STS scholars working on science, technology and social movements have investigated why and how scientists support and engage in activism. In doing so, they have uncovered that relationships between scientists and activists are often fraught with tensions and that scientists frequently struggle to define their role in relation to social activists and their causes. Building on this literature strand of STS scholarship, this panel asks whether we, as STS scholars, should act as activists for issues and communities on which we conduct research and if so, how. In addition, it seeks to explore the challenges that may arise from engaging in scholar-activism. Said challenges include but are not limited to potential role and identity conflicts as well as incompatibilities between scholarly and activist practices and agendas. Submissions that critically reflect on issues of ethics, positionality, and reflexivity in the context of scholar-activism as well as contributions from STS scholars with experience in navigating the dual role of scholar-activist are particularly welcome.
Hess D, Breyman S, Campbell N, et al. (2008) Science, Technology, and Social Movements. In: Hackett EJ, Amsterdamska O, Lynch M, et al. (eds) The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies. Cambridge, MA; London: The MIT Press, pp.473-498.