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EASST4S 2020 Virtual (Prague) Conference Program

Locating and Timing Matters:
Significance and Agency of STS in Emerging Worlds

https://www.easst4s2020prague.org/

Postphenomenology and the Built Environment

Fri, August 21, 6:00 to 7:40pm CEST (12:00 to 1:40pm EDT), virPrague, VR 21

The built environment—the objects and devices and architectures that make up our human-made surroundings—shapes our lives in a multitude of ways. In this session, we take up ideas from the postphenomenological perspective to draw out and analyze these dynamics. This perspective enables distinctive contributions in the study of the multiple non-innocent ways that our lives are mediated by architectural technology. In our first paper, Lars Botin explores how postphenomenological notions of multistability and mediation can be used to cultivate sustainable and responsible development practices in urban spaces. Inger Berling Hyams also takes up the postphenomenological notion of multistability, and she uses it to develop an account of power in urban space, one that manages to remain situational and non-totalizing. In our third paper, Stanley C. Kranc takes up this notion as well and considers how our infrastructure, and water infrastructure in particular (such as in the Flint, Michigan case), can take on a backgrounded place within our experience. Søren Riis, in our fourth paper, builds on Martin Heidegger’s ideas to explore the kinds of lives made possible by smart home technologies. And in the final paper of this session, Robert Rosenberger considers the case of public-space security cameras and, using ideas from postphenomenology and actor-network theory, explores their potential to take part in “hostile” strategies that target vulnerable populations.

Postphenomenology and the Mediated Self
Fri, August 21, 3:00 to 4:40pm CEST (9:00 to 10:40am EDT), virPrague, VR 21Abstract
Technological mediation is often conceived in terms of the translations and transformations made by a device as it comes between a user and the world. But how should we conceive of cases in which technologies mediate the relationship human users have with themselves? With its framework of concepts for articulating human-technology relations, work in the postphenomenological perspective has the potential to make distinctive contributions to the study of our bodies and our lives as they are mediated by our devices. Here we consider these issues in terms of a variety of technologies, including laboratory imaging, social media, and self-tracking devices, explored through both philosophical and ethnographic analyses. In her contribution to this panel, Anette Forss shares her ethnographic work in Swedish cytology laboratories, with implications for our understanding of scientific hermeneutics and medical education. In our second paper, Stacey Irwin performs a postphenomenological analysis of endoscopy, exploring the hermeneutics of this video readout of the interior spaces of the human body. The third and fourth papers are on the topic of self-tracking devices. In the first of these two, Dorthe Brogård Kristensen, Signe Banke, and Alev Kuruoglu perform an ethnography of fitness self-tracking in Denmark. In the second, Elise Zheng considers the self-surveillance implications of self-tracking fitness apps. And in our fifth paper, Olya Kudina considers the mediation of social media upon our digital memories.

Postphenomenology and Computing: AI, Robotics, and the Digital

Fri, August 21, 12:00 to 1:40pm CEST (6:00 to 7:40am EDT), virPrague, VR 21

Our world is experiencing rapid technological change in the form of digital technologies, big data, robotics, and artificial intelligence. In this panel, we bring together ideas from the postphenomenological school of thought to help address these changes. With its framework of concepts for approaching human-technology relations, postphenomenology can make distinct contributions to our understanding of complex computer mediation. In our first paper in this session, Cathrine Hasse explores the role of materiality in human relations to robots in light of her empirical studies of user-robot relations. Our second paper, by Ciano Ayden, considers what it would mean to critically engage with artificial intelligence as it increasingly comes to shape the world we encounter. Esther Keymolen uses as Ricoeurian notion of “emplotment” as a way to come to terms with the kinds of changes AI may bring, and to analyze the stories we tell about it, before this technology becomes a part of our everyday worlds. In our fourth paper, Shoji Nagataki examines the nature of digital technology, taking up ideas from McLuhan’s media theory to contrast e-reading and physical books, and to better get to the bottom of the embodiment of digital communication. And, finally, Galit Wellner explores the normative dimensions of AI, uses postphenomenology to track how human intentionalities become built into algorithms, and develops prescriptions for mapping stakeholders and avoiding AI biases.

Recent postphenomenology conference presentations

Society for Phenomenology and Human Studies (SPHS), October, 2020, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Society for the Social Study of Science (4S), September 2019, New Orleans, LA, USA

Society of Philosophy and Technology (SPT), May 2019, College Station Texas, USA

“Human-Technology Relations Conference: Postphenomenology and Philosophy of Technology,” July 2018, University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands #PHTR

Society of Philosophy and Technology (SPT), June 2019, Darmstadt, Germany

Society for the Social Study of Science (4S), September, 2017 in Boston, MA, USA

4S Conference Preview

When you present on postphenomenology, use the #postphenom hashtag so we can follow your work. Thanks!

Don Ihde

14 July, 2016

We are publishing a series of posts highlighting some of the tracks on the program of the 2016 4S conference, which will convene jointly with the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) in Barcelona, August 31-September 3. The theme of this year’s 4S/EASST conference is “science and technology by other means.” – Ed.

Barcelona marks the ninth year for postphenomenology research panels at 4S, this year meeting again with EASST. My presentation, “Science has always been technoscience” opens a panel by the same name and shows how archeoscience as far back as the Ice Age incorporates technologies. Pernith Leth-Espensen (Aarhus, DK) continues with an examination of innovative artistic uses of technologies in performance arts. Anette Forss (Karolinska Institut, SE) examines the empirical turn and how it can combine postphenomenology with ethnography. Bas de Boer (Twente, NL) examines the different ways technologies which examine the brain are non-neutral, while a closely matched paper by Jonne Hoek (Twente, NL) looks at how death is mediated in brain death, with its existential implications. Peter Paul Verbeek convenes a number of other such panels as well. Each of these papers relates technological mediation to human experience in the style which has become distinctive to postphenomenology.

Posphenomenology panels have grown out of an STS-styled analysis which incubated primarily in the Technoscience Research Group at Stony Brook University, Peter Paul Verbeek’s graduate programs at Twente University in the Netherlands, and operations led by Finn Olesen and Cathrine Hasse at Aarhus and the DPU in Denmark. Today, some one hundred researchers have participated in a number of STS type conferences, of which 4S is the largest and most prominent. Currently, Lexington Books, a program of Roman Littlefield Publishers, carries a new series, “Postphenomenology and the Philosophy of Technology,” with a number of books already in print.

Postphenomenology, like most STS approaches, often takes a specific technology and develops a ‘case study’ approach. There have been, to date, several themes which have all resulted in publications. These themes include imaging technologies in the sciences, medicine, and popular culture; information and communication technologies such as cell phones, the internet, media technologies; and many medical technologies, including hearing aids, cochlear implants, and limb prostheses. From these themes, various researchers have also become interested in posthumanism, transhumanism and enhanced experience technologies. In all cases human experience plays a focal role in relation to the different types of human-technology relations and mediations.

Don Ihde (Stony Brook University, NY, USA) is the convener of track 131 and will also be responding to a discussion of his recent book, Acoustic Technics (Lexington, 2015), which deals with contemporary acoustic technologies, in track 153.