MIT Workshop 2017

On The Limits of Knowing: Ignorance, Promises and Political Economy of Knowledge

Date: 29-30th August 2017
Location: Lucian Pye Conference Room,  1 Amherst St. Building E40-496 (Muckley Bldg), MIT
Organizer: Prof. Mark Robinson, School of Medicine, Creighton University

Outline

How do we make sense of the increasing role of ignorance or problematic facts in knowledge regimes? The social mechanics of truth and knowledge have been a central concern within Science, Technology and Society (STS). Yet, the engineering of ignorance and the sense of an increasing imperviousness to facts/knowledge show brightly the limits of analytical approaches to science, technology, and innovation that ignore the role of political economy in contemporary knowledge practices. Important questions about the shaky status of facts — and the vicissitudes of knowers — emerge in a panoply of contexts: in the spread and purchase of myths through digital platforms; in the growing acknowledgement of large-scale scientific irreproducibility / unreliability; in the increasingly commercial imperatives placed upon academic knowledge production; and as highlighted in recent anxieties about strategic public ignorance and global democratic politics. In each context, one sees the fragility of approaches that assume that we are all rational actors working with — or even beholden to — uncompromised facts.

See here.

Workshop Programme

TUESDAY 29th AUGUST

9:30 AM – 9:45 AM Introductory Remarks

9:45 AM – 11:00 AM: KNOWLEDGE AND THE GLOBAL CONTEXT

  • Anthony Barzey: Brexit and Expertise
  • Shuxi Yin: The Political Economy of Spread of Rumors via Social Media in China
  • Austin Lord: Humanitarian Kits and the Winter Fool: The Political Economy of Pre-Fabricated Ignorance in Nepal’s Post-Disaster Taskscape
  • Luisa Reis Castro: The Political Economy of Knowledge as Crises Collide: Zika and the Impeachment in Brazil

11:00 AM – 11:15 AM: Break

11:15 AM – 12:45 PM: KNOWLEDGE, TRUST AND ECONOMY

  • Stevienna de Saille: Considering the Place of Society in Science: To What Extent do Sources of Funding Affect Public Levels of Dis/Trust?
  • Joseph M. Gabriel: Acceleration and Profit: Intellectual Property and the Transformation of American Pharmaceutical Science, 1920-1942
  • Sonya Scott: Structural Ignorance: Models and their Mediators from Early Mathematical Economies to Contemporary Derivatives Markets
  • Kean Birch: Technoscience Rent: From Entrepreneurship to Rentiership in Technoscientific Capitalism

12:45 PM – 1:45 PM: Lunch

1:45 PM – 3:00 PM: Keynote: PHIL MIROWSKI “The Common Denominator of Fake News & Open Science”

3:00 PM – 3:15 PM: Break

3:15 PM – 4:15 PM: KNOWLEDGE AND SCIENCE POLICY

  • Jesse Goldstein: Non-Disruptive Disruptions: Cleantech, Petromodernity and Green Capital Denial
  • Katie Meehan: Transdisciplinary Science in Action: Political Economy at the Science-Policy Interface
  • Rob Huggins: Behavioural Geography and Inequality: Alternative Approaches to Understanding the Spatial Unevenness of Knowledge, Innovation, and Development

WEDNESDAY 30th AUGUST

8:45 AM – 9:00 AM Introductory Remarks

9:00 AM – 10:15 AM: THEORIZING KNOWING & UNKNOWING

  • Johan Soderberg: Applying Agnotology to Social Science
  • Bennett Holman: Measures and Countermeasures: How to Evaluate Attempts to Address Funding Bias
  • Verena Brinks: Advice in Stressful Situations: Experts in Crises and Crisis Experts
  • Mark Robinson: When Epistemology Becomes Theology: The Analytic Problem of Knowledge, Knowing, and Action in Modernity

10:15 AM – 11:55 PM: Keynote: STEVE WOOLGAR: “It Could Be Otherwise in times of trouble”

11:55 PM – 12:55 PM: Lunch

1:00 PM – 2:45 PM: KNOWLEDGE IN HEALTH & BIOMEDICINE

  • Lindsey McKay: Optimism and Ignorance in Organ Donation Campaigns
  • Claes-Fredrik Helgesson: The Role of Ignorance in Large Clinical Trials- A Partial Exploration
  • Rene Almeling: Guynecology: Men, Medical Knowledge, and Reproduction
  • Joanna Kempner: The Psychedelic Underground: Collective Self-Experimentation as a “Work-Around” Solution to Undone Medical Science
  • David McBee Project Failure, Useful Knowledge, and Social Capital
  • Stephan Risi: Creating and Abusing Certainty: How the Tobacco Industry Appropriated One of Its Fiercest Critics

2:45 PM – 4:00 PM: KNOWLEDGE VIA THE STATE

  • Ana Maria Vara: Discussing GMOs Regulation in a Semi Peripheral Context: Ambiguity, Non Knowledge and Necessity as Argumentative Tools
  • Marelli Luca and Giuseppe Testa: Having a Structuring Effect on Europe. The Innovative Medicines Initiative and the Construction of the European Health Bioeconomy
  • Sebastian Pfotenhauer and Kyriaki Papageorgiou: Innovation Union? Co-producing European Innovation, Integration, and Identity
  • Javiera Barandiaran: Science and Democracy in Neoliberal (and Post-Truth?) Chile

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: CONCLUDING DISCUSSION WITH PARTICIPANTS ABOUT FUTURE DIRECTIONS

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