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Programme 10th IAS-STS Annual Conference

2nd - 3rd May, 2011

Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology and Society (IAS-STS)


The IAS-STS in Graz, Austria, which is hosted by the IFZ - Interuniversity Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture (www.ifz.tugraz.at), promotes the interdisciplinary investigation of the links and interactions between science, technology and society, technology assessment, as well as research on the development and implementation of socially and environmentally sound technologies. Therefore, IAS-STS hosts international fellows and research associates through its fellowship programme. Additionally, the institute organizes an annual conference on "Critical Issues in Science and Technology Studies".


Gender - Technology – Environment
Special session 1: “Issues of Inclusion and Exclusion in Web 2.0”
For this part of the conference, contributions on the topic “Issues of Inclusion and Exclusion in Web 2.0” are looked for. Web 2.0 is considered as user-centred and democratic: Everybody is said to be able to participate and it seems that nearly everybody does. However, this is not the case of course. The Internet with all its interactive applications is not as colourful as it could be, it does not represent the ‘real’ world and it is definitely not democratic per se.
In this session we want to discuss

  • boundaries and possibilities,
  • theoretical inputs and empirical research,
  • gender, queer and intersectionality issues of the current Internet.

Besides a critique on the current Web 2.0, we will discuss utopias as well – how can the Internet be further democratized?

Workshop: “The Concept of ‘Heteronormativity’ and its Methodological Implications”
Conference participants interested in joining this workshop please contact Birgit Hofstätter, by April 1st, 2011

Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects of Human Genetics and Agricultural Biotechnology
A main focus of the conference will lie on research projects providing a critical analysis of human genetic research or of agricultural biotechnology. Researchers investigating either ethical, legal and social aspects of genetic testing in the medical domain or risk policy and wider governance issues related to agricultural biotechnology are especially encouraged to contribute.

Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP)
SCP seeks to promote social and economic development within the carrying capacity of ecosystems. New strategies and concrete tools are needed to change individual and institutional patterns of consumption and to enhance corporate responsibility (CR) of organisations. Researchers investigating patterns of consumption and intervention strategies to promote sustainable lifestyles among both public and private consumers or working within the thematic field of ecological product policy are encouraged to give a presentation. Research projects integrating product assessment tools such as LCA, carbon footprint, MIPS or related methods are also of special interest.

Special Session 2: Trans-disciplinarity in sustainability studies
We invite presentations dealing with concepts, models and experiences of trans-disciplinary research (TDR) in the context of ecological and social sustainability. We are interested in reflecting the possibilities and limits of this type of research.
The trans-disciplinarity panel will be organized along specific sessions, and we are looking forward to experience based or conceptual papers with a focus on one of the following issues:
1. Integrated knowledge production: An important aspect of TDR refers to topics of the production of new and integrated knowledge. We shall discuss questions about the ways in which different kinds of knowledge - represented by the different actors participating - are both being treated and integrated in the research process.

  • How do TDR actors work together to develop mutual learning, new understandings and to produce new and integrated knowledge?
  • How does social learning relate to knowledge integration?

2. (policy) Intervention: Interventions resulting from trans-disciplinary research activities may proof the specific relevance of this specific type of research. We would like to reflect on the potential for interventions based on empirical papers, which describe interventions that have been taking place in the context of carrying out TDR, and under what circumstances that happened.

  • Which kinds of interventions take place in TDR?
  • How can TDR be designed in order to allow for interventions?

3. Societal relevance of trans-disciplinary research: TDR is considered being a useful tool for solving complex ‘real world’ problems. The added value of this mode of research is often ascribed to its societal relevance and a high potential for societal impact. In this session we want to discuss the societal relevance on the basis of concrete cases.

  • How do specific cases illuminate the societal relevance of TDR-activities?
  • Which methodological tools can be applied to assess the societal relevance of TDR?

The sessions will be affiliated to the final conference of the project “Sustainable behavior at work and in private life” organized in parallel to the IAS-STS conference.

‘Sustainable behavior at work and in private life’ – final conference
The first part of the conference deals with the specific characteristics and quality criteria of trans-disciplinary research projects. The experiences gained in the project ‘Sustainable behavior at work and in private life’ are contrasted with contributions of other researchers in the field of sustainability. The second part of the conference is limited to the German speaking audience and will be organized as a half-day workshop. The main inputs and conclusions will be summarized and fed back to the IAS-STS conference.

Energy and Climate
Presentations in this field should develop appropriate measures and strategies for the promotion of renewable energy sources and for the transition to a sustainable energy system. Regional governance, climate policy strategies, innovation policy, technology assessment, and the role of users in the area of energy technologies should play an important role.

Special Session 3: “How do you manage? Unravelling the situated practice of environmental management”
People manage their environments, all of us in everyday life, and some more specifically as professionals. Many of the decisions we take and activities we practice, in everyday life as well as in professional roles, have consequences on our environments. In order to explore more sustainable ways of living in this world, however, we need to better understand these various forms of environmental management. This session will discuss environmental management as a practice, as a situated unfolding of social relationships, desires, routines, and materials. Thereby, we aim to gain insight into some of the processes by which sustainability and unsustainability are being produced.
Contributions to this session may address, but need not be limited, to the following questions: How do people “manage” their environments in everyday life? How do those who are explicitly considered environmental managers understand their mission, opportunities and limitations? How do particular forms of knowledge, organizations and implementation instruments structure the engagement of the “manager” and her subject matter? And how does this subject matter itself figure as an active participant in the process?
The session is organised by IFZ in cooperation with the Environment, Management and Society research group (http://www.ems-research.org).

Information and Communication Technologies
The fifth focus of the conference will be put on novel developments based on ICT from an STS perspective. Topics like ICT and agency, ubiquitous computing or ICT and mobility shall be analysed with respect to their wider social and political implications. Further issues of interest are the social shaping of ICT developments, innovation policies, risk management and participatory approaches to the design of ICT systems and applications.


The 10th IAS-STS conference invites all current and former fellows of the Institute for Advanced Studies as well as other interested researchers in the area of science and technology studies. The conference provides a forum to discuss on a broad variety of topics in the STS field and especially papers are encouraged which include some aspects of the above mentioned conference themes.

Abstracts should include no more than 250 words, comprising detailed contact information, affiliation and specification of the conference theme you are referring to. Submission of abstracts should please be send to conference@ifz.tugraz.at by Monday, January 24th, 2011.

We also appreciate proposals for poster presentations and specific sessions in the line with the conference themes. Proposals for sessions shall include a preliminary title of the session, names of possible speakers and a short outline on the issues to be discussed (max. 250 words) and should be send to the above mentioned email address by Monday, January 24th, 2011.

We also welcome participants attending the conference without presenting a paper themselves.

Conference fees
100 € (including conference folder, coffee breaks, lunch sessions)

No conference fees for current fellows of the IAS-STS fellowship programme 2010/11 and for graduate or PhD students.

Grants covering conference fees
Participants from central, eastern and south-eastern Europe may apply for a reduction or exemption from conference fees. Please announce your application in the online registration form, which will be available soon after confirmation of accepted abstracts. Registration will be open until Friday, April 1st, 2011.

Grants partly covering travel expenses
We can offer grants partly covering travel expenses for:

  • graduate or PhD students
  • participants from central, eastern and south-eastern Europe

Up to 50 percent of the travel costs with a maximum amount of 100 € can be reimbursed.

Participants from developing countries can apply for a reimbursement for 50 % their travel expenses up to a maximum amount of € 500.

If you would like to apply for a travel grant, please checkmark it in the registration form. Reimbursement for travel expenses will be given only after submitting your original tickets (eg. train, flight tickets etc.).

Registration for the 10th IAS-STS conference on "Critical Issues in Science and Technology Studies" will be open until Friday, April 1st, 2011. The online registration form will be accessible by the beginning of February 2011.

Registration "Sustainable behavior at work and in private life" - final conference, 2nd May 2011, 2.00-5.00 pm:
For registration please contact Ulrike Seebacher
Participation for the final conference is free of charge. Please note, that this session will be held in German.

Conference Venue
IFZ- Inter-University Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture
Schlögelgasse 2
8010 Graz, Austria

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