This article explores the lack of controversy over genetically modified objects (GMOs) in the daily life of a research laboratory in Canada. Scientific perceptions of GMOs and the types of knowledge valued in scientific research contribute toward an absence of discussion on the wider social implications of GMOs. Technical and epistemic knowledge are crucial for the success of a scientific project, whereas discussion of the social values involved may be allocated to particular settings, people, or research stages. GMOs, within scientific circles, are seen as many individual projects with different goals, rather than as a single object. Therefore, according to this view, it is inappropriate to be opposed to or to support GMOs in general, without first ascertaining the specifics of a particular project. How then are scientists engaged in seemingly local, distinct projects seen as globally defending this technology? Scientific expertise unevenly translates into political voice, transforming into silences as well as debates.
Objects without everyday controversy
Theses and Controversies. A conference organized by the “Mobile Lives Forum” (Paris) at the Maison Rouge in Paris, May 2011
It is a remarkable development that mobility providers, the industry and planners are getting closer to each other in the field of mobility and transport. This is especially so in the transfer of knowledge from academia to the practical use of scientific expertise. Here I am not referring to consultancy—the broad market of selling knowledge and competence—but to debates about methodologies, approaches, access to knowledge and skills and so forth which get transferred from one field of research and practice to the other.
The Making of Prepared Farmers and the Postcolonial Predictive State in Kenya
This article explores weather forecasting as an emergent technology of governmentality through a detailed ethnography of the ways in which the relationships between weather and crops are rendered knowable in a two-day “participatory scenario planning” (PSP) workshop in Naromoru in the Central Highlands of Kenya. Farmers were “made into meteorologists” and developed their preparedness for hazards, impacts, opportunities, strategies, and responsibilities within the context of facing El Niño. The ethnography targets seemingly novel ways of preparing farmers for El Niño. I argue that the PSP served two principal functions: (1) to redistribute responsibilities of the farmers themselves by making them into “meteorologists”; and (2) to integrate “scientific expertise” with “local knowledge” to generate public trust in the metrological institutions of the postcolonial predictive state.
Comparative silences in British stories of genetic modification
Since the late 1990s genetically modified foods, crops, and products have provoked a great deal of controversy in Britain. This article does not challenge the presence of debate over genetic modification in Britain, but rather calls attention to public silences on genetic modification that have often been overlooked. Drawing on multi-sited fieldwork in two parts of the north of England, I explore the ways in which these silences were not equally present across both fieldsites. I argue that this is partly due to the intersection of local histories with the ideological framing of genetic modification by the British government as a question of and for scientific expertise. I also explore how silence on the topic may be a form of what Sheriff (2000) has termed ‘cultural censorship’. Finally, I discuss the theoretical and methodological difficulties of studying and writing about silence, proposing that silences can importantly highlight issues of political and social salience.
Environmental Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies
Rolf Lidskog and Göran Sundqvist
, oscillating between opposing understandings of how scientific expertise works in society ( Lidskog and Sundqvist 2018 ; Sundqvist et al. 2015 ). The tension between these views—of science holding power by virtue of its epistemic superiority, or of science as
Infrastructural Transformations in the Chao Phraya Delta, Thailand
Atsuro Morita and Casper Bruun Jensen
characterize two ontological ‘histories of agency’ ( Pickering 1994 ). Western terrestrial ontology, shaped by colonial irrigation projects and techno-scientific expertise, imagined the potential of river deltas in terms of the possibility of land reclamation
Between Theory, Ethnography, and Method
Martin Holbraad, Sarah Green, Alberto Corsín Jiménez, Veena Das, Nurit Bird-David, Eduardo Kohn, Ghassan Hage, Laura Bear, Hannah Knox and Bruce Kapferer
findings has led to a reconsideration of the remit of scientific expertise and an expansion of the fields upon which analysis should be conducted. Some climate scientists have embraced the challenge of being better communicators and vociferous activists
social scientific expertise to evaluate a candidate’s proposals” ( Brennan 2011: 714 ; emphasis added). 7 On this topic, see Alterman (2004 ). On the unavoidability of hypocrisy even in democratic politics, see Runciman (2008 ). 8 The new information
The Case of the Documentary Film Malen’kaia Katerina (Tiny Katerina)
Ivan Golovnev and Elena Golovneva
Translator : Jenanne Ferguson
feel the organic matter of the documented cultural reality and transmit it through the film. According to this, it is not only the scientific expertise of the filmmaker that matters in ethnographic issues, but also universal qualities such as the
Johannes Görbert, Russ Pottle, Jeff Morrison, Pramod K. Nayar, Dirk Göttsche, Lacy Marschalk, Dorit Müller, Angela Fowler, Rebecca Mills and Kevin Mitchell Mercer
with their extreme climatic conditions not only posed immense challenges to naval technology but also demanded training in extreme survival practices and required specific scientific expertise on the part of the researchers. In addition, new optical