Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Call for papers: A moment of post-truth - What are the implications for STS?

CfP: A Moment of Post-Truth - What are the Implications for STS?

Special issue for Engaging Science, Technology and Society

Special Issue Editors: Johan Söderberg (Gothenburg, Sweden) & Kean Birch (York, Canada)

Invited discussant: Linsey McGoey (Essex, UK)

The surge of post-truth, alternative facts, and filter bubbles have turned the table on STS discussions about knowledge and truth. Interest in the production of knowledge has been flipped to an interest in the production of non-knowledge, i.e. ignorance. The case could be made that we always have lived in post-truth times. Still, recent political developments underline the gravity of the epistemological issues that previously were confined to academic seminar rooms. The need to be able to tell truthful statements apart from lies was not felt to be so urgent before the rise of populist and anti-rationalist movements and the election of their candidates into seats of office. The haunting question that needs to be addressed is: how can (if at all) the need for making such distinctions be accomplished with core STS tenets: the social construction of scientific facts, the under-determination of empirical data, the symmetrical treatment of true and false statements, and the equalization of lay expertise with expert expertise? What theoretical developments are prompted by the current political landscape? What philosophical traditions and theoretical resources are available to STS scholars for steering a path between the Scylla of technocracy and the Charybdis of populism? Contributors to the special issue of ESST are invited to engage with these questions from a variety of different standpoints. We are looking for papers where theoretically challenging positions are developed through empirically grounded case studies. Linsey McGoey will reflect and comment on the papers in a concluding section of this special issue for the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) open access journal Engaging Science, Technology and Society.

Prospective authors should email the guest editors with a preliminary title and abstract by 15 October 2017. Email both editors at:  johan.soderberg@sts.gu.se and kean@yorku.ca

Preliminary publication date is expected to be Winter 2018 or Spring 2019.

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