PANEL SEARCH: URBAN ASSEMBLAGES AND COSMOPOLITICS “Design and displacement – Social studies of science and technology” 17.-20.10.12 Copenhagen


“Design and displacement – Social studies of science and technology”
Biennial Conference of the European Association for the Study of Science
and Technology (EASST) and the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S)
Copenhagen, Denmark
17-20 October, 2012

Deadline: 11 March, 2012

Large technical urban systems have represented a major source of science
and technology study (STS) insight and innovation (e.g. Hommels 2005)

[Ed. See Hommels, A. (2005). “STS and the City. Toward a productive fusion
between STS and urban studies?” Paper presented at the “Urban Science:
Re-Negotiating the Boundaries between Science, Technology and Society?”
workshop, Manchester UK, 12-14 January 2005].

However, the city, urban life, and urban politics have only recently been
subjected to the relentless relationalism of ANT and post-ANT studies. In
this context, the notion of ‘ urban assemblages’ (Farías and Bender 2009,
Blok 2011) has been mobilized to challenge a priori separations between
users-producers of urban space (e.g. expert/lay), and to establish an
explorative inquiry into the ways in which human and nonhuman entities come
together in the city. Focusing on urban assemblages involves depicting the
city as a multiple object, continuously crafted and performed at
distributed sites.

[Ed. Farías, Ignacio & Bender, Thomas (Eds.) (2009) _Urban Assemblages. How
Actor-Network Theory Changes Urban Studies. Questioning Cities_. London/New
York, NY: Routledge, XVII, 333 S.

Anders Blok (2011) “Urban Green Assemblages: An Ant View on Sustainable
City Building Projects” Paper presentation in conference “Linking STS and
the Social Sciences”. Seoul, South Korea.]

The assemblage approach to cities has not gone unnoticed in the larger field
of (critical) urban studies, where passionate debate is taking place about
the knowledge gains of STS and actor-network theory (ANT) (e.g. McFarlane
2011). Much of this debate concerns well-known STS issues of the proper
meaning of ‘politics’. From an assemblage perspective, urban controversy
cannot be reduced to the clash of human interests; rather, city-making
processes resembles a form of object-oriented ‘cosmopolitics’ (Latour
2004). To establish the value of ANT (and STS) approaches to the city, we
need more careful attention to how a common urban cosmos comes to be
constructed in and across multiple sites of human and non-human practice.

[Ed. Colin McFarlane (2011) “Assemblage and Critical Urbanism.” _CITY_

Bruno Latour (2004) “Whose Cosmos? Which Cosmopolitics? A Commentary on
Ulrich Beck’s Peace Proposal” _Common Knowledge_ 10(3): 450-462.]

We welcome all paper presentations which, on the basis of empirical research,
aims to further develop an assemblage approach to city-making and/or the
study of urban cosmopolitics.

Please submit your abstract electronically via the webpage of the

The deadline for abstract submissions is March 11.
For further information contact:

Ignacio Farias ( or
Anders Blok (

Ignacio Farias
Senior Researcher
Cultural Sources of Newness Research Unit
Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB)

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