This article explores the hidden, suppressed elements of New Orleans leading up to and immediately following Hurricane Katrina. The article is juxtaposed with excerpts from Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities in order to provide a lens through which to ask questions not typically raised by government officials, city planners, and science and technology experts. This uncovers aspects of New Orleans that must not be overlooked in the rebuilding process. If policy, culture, and technology render aspects of New Orleans invisible, then only by revealing these aspects can one ascertain the truth of the city.
Erin Moore Daly
This article presents a long-term study of German waste management policies and technologies as they developed during the second half of the twentieth century. The postwar "waste avalanche" called for quick and crude political decisions. Unexpected environmental side effects prompted new governance and leads through six different stages of policies based on scientific models and advanced technologies—all of them controversial. The case exemplifies a typical condition of a knowledge society. Politics demands a reliable knowledge base for rational decision making. Science, however, supplies open-ended research and increases uncertainties. Turning the dilemma into an operational perspective, I suggest speaking of processes of real-world experimentation with waste. The transformation of waste from something to be ignored and disregarded into an epistemic object of concern is bound to experimenting with existing and newly designed waste sites as well as with socio-technical management systems. The study focuses on the development in Germany. Its general features, however, are characteristic for comparable industrial societies.
Timothy B. Leduc and Susan A Crate
This article is concerned with the way in which indigenous place-based knowledge and understandings, in a time of global climate change, have the potential to challenge researchers to self-reflexively shift the focus of their research toward those technological and consumer practices that are the cultural context of our research. After reviewing some literature on the emergence of self-reflexivity in research, the authors offer two case studies from their respective environmental education and anthropological research with northern indigenous cultures that clarifies the nature of a self-reflexive turn in place-based climate research and education. The global interconnections between northern warming and consumer culture-and its relation to everexpanding technological systems-are considered by following the critical insights of place-based knowledge. We conclude by examining the possibility that relocalizing our research, teaching, and ways of living in consumer culture are central to a sustainable future, and if so, the knowledge and understandings of current place-based peoples will be vital to envisioning such a cultural transformation of our globalizing system.
This article starts with the observation that a sociological analysis of interactions concerning drugs cannot rely on accounts of drugs that were generated in the field because these accounts (such as the distinction between drugs and non-drugs or between intended effects and side effects) are shaped by strong interests. The article suggests two approaches to obtaining actor-independent accounts, both of which are based on comparisons. The first approach is a symmetrization of perspectives, which can be achieved by including the perspectives of as many different actors as possible as well as the abstract actors of science and law. The second approach starts from the definition of a problem that is contingent but grounded in practices of the field. In the case of drugs, this problem can be constructed as how laypersons can rate the identity and quality of specific things as unproblematic. In both cases, an ontological idea of the “drug as such” is replaced by a social-constructivist view of the drug, which at the same time takes the drug's materiality into account.
Human-Centrism, Posthumanism, and AI
Nandita Biswas Mellamphy
The Problem with “Human-Centered” AI Data-driven advances based on AI (artificial intelligence) are transforming societies and calls for more responsible and ethical use of technologies have emerged to deal with fears concerning the negative
Eric J. Cunningham
,700 dams scattered across the archipelago ( Japan Commission on Large Dams 2009 ). As elsewhere, dams in Japan are not only technologies of water manipulation, but also socio-cultural phenomenon with implications for the ways that human actors relate to
Marco Sonnberger and Michael Ruddat
various countries ( Demski et al. 2015 ; Sovacool and Tambo 2016 ). Since the public acceptability of energy transitions depends on citizens’ complex perceptual patterns of various aspects of these transitions (e.g., acceptance of energy technologies and
Adopting a Social Practice Perspective in Social-Ecological Research
Lukas Sattlegger, Immanuel Stieß, Luca Raschewski, and Katharina Reindl
professionals in the food system. Hence, these problems cannot be solved solely technically by improved waste management or recycling technologies, as potential transformations must be linked to wider practices of food supply. From such a perspective, the use of
Environmental Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies
Rolf Lidskog and Göran Sundqvist
different sectors use environmental expertise to develop cleaner technologies, as well as to improve their public image and strengthen their brands. Thus, hardly any claims about environmental action—whether they come from governments, environmental
one article to propose the idea of “measurementality” as an important part of governmentality of the environment ( Turnhout, Neves-Graça et al. 2014 ). Similar to Foucault’s interest in conduct and calculation, scholars in science and technology