Advanced

Agential Conversations: Interviewing Postdoctoral Life Scientists and the Politics of Mundane Research Practices

Mueller, Ruth LU and Kenney, Martha (2014) In Science as Culture 23(4). p.537-559
Abstract
Science and Technology Studies (STS) projects often aim at understanding social problems and epistemic challenges in science and, more generally, in the technoscientific worlds we inhabit. However, it is often unclear if and how these projects can help address the problems they identify. Scholars such as Donna Haraway, John Law, and Karen Barad have argued that STS methods always interfere with the contexts they study. Combining this insight with recent feminist scholarship on the politics of care in technoscience suggests that a better understanding of how our research practices already interfere can help us attune our methods in order to promote care as part our research practices. One avenue to investigate this hypothesis is to return... (More)
Science and Technology Studies (STS) projects often aim at understanding social problems and epistemic challenges in science and, more generally, in the technoscientific worlds we inhabit. However, it is often unclear if and how these projects can help address the problems they identify. Scholars such as Donna Haraway, John Law, and Karen Barad have argued that STS methods always interfere with the contexts they study. Combining this insight with recent feminist scholarship on the politics of care in technoscience suggests that a better understanding of how our research practices already interfere can help us attune our methods in order to promote care as part our research practices. One avenue to investigate this hypothesis is to return to a completed study and reconstruct how its research methods have created interference effects that promoted or could promote care for the problems the study identified. In the case at hand, the methods investigated are interviews with life scientists in Austria and the USA. The problem they defined is that current career rationales in the life sciences, which foreground individualism, mobility, and competition hinder collaboration, teamwork, and mentoring, strain group cohesion, and tend to exclude certain groups. Reframing the research interviews as 'agential conversations' that interfered with the contexts they sought to understand shows how the interviews also created situated moments of reflection, connection, and disruption that could serve as a basis for responding to these problematic conditions affecting researchers in the life sciences and beyond. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
interference, qualitative interviews, care, feminist theory, life, sciences, postdocs
in
Science as Culture
volume
23
issue
4
pages
537 - 559
publisher
Taylor & Francis
external identifiers
  • wos:000342307500005
  • scopus:84907275115
ISSN
0950-5431
DOI
10.1080/09505431.2014.916670
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
9f2246ea-78fb-46bf-b6c4-be88ecb571db (old id 4810248)
date added to LUP
2014-11-24 13:35:58
date last changed
2017-06-11 04:03:29
@article{9f2246ea-78fb-46bf-b6c4-be88ecb571db,
  abstract     = {Science and Technology Studies (STS) projects often aim at understanding social problems and epistemic challenges in science and, more generally, in the technoscientific worlds we inhabit. However, it is often unclear if and how these projects can help address the problems they identify. Scholars such as Donna Haraway, John Law, and Karen Barad have argued that STS methods always interfere with the contexts they study. Combining this insight with recent feminist scholarship on the politics of care in technoscience suggests that a better understanding of how our research practices already interfere can help us attune our methods in order to promote care as part our research practices. One avenue to investigate this hypothesis is to return to a completed study and reconstruct how its research methods have created interference effects that promoted or could promote care for the problems the study identified. In the case at hand, the methods investigated are interviews with life scientists in Austria and the USA. The problem they defined is that current career rationales in the life sciences, which foreground individualism, mobility, and competition hinder collaboration, teamwork, and mentoring, strain group cohesion, and tend to exclude certain groups. Reframing the research interviews as 'agential conversations' that interfered with the contexts they sought to understand shows how the interviews also created situated moments of reflection, connection, and disruption that could serve as a basis for responding to these problematic conditions affecting researchers in the life sciences and beyond.},
  author       = {Mueller, Ruth and Kenney, Martha},
  issn         = {0950-5431},
  keyword      = {interference,qualitative interviews,care,feminist theory,life,sciences,postdocs},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {537--559},
  publisher    = {Taylor & Francis},
  series       = {Science as Culture},
  title        = {Agential Conversations: Interviewing Postdoctoral Life Scientists and the Politics of Mundane Research Practices},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09505431.2014.916670},
  volume       = {23},
  year         = {2014},
}