Collaboration as social practice
Collaborative research environments and engagements across disciplinary and
The necessity of interdisciplinary research collaboration and partnering across professional and
institutional divides is a mainstream discourse in today’s academic culture. Funders are keen to
support collaboration for innovative results and effective scientific and technological solutions that
match the complexity of societal problems. Below this general desire for interdisciplinarity, the
aspects, benefits, and problems of actuating collaboration across disciplinary and institutional
divides are a matter of situated practices, conventions, and tacit understandings of how
collaboration can be made to work – if it can be made to work. Especially without prior experience,
the organization and practicalities of such endeavors are hard to fathom, yet most scholars are at
some point likely to find themselves working on projects that require collaborative skills and
Are these engagements and collaborations delivering what they promise? What are the promises?
How do we collaborate? What triumphs, difficulties, and challenges are typical to these
arrangements in practice?
The 2022 FSSTS symposium has a dual purpose:
1) to bring together and present to the participants a broad representation of today’s
collaborative research and its environments in Finland and abroad
2) to share examples, experiences, visions, and plans of those working in collaborative
arrangements, be they theoretical, methodological, or empirical in character
By creating a shared awareness of existing research collaboration, the used practical
methodologies and promises and challenges met, the symposium supports research collaboration
across disciplinary, professional, and institutional divides.
We invite both 1) track proposals for panel sessions and 2) individual presentation proposals:
- Track proposals
• Should broadly relate to the CFP themes. The deadline for track proposals (300-450 words)
is February 15, 2022. Send your proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org. (See also the suggested track
proposals below for inspiration.)
- Individual presentations
• We invite individual presentations (10-15 minutes) relating to the CFP themes –
presentations can be A) individual presentations, or B) they can be directed to the
suggested tracks. Please submit an abstract of max 250 words to email@example.com. The
deadline for these submissions is April 1, 2022.
- Suggested tracks (preliminary suggestions; these can be appropriated for track proposals):
• Thematic considerations. How do we address specific societal challenges through
collaboration concerning, for example, vaccination refusal, artificial intelligence in society,
environmental degradation, political polarization, climate crisis, or genetics in public
health and social governance? How do commercial interests figure in collaboration? How
has the Covid-19 pandemic affected collaboration?
• Methodological reflections on collaboration. How do we design good collaboration
projects and practices? What skills and knowledge do we require to collaborate?
• The promise of transdisciplinary approaches? Can interdisciplinary collaboration lead
to fusion of disciplinary concerns and approaches, and to truly novel perspectives and
research initiatives? What examples do we have of such processes?
• The role of affects and affective labor in research collaboration. E.g., disconcertment
might be positive or negative driver in collaboration, either thwarting work or alerting the
participants to novel perceptions and opportunities.
• How does gender feature in collaboration? Are there differences between types of
collaborative relationships, for example, between certain disciplines or across institutional
divides? Is collaborative knowledge production itself gendered?
• Collaboration and societal impact. What are the benefits deriving from collaboration in
impact creation? For example, how can social sciences enhance the impact of legal
scholarship, and vice versa?
• Research ethics in collaboration: sharing the burden, sharing the credit. Collaborating
disciplines might have different ideas based on disciplinary conventions. Perceptions
might also depend on a very partial understanding of other disciplines, and thus of what
constitutes a research contribution.
• Devising ethical rules for professional practice. For example, what kind of ethics is
needed in medicine? Who are or should be participating in devising ethical rules, and how?
• Collaboration stories – reflections on ethnographic encounters in collaborative research
projects. Narratives of collaboration are a powerful means of conveying examples of
success and failure and provide empirical material for discussion
Date and Venue
The symposium takes place in Helsinki June 9-10, 2022 (Thursday and Friday).
The venue is Metsätalo, Unioninkatu 40, 00170 Helsinki.
See the meeting website: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/conferences/collaboration-social-practice
for keynotes and other information.
- Petri Ylikoski (University of Helsinki): Seeing like an administrator: facilitating interdisciplinarity from above
- Felicity Callard (University of Glasgow): Collaborative Work: Reproduction, Kinship, and Exploitation
- Salla Sariola (University of Helsinki): How do we collaborate? Creating new knowledge relations in social sciences
- Antti Silvast (Technical University of Denmark): A Sociology of Interdisciplinarity: The Dynamics of Energy Research
- The meeting welcomes novel and inspired ways of organizing panel sessions.
- Summer school for junior scholars doing work in science studies. The summer school is organized by FSSTS on June 8 (details TBC, see the meeting website for more).
- The FSSTS Master’s thesis award in STS will be presented at the conference.
2019 4th Nordic Science and Technology Studies Conference
Conference: June 13-14, 2019
Pre-Conference: June 12, 2019
Tampere University, Finland
The field of science and technology studies (STS) has become increasingly prominent in the Nordic countries. The purpose of the biennial Nordic STS conference is to promote the exchange of ideas and collaboration among STS scholars by providing a regional forum for presenting on-going research, networking, and initiating new ideas and conversations.
The Nordic STS conference has been organized since 2013. We are happy to announce the 4th Nordic STS conference to be held at Tampere University, Finland, on June 13-14, 2019. A pre-conference workshop for junior researchers will take place on June 12th.
Keynote speakers of the conference are:
Professor Harro van Lente, Maastricht University
Associate Professor Mianna Meskus, Tampere University
Professor Maria Nedeva, University of Manchester
Conference on Facebook
The Finnish Society for Science and Technology Studies
Research Center for Knowledge, Science, Technology, and Innovation Studies (TaSTI)
Reetta Muhonen, Tampere University (Chair)
Otto Auranen, Academy of Finland
Ismo Kantola, University of Turku
Elina I. Mäkinen, Tampere University
Minna Saariketo, Aalto University
Kristin Asdal, University of Oslo
C-F Helgesson, Linköping University/Uppsala University
Sampsa Hyysalo, Aalto University
Christopher Gad, IT-University of Copenhagen
STS symposium 2018: Ideals and practice of interdisciplinary research
Venue: University of Tampere, Finland
Date: Symposium June 14-15, 2018
Jane Calvert, University of Edinburgh
Caterina Marchionni, University of Helsinki
Jaana Parviainen, University of Tampere
Juha Tuunainen, University of Oulu
Evolution and institutionalization of distinct scientific disciplines and consequent specialization of knowledge production are persistent patterns of scientific research, but they are counter-balanced by researchers’ attempts to engage problems and phenomena that fall between the boundaries of established disciplines, thus requiring interdisciplinary research efforts and collaboration. Some scholars argue that interdisciplinary research has grown in recent decades at the expense of traditional disciplines. Interdisciplinarity also has an established position in a variety of current policy discourses. From research strategies of faculties and institutions to research funders’ policies of encouraging collaboration among disciplines, interdisciplinarity has been given a role in defining the conditions and quality of research and as a key for solving complex societal problems.
This conference explores a gap between how interdisciplinarity is discussed and how it occurs in mundane academic practices. The ideals and strive for interdisciplinarity often meet tensions deriving from both the dynamics of the academic community and the broader research environment. These tensions range from epistemological and methodological differences among researchers with various disciplinary backgrounds to discipline-based institutional settings and practices of research evaluations and academic recruitment. What are the things motivating researchers in conducting interdisciplinary research? What’s in it for them? How does interdisciplinarity work in everyday research relations and collaboration?
Besides paying attention to the gap between academic practices and the way we discuss interdisciplinarity, we want to arouse discussion on the disciplinary-specific nature of the phenomenon. Rather than emphasizing the same goal of interdisciplinarity for all, we need critical thinking and an understanding of interdisciplinary practices in different disciplines. While an interdisciplinary approach is worthwhile to pursue in some fields, it may be more profitable for other disciplines to concentrate on disciplinary research.
STS Symposium 2017: Experimentation and Evidence
Place: House of Science and Letters, Helsinki.
The Finnish Society for Science and Technology Studies and The Finnish Association for Medical Law and Ethics; Funded by The Federation of Finnish Learned Societies
Barbara Prainsack, King’s College London
Michael Guggenheim, Goldsmiths, University of London
Ilpo Helén, University of Eastern Finland
Eeva Luhtakallio, University of Tampere
The 2017 symposium for science and technology studies titled ”Experimentation and Evidence” calls for papers examining the ontological, epistemological, and practical issues in the process of creating, validating, and revising knowledge.
Science studies have rendered science as a social and cultural practice. Classic STS studies have described upstream “truth factories” such as laboratories and the processes of producing knowledge, while others have taken a downstream perspective to examine the social and political effects of such knowledge. However, increasingly making and arguing for a political, administrative, or corporate decision requires more often than not drawing on items of knowledge (conventionally called ‘facts’) for support (legitimacy, justification), regardless of whether the decision concerns a public issue or is made in a laboratory, court of law, financial or medical institution, or in some other closed social domain.
What makes all this very interesting is that in many of these occasions that require choosing, the ‘facts’ are based on experimental methodology or research design. Actually, the experimental methodology may well be in contradiction with the common idea that decision-making should be based on reliable facts. As the experiments in our focus now tend to be on the cutting edge of knowledge, resulting ‘facts’ may be less secure than expected.
How, then, does one arrive at a credible ‘fact’ in any of these contexts? What constitutes, through which kind of hierarchies of authority and lobbying, evidence in different contexts, and how do ‘facts’ translate when traveling across epistemic boundaries between different social domains? How and why is the relevance of experimentation and experimental research design in different social domains argued for? How have the relations between experimentation and evidence changed historically, and how does the current cultural, intellectual, and moral climate (Zeitgeist) influence their interrelation? How do social movements’ knowledge claims relate to mobilizing citizens’ experiences for governmental purposes?
Tieteen- ja teknologiantutkimuksen symposiumi: Asiantuntijuus ja sen jännitteet
Paikka: Tieteiden talo, Kirkkokatu 6, Helsinki
Professori Steven Yearley, Edinburghin yliopisto
Principal Scientist Maria Åkerman, VTT
Järjestäjä: Suomen tieteen- ja teknologiantutkimuksen seura
Tieteen- ja teknologiantutkimuksen symposiumi: Digitalisoituminen ja tiede
Helsinki, 9.6.2015 Aika: Klo 10.15-17
Paikka: Helsingin yliopisto, Metsätalo, Unioninkatu 40
Reader Dhiraj Murthy, Goldsmiths, University of London: We can’t
afford to ignore social media research: How social media help to
understand the modern social world
Professori Timo Honkela, Helsingin yliopisto: Computational modeling of human culture and understanding for humanities and social sciences
Järjestäjä: Suomen tieteen- ja teknologiantutkimuksen seura