee vastaamaan yhä enemmän omasta hoidostaan vastuuta ottavien yksilöiden odotuksiin ja toiveisiin. On ratkaistava, millaisten palvelujen kautta vastataan toisaalta ihmisten haluihin ja odotuksiin, ja toisaalta ihmisten tarpeisiin. Tullaanko potilaita esimerkiksi ylidiagnosoimaan? Odotetaanko meidän kaikkien kykenevän jatkossa toimimaan oman terveytemme ja hyvinvointimme projektipäällikköinä, olemaan yhä enemmän vastuussa omasta terveydestämme, ja yhä lukutaitoisempina geenitietomme suhteen?

Call for Papers and Panel Proposals for the Nordic STS Conference

Third Nordic Science and Technology Studies Conference

May 31-June 2, 2017, University of Gothenburg

 

The field of science and technology studies (STS) has grown rapidly in the Nordic countries and the purpose of the biannual Nordic STS conference is to stimulate scientific exchanges among STS scholars by providing a regional forum for presenting on-going work and initiating informal dialogues. At the third Nordic STS conference the keynote speakers are: David Demortain, INRA, Ulrike Felt, University of Vienna and Helen Verran, Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University.

The initiative of organizing the first Nordic STS conference in 2013, coincided with an effort to create a Nordic STS network by strengthening intellectual ties between existing national networks. It was organized by the Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture/TIK, at the University of Oslo and the Department for Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture/KULT at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, The second Nordic STS conference took place in 2015 and was organized by the Techno-Anthropology Research Group at Aalborg University in collaboration with the Danish Association for Science and Technology Studies (DASTS). The third conference is going to take place in Gothenburg, 2017.

The scientific committee and the organizing committee of the Nordic STS conference are now opening up a call for papers and panels for the third Nordic STS conference. Paper proposals should be no longer than 300 words and contain name(s) and institutional affiliation(s) of the author(s). Proposal for thematic panels (3-4 papers) should be short (no longer than 300 words) and contain a brief description of the theme, names and institutional affiliations of the presenters and organisers, and suggestions for papers (title and authors) to be included in the panel (abstract for the papers suggested to be included in the panels are submitted separately). Panels that include scholars from more than one Nordic country are particularly encouraged. The organizing committee can help in identifying potential participants from other Nordic countries (contact: STS2017@gu.se).

Abstracts for papers and panels should be submitted no later than 1 March 2017. Accepted panels and papers will be notified no later than 1 April. Proposals for panels and papers should be sent to: STS2017@gu.se

 The conference is organized by the Department of Sociology and Work Science and Theory of Science at the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg.

 

Scientific committee:

Kristin Asdal, University of Oslo

C-F Helgesson, University of Linköping

Sampsa Hyysalo, Aalto University

Christopher Gad, IT-University of Copenhagen

 

Organizing committee:

Linda Soneryd, University of Gothenburg

Johan Söderberg, University of Gothenburg

Doris Lydahl, University of Gothenburg

  For more information about the conference, see the conference webpage which is updated continously: http://socav.gu.se/english/research/third-nordic-science-and-technology-studies-conference

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

The Annual conference of the Westermarck Society will be held under the theme “Excess and Owerflows” at the University of Tampere on 23.-24.3.2017. The keynote speakers are: prof. Christian Borch (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark), prof. Sarah Green (University of Helsinki, Finland), prof. Annemarie Mol (University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and prof. Iddo Tavory (New York University, USA).

STS Helsinki is hosting its own working group and announces call for papers:

Working group 29. Science, technology and society

Coordinators: On behalf of the STS-Helsinki group at the University of Helsinki: Jose A. Cañada, Lotta Hautamäki, Mikko Jauho and Mianna Meskus. Please direct possible inquiries to lotta.hautamaki@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 becomes especially 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 phenomena through problematizing them as social phenomena. In the process, STS explores the mechanisms behind knowledge claims and ontological assumptions that guide our everyday. Or, how one of the most prominent STS scholars, Steve Woolgar, has said in a rather provocative way: 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 social phenomena at the crossroads between science, technology and society: how is scientific knowledge established and negotiated? How do historical processes contribute to the establishment of certain fields of study or to the development of certain technologies? What are the practices that contribute to the shaping of technoscientific objects and subjects? We also welcome papers discussing the specific topic of excess and surplus. But beyond more specific pressing questions, 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.

The abstract should be sent using Lyyti. (Note that once you are on Lyyti, you can change the language from the upper left corner of the page).

 

Call for Papers: “Expertise and its tensions” – A Special issue of Science & Technology Studies.

Contemporary societies are permeated by, and depend on, various types of expertise. Expertise is also commonly contested in various domains, such as environment, health, medicine and economics. Debates on expertise commonly involve struggles over propositional power as well as epistemic authority. These struggles might be about relations between lay and expert knowledges, but they might also emerge betwixt scientific experts, or among other forms of expertise and ways of knowing. Furthermore, inter- or multidisciplinary endeavors create tensions as scientific experts from various fields need to fit together their approaches.

Articles can relate to any aspect of expertise, targeting, for example, to any of the three pre-established topics groups: 1) expansion of expertise in the public domain, 2) multidisciplinary expertise and its tensions, 3) experts, politics and policy.

We welcome but do not restrict the scope of articles, on following topics:

  • Emergence of multiple expertise around distinct phenomena
  • Multidisciplinary expertise and tacit knowledge
  • Expertise and wicked problems
  • Expertise, law and regulation
  • Socio-materiality of expertise
  • The place of expertise in social services
  • Trust in science and/or think tanks
  • Science-policy dynamics
  • Triple helix
  • Expansion of expertise in the public domain
  • Social media  and expertise
  • Personal values, stances, and expert knowledge
  • Expertise of risk
  • Experience based expertise
  • Politically and economically motivated dissent in science
  • Public questioning of medical expertise
  • NGO’s as policy experts
  • Participatory expertise
  • Contingency of the boundaries of public expertise
  • How information systems and databases affect medical expertise
  • Big data and expertise
  • Tensions in the multi-disciplinary expertise
  • The interfaces of expertise
  • Semantic difference and loss of context in multidisciplinary scientific work
  • Emotional tensions in multi-, inter-, and trans-disciplinary interaction
  • Multiple ontologies and professional languages
  • Scientific misconduct
  • Total quality management of expertise
  • The efficiency of expertise

The guest-editors of this special issue of Science and Technology Studies are: Steven Yearley, Maria Åkerman, Otto Auranen, Harley Bergroth, Ismo Kantola, Sampsa Saikkonen, Jaakko Taipale.

Papers to be submitted should not be published or under review elsewhere. All submissions will be peer-reviewed according to Science & Technology Studies guidelines and procedures. For further manuscript guidelines, please see ‘manuscript submissions’ on Science & Technology Studies website (www.sciencetechnologystudies.org).

Deadline for manuscript submissions is 15th of February 2017.

For further information, please contact Ismo Kantola.