Category Archives: events

STS Helsinki seminar 10.2. Salla Sariola: Social study of microbes: fermentation as a method of doing STS otherwise

Welcome to the STS Helsinki seminar series’ first talk of the spring, held by Salla Sariola on 10th February at 14:15 EET.

Social study of microbes: fermentation as a method of doing STS otherwise

Salla Sariola is the Director of the Centre for the Social Study of Microbes at University of Helsinki and a Finnish Academy Research Fellow in sociology. Her current research on the social study of microbes includes exploring changing scientific practices on environmental microbes and antimicrobial resistance and well as developing fermentation as an experimental research method. She is the author of four books and her fieldwork has taken her to feminist, queer and HIV activist movements in India and Kenya, hospitals of Sri Lanka, and rural laboratories in Benin and Burkina Faso, as well as fermentation enthusiasts in Finland the Northeast of India.

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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


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


Meeting ID: 667 2846 9489

Passcode: 313016


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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
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
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
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
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


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

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

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

Meeting ID: 623 2743 8269
Passcode: 170980
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