According to both traditional positivist approaches and also to the sociology of scientific knowledge, social analysts should not themselves become involved in the controversies they are investigating. But the experiences of the authors in studying contemporary scientific controversies—specifically, over the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, fluoridation, and vitamin C and cancer—show that analysts, whatever their intentions, cannot avoid being drawn into the fray. The field of controversy studies needs to address the implications of this process for both theory and practice.
Dissenters from the dominant views about vaccination sometimes are subject to adverse actions, including abusive comment, threats, formal complaints, censorship, and deregistration, a phenomenon that can be called suppression of dissent. Three types of cases are examined: scientists and physicians; a high-profile researcher; and a citizen campaigner. Comparing the methods used in these different types of cases provides a preliminary framework for understanding the dynamics of suppression in terms of vulnerabilities.
Being Indigenous and operating in an institution such as a university places us in a complex position. The premise of decolonizing history, literature, curriculum, and thought in general creates a tenuous space for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to confront a shared colonial condition. What does decolonization mean for Indigenous peoples? Is decolonization an implied promise to squash the tropes of coloniality? Or is it a way for non-Indigenous people to create another paradigm or site for their own resistance or transgression (...) of thinking? What are the roles of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in this space of educational potential, this curriculum called decolonization? This article presents a multi-vocal reflection on these and related questions. (shrink)
The author uses personal experiences to introduce the view that the critique of science, on entering the academy in the form of the sociology of scientific knowledge, has become increasingly remote from crucial social issues and social movements confronting it. By linking their analyses more with such issues and movements, science studies scholars can serve a more useful social purpose and also reinvigorate their theory.
Universities are seldom lauded publicly for maintaining good processes and practices; instead, media stories commonly focus on shortcomings. Furthermore, universities, even when doing everything right, sometimes are unfairly targeted for criticism in circumstances in which making a public defence is difficult. A prominent case at the University of Wollongong shows how defending a university’s integrity can be hampered by confidentiality requirements, lack of public understanding of thesis examination processes and of disciplinary expectations, and university procedures not designed for extraordinary attacks. (...) The implication is that there can be value in fostering greater awareness of the ways that universities and disciplinary fields operate, and reconsidering procedures with an eye towards possible attacks, both external and internal. (shrink)
There has been extensive work in the space of Indigenous epistemological approaches to research. Because Australian Indigenous peoples have been researched significantly, there are guidelines around the ethical and cultural conduct of this type of research. Via investigating the Academy’s approach to research in general, we can illuminate the vast differences between empirical approaches to research from the ‘West’ compared to knowledge acquisition and sharing through ‘relationality’ from an Indigenous perspective. This paper investigates this dichotomy and brings into question the (...) premise of power and value attributed to each approach, arguing that this is still not an equal ascription. This paper posits a reconfiguration of approaches to research as a way of extending on research in general, and provides a platform of how Indigenous knowledges can extend on and reconfigure, in a positive way, approaches to research. (shrink)
Insight into the relation between technology and society can be obtained by imagining that the world is organized differently and then determining how technology would be different. This approach is illustrated by discussion of three alternative worlds: one in which defense is carried out by nonviolent methods, one in which there is no intellectual property, and one in which workers control decisions about their work.
Proponents and opponents of euthanasia have argued passionately about whether it should be legalized. In Australia in the mid-1990s, following the world’s first legal euthanasia deaths, Dr. Philip Nitschke initiated a different approach: a search for do-it-yourself technological means of dying with dignity. The Australian government has opposed this effort, especially through heavy censorship. The citizen efforts led by Nitschke have the potential to move the euthanasia issue from a debate about legalization to a struggle over technology.
Two contrasting theories-actor-network theory and nondecision making-are separately applied to the same case study, namely, technologies for automatically identifying road vehicles. By this process, the strengths and weaknesses of each approach are highlighted: The actor-network approach is useful for understanding local processes but lacks tools for easily illuminating patterns across countries; by contrast, the concept of nondecision making is useful for explaining the general lack of implementation of technology for automatic vehicle identification but not for explaining variations between developments in (...) different countries. This study highlights the importance of attempting to compare theories by using the same case study. (shrink)
This paper explores my personal journey of where, when, and how I have “landed” to now. It is a sketch of my intellectual development and the impact of cross-cultural sources on my work, my thinking, and my visual practice. I follow a chronological way of looking at how I became informed about philosophy, art history, practice, and Indigenous ways of knowing for the sake of clarity. Although one’s life is not linear and operates in a more cyclic way, I reveal (...) how I was influenced by the diverse lived experiences from childhood up until now. (shrink)