Below is a selection of publications, and how they relate to the vibe of the lab.

Caring for IT Security: Accountabilities, Moralities, and Oscillations in IT Security Practices.

This publication results out of long-standing co-laborations between Laura and computer science colleagues. The paper uses four empirical vignettes to demonstrate different logics in which cybersecurity is practices. The paper finally unfolds a caring approach to cybersecurity, mobilizing feminist theories of care as well as ethnographic observations of “doing” cybersecurity in practice. These practices of doing cybersecurity are often conflicted, morally ambiguous and ongoing. Not unlinke thinking with rusting landscapes, this paper offers an insight into the practices that maintain and care for imperfect infrastructures instead of falling back to logics of fix, cure or innovation. 

Die Entwicklung und Umsetzung von IT-Sicherheitsstandards als sozialer Aushandlungsprozess

This paper came out of a three-year co-laboration with colleagues from the cryptology department at Ruhr University. Together, we approach crypography and data protection standards as socially embedded and socially productive. This paper worked as a boundary object, making our work accessible to actors in standard setting and advisory boards, while also challenging us to get involved in standardization processes. If standardizing requires attention to the local and situated, how to feed that back into the standardization process?

Facing friction: About waste and globalised inequalities

Facing friction – this is a call for interdisciplinary cooperation, and a focus on globalisation through Anna Tsing’s notion of ‘friction’. This text is part of a special issue co-edited by lab-member Stefan and his dear friend Nicolas Schlitz, while the text serves as a programmatic piece as well as an introduction. Global capitalism has changed drastically during the past three decades. Key to this is its exponential growth, coupled with an enormous production of waste. The resultant ‘global waste problem’ in fact involves different types of waste and gives rise to variegated practices of waste handling at multiple sites. Contrary to the all-embracing notion of a ‘global waste problem’, there is nothing (normatively) equal in the way people are entangled in, and affected by, the production of waste and the processes of wasting. The consequences of waste and pollution are shared unequally, laying the ground for vast injustices. The articles in this issue encourage a more critical and situated understanding of waste-related inequalities and their global connections. Scholars and activists alike need to face frictions through waste in order to make sense of the particular global connections and inequalities related to changing patterns of wasting. Our article is open access.

Digital valuation practices

This text is a creative exchange between two sociologists (lab-member Stefan being one of them), a mathematician, and a computer scientist. The discussion is framed by thought experiments and introduces the topic of digital valuation infrastructures from an experimental perspective. The focus is on the (often invisible) work behind digital infrastructures. The research tradition of network analysis is discussed, disciplinary and interdisciplinary challenges are examined, and an insight is given into current projects of the interviewees. Reports are given on forest fires in Indonesia, which are being processed for the local government with data from Twitter in a UN project, and on mathematical analysis of individuality, which also refers to basic sociological concepts. This article also analyses documents and scientific practices; in the spirit of Science and Technology Studies, it approaches “Science in Action” and its uncertainties.

Ethnographies of Objects in Science and Technology Studies

Objects are central to all of our means of social interaction. Over the past decades Science and Technology Studies have been virtuous in developing methods for studying objects from a social science perspective. The literature often presents results pointing to the social lives of objects along with conceptual discussions of objects and materiality. It rarely discusses in detail the methodological techniques of how to go about actually studying objects. Objects, artefacts or materiality were early on central and even defining for Science and Technology Studies. STS study science together with technology due to the basic insight that science and indeed any knowledge are produced by way of technologies (Latour & Woolgar , 1979). But technology also soon came to be a study in its own terms as it was pointed out that shaping technologies implies building society (Bijker et al. , 1987). From the beginning the methods for studying technology were historical, but also ethnographic. Ethnography seemed particularly useful for reaching beyond understandings of technology as passive tools over which humans have control, and who in themselves lack agency. As it has been shown over and over again, objects and human agency may be separate in discourse and analytics. However when attending to, and particularly when being involved in technological practices, it becomes clear that in practice any definite boundaries between humans and objects often vanish.

Cutting through the layers: Alternating Perspectives and co-laborative analytic Approaches to understanding Occupation and its Objects

In this paper, three qualitative researchers with different professional backgrounds in social anthropology, and occupational therapy and occupational science, present their methodological and theoretical standpoints and resultant analytical approaches on a single set of ethnographic data – an event occurring in an in-patient psychiatric unit. In doing so they propose benefits to and considerations for a practice-based understanding of occupation. Data analysis and synthesis from interdisciplinary multidisciplinary perspectives is a novel approach to the close examination of occupation. The authors present three different analyses drawing from: figured worlds and positive withdrawal, a praxeographic approach to sociomaterial arrangements and social identity focusing on what happens when the everyday is made through occupation. The paper concludes with a discussion and summary on how these three approaches, different in their theoretical perspective, disciplinary and geographical backgrounds, might contradict or complement one another. Multivocal analysis, introducing different theoretical lenses through which to reflect on the construction of the ‘everyday-ness’ in occupation, serve as an impetus towards an empirically drawn understanding of occupation. Additionally, such an approach reveals similarities, differences and complexity that may arise when attempting to locate occupation as the central unit of analysis. The conclusion suggests that cutting through the layers of occupation necessarily provides multiple ontologies.