::fibreculture:: 4S/EASST panel on bio-hacking, open hardware & hackerspaces

Johan Söderberg johan.soderberg at sts.gu.se
Mon Jan 30 10:07:37 CET 2012

Apologies for cross-postings

Call for papers – 4S/EASST Panel:

Hacking STS - bio-hacking, open hardware development, and hackerspaces

This is an open invitation for session proposals investigating the expansion of hacking to bio-tech, hardware development and the creation of hackerspaces to be held at the 4S / EASST conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, 17-20 October 2012.

During the past two decades, hacking has chiefly been associated with software and computers. This is now changing as the figure of the hacker, together with the ideas and practices associated with this figure, are spreading to new walks of life. Thus we are reminded of the origin of hacking in hardware development. Some notable examples of how hacking is spreading to new areas include open hardware projects, the flourishing of garage biology, and the creation of hacker/maker-spaces in many cities around the world. The wider importance of this development is suggested by the role played by Japanese hackerspaces in the aftermath of the Fukushima accident. The hackerspaces were instrumental in informing the public, campaigning the government for access to data about contaminated areas, and building easy-to-use equipment for measuring radiation. These activities bring to mind one of the classic case study in the STS canon - the Cumbrian farmers herding sheeps in the shadow of the Sellafield nuclear power plant. Some of the themes discussed in the Sellafield case and in the STS field as a whole, such as lay expertise and radical openness in information management, are actualised anew with the expansion of hacker practices. Still, until now, the figure of the hackers has rarely been made into an object of sustained interest in fields outside software and new media studies. In this panel we would like to gather papers with empirical studies of biohacking, hardware hacking and related practices. We also encourage theoretical pieces discussing what the social sciences might contribute to the study of hacking, and what theoretical challenges the figure of the hacker might pose to the study of scientific and technological innovation. Some questions which might be asked in the light of this development include, but are not restricted to, the politics of hacking, the creation of the collective identity of the hacker, how development projects are managed, how the line between the community and firms is negotiated, the diffusion of hacker practices in corporate innovation models, and the legal implications of these practices.

Practical information
All submissions must pass through the official submission system at the 4S site. (see http://4sonline.org/meeting for all details on submitting your paper). Deadline for submissions is 18th of March. Session proposals should be limited to 250 words total, and should contain a theme and a rationale for the session, and a brief discussion of its contribution to the STS community. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the organisers of this panel: Johan Söderberg (johan.soderberg at sts.gu.se), Alessandro Delfanti (delfanti at sissa.it), Eric Deibel ‎(ericdeibel at yahoo.com)‎.
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