Ethnographic invention: Probing the capacity of laboratory decisions [Book Review]

NanoEthics 1 (2):155-165 (2007)
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Abstract

In an attempt to shape the development of nanotechnologies, ethics policy programs promote engagement in the hope of broadening the scope of considerations that scientists and engineers take into account. While enhancing the reflexivity of scientists theoretically implies changes in technoscientific practice, few empirical studies demonstrate such effects. To investigate the real-time effects on engineering research practices, a laboratory engagement study was undertaken to specify the interplay of technical and social considerations during the normal course of research. The study employed an ethnographic invention in the form of a decision model to structure reflection on ongoing social processes. A short series of interactions with one engineering researcher illustrates the deployment of the model in the form of an interview protocol. The cultural embedment of the protocol allowed it to function as a feedback mechanism, creating a more self-critical environment for knowledge production, and perturbing the system in research-tolerable ways.

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References found in this work

The Mangle of Practice.Andrew Pickering & Jed Z. Buchwald - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (3):479-482.
Midstream Modulation of Technology: Governance From Within.Carl Mitcham, Roop L. Mahajan & Erik Fisher - 2006 - Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society 26 (6):485-496.
Beamtimes and Lifetimes.Sharon Traweek (ed.) - 1988 - Harvard University Press.

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