In July 2016, I spent a week in San Sebastián in the Basque country at the summer school “Techno Science Societies: Between Myth Formation and Societal Structure” organized by the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) in Karlsruhe. The school had a strong focus on Science & Technology Studies, which seemed like a good opportunity for me since I have been skirting around the discipline for a while now. Also, the guiding questions of the summer school about political myths and their interrelations with societal structure resonated well with the way I conceptualize my dissertation.
As it turned out, I wasn’t the only attending doctoral researcher who wasn’t born and molded in STS, so it was easy to get into fruitful discussions. Likewise, my fears of shipwrecking with the neoinstitutionalist theoretical framework of my presentation were unfounded: My presentation was well received and my line of neo-institutionalist thinking seemed to spark new avenues of discussion of the overall questions about political myths. In return, I received a lot of useful comments: Especially in the direction of thinking about the local governments in my case studies as laboratories, which would open them up to all kinds of Latourian theorizing. Further, I was urged to read into practice theory as a possible theoretical perspective on my empirical cases.
The discussions and general interaction at the summer school benefitted tremendously from the generous scheduling with an hour per presentation and the relaxed and truly interested attitude of the organizers from ITAS. In combination with the very open and eager keynote speakers, this created a constructive atmosphere where it was a joy to present and discuss.
|Conceptual presentation “Big Data in Government: Of the Big Data Myth and Its Translations in Local Governments” (Abstract & Presentation) Interdisciplinary at the International Graduate Summer School “Techno Science Societies: Between Myth Formation and Societal Structure” in Donostia-San Sebastián, 18-22 July 2016|
Photo credits: Palacio Miramar in 2014, licensed CC BY-SA by Izaskun Segurado