Lancaster Workshop 2018

Making & Doing Technoscientific Futures Better

Date: 23-244th July 2018
Location: Charles Carter building, A19
Organizer: David Tyfield (Lancaster University), Stevie de Saille (Sheffield University), Janja Komljenovic (Lancaster University)


There is no shortage of scholarship identifying the profound challenges of contemporary techno-scientific lifeworlds, whether regarding the Anthropocene (Hamilton 2017, Bonneuil & Fressoz 2016), emergence of post- (or even trans-) human ‘digital disruptive innovation’ (Harari 2016, Lanier 2017), or their conjunction in the emergent ‘technosphere’ (e.g. Haff 2016, Szerszynski 2017).  Meanwhile, and not unrelated, public spheres (viz. CPERI 2016, Liège) continue to be upended and turbulently transformed as digital social media, and potentially their deepening percolation into material life, unleashes social division, economic inequality and ‘culture wars’ polarization.  Indeed, 2017 was the year in which a new ‘reasonable’ or ‘respectable’ declinism regarding ‘civilization’ (often identified with Western and/or liberal democracy) went mainstream (Luce 2017, Reich 2017, King 2017, Cf Mishra 2017). Techno-science, and thereby the research and innovation (R&I) from which it hails, plays a crucial role in all these narratives, whether optimistic and utopian or pessimistic and dystopian.  Indeed, the zeitgeist of doom and incipient barbarism raises with renewed urgency long-standing but fundamental, ‘big’ questions about the crucial role of science and technology and innovation – and, crucially, education – in the evolution and formation of ‘civilizations’ and stable, thriving societies (e.g. Mumford 2010, Mauss 2006, Beinhocker 2007).  With digital social media, built on privately-owned and deliberately addictive platforms, parsing up the public sphere, are there even socio-technical grounds any longer for a single, shared (if not ‘objective’) body of knowledge that both binds a society together and is itself collaboratively developed and disseminated by its R&I and educational institutions?

See here.


9.00-9.15         Opening and Welcome – David Tyfield, Stevie De Saille & Janja Komljenovic


  • Kean Birch (York University, Toronto): Asset form, asset boundary, and assetization in technoscientific capitalism
  • Haris Shekeris (University of Lyon 3, France): A science for the times: Sustainability science as communitarian techno-science
  • Luigi Pellizzoni (University of Pisa, Italy): Foreclosing future? The issue of alternative science

10.45-11.15     Break

11.15-12.15     KEYNOTE: Susan Robertson (Cambridge University, UK): The University in an age of platform capitalism

12.15-1.00       Lunch


  • Stevie de Saille (Sheffield University, UK): The (bio)political economy of germline genetic engineering: A feminist critique
  • Astha Jaiswal [Skype] (Central University of Gujarat, India): Umbilical cord blood banking in India: Challenges to Responsible Innovation
  • Inga Ulnicane (De Montfort University, UK): Challenges of applying Responsible Research and Innovation Framework to dual use research and technology in the European Union

2.30-2.45         Break

2.45-4.15         BIOMEDICAL FUTURES

  • Luca Marelli (KU Leuven, Belgium): The EU General Data Protection Regulation as a novel governance tool for biomedical research: a critical appraisal
  • Samantha Vanderslott (Oxford University, UK): The future of vaccination polarization
  • Ismael Rafols (Universitat Polècnica de València, Spain, University of Leiden, Netherlands, & University of Sussex, UK): Mapping institutional shaping of research priorities

4.15-4.30         Break

4.30-6.00         RURAL-URBAN FUTURES

  • Pouya Sepehr (University of Vienna, Austria): The emergence of urban expertise in modern Iran: (Dis)continuities and the paradigmatization of urban knowledge since the 1960s
  • Les Levidow (Open University, UK): Agroecological alternatives through social technologies and solidarity economy in Latin America
  • Pierre Delvenne (University of Liège, Belgium): (Re)making bioeconomic past and futures

TUESDAY 24th July


  • Matthew Wade (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore): Advocating for life itself: Platform capitalism through crisis crowdfunding and the assetization of moral worthiness
  • Andrew Brodzeli (University of Sydney, Australia): Platform enclosure: Capital and labour in (neo)reactionary times
  • Jacob Hellman (University of California, San Diego, USA): Equity Crowdfunding: Mass-producing the habitus to assetize

10.30-11.00     Break

11.00-12.00     KEYNOTE:  Mark Carrigan (The Sociological Review): Securing public knowledge amidst the epistemic chaos of platform capitalism?

12.00-1.00       Lunch


  • Tereza Virtová, Filip Vostal (Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic): Chronopolitics in experimental physics: Technologies of timework
  • Krystian Szadkowski (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland): Capital: A contribution to the critique of political economy of science and higher education
  • Janja Komljenovic (Lancaster University, UK): Higher education actors as prosumers: The case of LinkedIn reassembling the university
  • Elena Šimukovič (University of Vienna, Austrian): Gold Open Access future and other techno-scientific utopias in academic publishing

3.20-3.45         Break

3.45-5.15         STS FUTURES

  • Johan Söderberg (University of Gothenburg, Sweden): “STS is a humanism”: Interrogating post-truth from the angle of the interest debate
  • Jana Bacevic (University of Cambridge, UK): Epistemic attachment, ontological bias, and thinking about the future
  • David Tyfield (Lancaster University, UK): After the public university – Futures of knowledge capitalism, the university and STS at the forefront of a post-materialist age

5.15-6.00         Break

6.00-8.00         PUBLIC DEBATE

Steve Fuller (University of Warwick, UK) and Philip Mirowski (University of Notre Dame, USA): A Curate’s Egg? Could a renewed neoliberalism be a positive future for the University? Liberal interventionism against corporate, digital takeover and knowledge rent-seeking in academia