Central Question 11

Caitlin and Mo: Question 11
Revisiting our question, I would split it into three different questions that I think encourage the reader to engage more thoroughly with what Fuller means when he discusses ANT, STS, and the current state of both STS and Science. 

HOW is actor network theory well-suited to neo-liberal sensitivities?
IF we do in fact live in a neo-liberal system and ANT is the theory/method best suited for that system, why should we look toward other theories/methods of STS? 
WHAT "sensibilities" would an STS that focuses more on theory than on method (in contrast to ANT) serve? 

The "how" question tasks the reader with explaining Fuller's view of ANT and ANT's relationship to the current state of affairs in science. I think this is the least abstract of the three questions, and as such is good starting point when discussing the reading. 

I think the "if" question is good because it touches on the issue of how things are vs how things ought to be. In other words, should STS strive go fit itself into the current science framework, or should it take a more independent form and try to influence or change how science is practiced? It asks the reader to make a statement about STS' purpose.

Finally, the "what" question encourages the reader to consider other STS perspectives and how science and STS might look different from a different framework. It does not ask the reader to make a value judgement (e.g. "Science is practiced best in a hyper-capitalist system",) but does ask them to consider what science might look like under a different system. While considering these different systems, the reader is also asked to evaluate the way different STS theories might look in each of those systems. 

All of these questions together allow us to explore the same themes of our original question, while avoiding its "yes/no" phrasing, and guiding the reader more directly toward certain discussion points. 

Do you agree with Fuller that “actor network theory promises a politics of science well suited to the neo-liberal sensibilities of our times?” P67

The question pulls together many thoughts of Fuller’s, specifically; the degradation of STS through a lack of philosophy as its studies will become boring and unoriginal (47), and, that science is shifting from one of understanding, advancing and producing knowledge, to that of economic concerns and money making. Fuller states that, “Science turns out to be the most politic form of politics” (63) and that “politics is marketing.” (66)

There is much in this chapter regarding the money making aspects of scientific knowledge and the change in science production from a place of high stature to one of everyday community being concerned with their own issues. Generationally, the scientists’ motivators and driving purposes are changing, along with the manners of education that aspiring scientists receive. The political devolution of science and the large cost of continued investment in “curiosity-driven” science is significantly changing the manner in which science is performed, thereby changing the manner in which science studies is performed. The freedom for younger scientists to easily shift their focus of research rather than continue a line of inquiry speaks to an individualized perspective focused on rewards.

The question asks the reader to consider the value of actor network theory, to consider whether it is a valuable theory in understanding the changing environment in which scientists and STS fieldworkers perform their duties. The question also asks the reader to consider the direction of science research, along with the degree to which politics and money are driving the nature of scientific research and scientific studies.

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