— Michael Guggenheim

The Science Fiction of Science Studies

Why is there no STS futurology? Why does STS not write about future data? Economists routinely project data into the future; STS doesn’t, why?

Here is the documentation of my contributions to two conference panels I organised on these themes.

I have written a short article, which makes the theoretical case:

The Science Fiction of Science Studies (2009). Unpublished manuscript.

I have also written my own piece of futurology:

Official statement: Words of Goodbye by the Actualiser (2008). Unpublished Manuscript.

(Feel free to contact me, if you wish to publish either of these texts).

At the two conferences, the following papers were given (Zürich conference: “Sciencefutures”, held at ETH, 6-9 February 2008/Rotterdam: 4S/EASST, 20-23 August 2008):

Michael Guggenheim: Synchronity. A report by “Security, Technology, Strategy” (STS) on “the misuse (with the goal to resuscitate disputes) of the actualiser”
Sha LaBare: Here Be Dragons
Rainer Egloff: Paradise lost – hell thickly described?

Maren Klotz: If the Kids are United. Reproductive Unit Research in Four Actor Human/Human and Human/Non-human Groups.
Heidi Gautschi: Pattern Recognition and the Everything Archive

Here is a report about the Zurich panel (in German).

Here is the call for paper (for both panels)

The Science Fiction of Science Studies: Acting with science in the

The session attempts to develop improbable, inconvenient and
extraordinary stories of the future of STS in the larger context of
future societies, 30, 50, 100 or even a thousand years from today.
Conceived as a follow-up to an session at “sciencefutures” this
February in Zürich, the goal is to imagine a future for a specific
discipline, STS, in the context of an unknown future. Presentations
can explore any theoretical, methodological or material aspect of the
future of STS and its related fields. The following questions should
serve as starting points for your own themes and ideas:
What are the sources and materials of STS 100 years from now? How
does scientific change of next 50 years or so affect our disciplinary
practices? How can we act as STS scholars with science, technology
and medicine in the light of future changes of society?

Will science still exist in the future, and if not, what happens to
STS? What happens to STS if radically new technologies for doing STS
appear? What if writing ceases to exist? What if universities and
disciplines as organisational forms radically change or disappear?
What will replace them? How are future generations going to assess
present work in STS? What could their criteria be? What happens when
a dictator once bans STS? Will it then become a clandestine or even a
terrorist movement? What kinds of futurology are appropriate for STS?
What are the specific problems for a science-fiction of STS? How
could a theory of science in the 22nd century look like? Will STS
provide the master-narrative for the23rd century?

The goal of the session is twofold: First, we would like to broaden
STS-methods of inquiries by relying on techniques of Sci-Fi writing.
Second, we would like to explore the possibilities of a discipline
that has matured, but still seems to have no clear goal of its own
future history and which has never had a clear vision of its future.
Presentations can have any narrative, visual or audible form, please
make sure that if you intend to use technologies from the future that
these are appropriately translated for today’s audiences in science
studies. Papers drawing on research based on material from the 20th
century or before are discouraged.


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