CfP: 4S Open Panel. Experimental entanglements – STS & the Life Sciences

For those interested in the intersection of medical sociology, STS and the life sciences, and/or in the dynamics of interdisciplinarity:

My colleague Dr Felicity Callard ( (Durham University) and I are putting together an Open Session for the forthcoming 4S (Society for Social Studies of Science) Conference in Buenos Aires (August 2014). We warmly welcome contributions from medical sociologists. Abstract below.

52. Experimental Entanglements: STS and the Life Sciences
Organizers: Des Fitzgerald, Felicity Callard
Language: English

If it is true that we now live in ‘a biological age’ (Rose, 2013), one in which we increasingly understand ourselves though the irretrievably biosocial complexity of human social life, where does this leave STS analyses of, and interactions with, the life sciences? If we can no long rely on either (1) tired rhetorics of the life sciences as reductionistic and imperialistic, or (2) twentieth-century models of multi- and trans-disciplinarity, founded on an idea of disciplinary borders that might be crossed, but that remained ontologically solid – is there an imperative upon us to now more radically re-conceptualise the traffic between STS and biology? In this open session, we want to explore a model of ‘experimental entanglement’ – an ethic and practice of working across disciplines that is premised on more profound and experimental modes of engagement with (and through) the life sciences. Open to wide and generous interpretation, this model invites contributions that are trying to empirically, conceptually and critically explore an STS of or with the life sciences, that is somehow sensitive to, and collaborative with, the always-already entangled biosocial nature of human life. It asks: are there ways of conceptualizing and practising substantive, knowledge-producing encounters across STS and the life sciences that transcend traditional models of inter-, trans- and multi-disciplinarity? This panel invites papers that address, perform, elaborate or critique such a model of ‘experimental entanglement’. We are especially interested in (though encourage other problematics, too) papers that address: novel or experimental modes of interaction between STS and the life sciences; auto-ethnographic accounts of STS collaboration with life scientists; conceptual analyses of how STS encounters the biosocial complexity of human social life; elaborations and critiques of the diagnosis of a biological age; and theoretical interventions that interrogate an often taken-for-granted externality of STS analyses to their object(s) of study.

Reference: Nikolas Rose (2013) The human sciences in a biological age. Theory, Culture & Society, 30(1): 3–34

For information about the Open Panels, see:

For information about the 4S conference (and all deadlines/delegate information), see:
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