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Producing accountable sciences : feminist approaches to knowledge construction.

Final Activity Report Summary - ACCOUNTABLE SCIENCES (Producing accountable sciences: feminist approaches to knowledge construction)

Producing accountable sciences. Feminist approaches to knowledge (ACCOUNTABLE SCIENCES) is a unique contribution to alternative conceptions of science and academic knowledge production. It foregrounds different avenues for considering commitments to social, ethical and political accountability as concomitant to the practices of science and academic scholarship.

Methodologically daring the project is grounded in philosophy but implements a multidisciplinary approach that draws upon social and cultural studies of science as well as political theory and draws upon scholarly debates, discursive areas and bodies of research which are not commonly brought together for the discussion of science. The project implements a definition of accountable science resulting from an original articulation of feminist politically minded constructivism and practice oriented philosophies.

Accountable sciences would validate as part of what they encompass within the scope of their consequential knowledge the following requisites:
1) to keep track of and account for processes contributing to its construction, development and validation (including disciplinary, political and social material articulations that contribute to the possibilities of its existence)
2) to cultivate awareness of its situated character- i.e. accounting of its partiality, its limits, engagements, constrains and its insertion in specific trajectories
3) to promote respectful interdependency and dialogue among knowledge practices (disciplinary, local, cultural)
4) to engage with knowledge production in responsible and responsive ways, i.e. not only aiming observation/description of nature, society and practice but exploring the potential for transformation in the observed terrains - e.g. the everyday effects of techno-science.

Finally, re-interrogating accountability from the perspective of feminist knowledge politics, this research recommends increased attention regarding the conditions of possibility of ethics within contemporary scholarship regarding the nature of scientific practices. Whether this is normative epistemology, the description of science and technology as social practices in science studies, or ethics and applied philosophies oriented towards technoscience these domains of multidisciplinary thinking, practice and institutional implementation are in technoscience oriented societies called to make an important contribution to the reconfiguration of life.

The project's results are:
the development of an original approach to feminist epistemology, the mapping and foregrounding of feminist approaches in social studies of science the articulation of an ethically minded constructivist approach into the field social studies of science.

Among the most salient outcomes of the project are:
a special issue Feminist Science Studies: Re-tooling subjectivities, Subjectivity 28, August 2009 (co-edited with Dr. W. Bauchspies) which introduces cutting edge in the field of contemporary feminist STS
a book chapter, Thinking-with-care, in NatureCultures, Thinking with Donna Haraway, (MIT Press, 2010)
two forthcoming papers: Touching Technologies, touching visions. The remaking of sensorial experience and the politics of speculative thinking (forthcoming in Subjectivity, 28)
Matters of care. Science studies and the weariness of critical constructivism Social Studies of Science (under review)
a book manuscript in French Penser nous devons. Problèmes d'épistémologie féministe (under editorial consideration), an unprecedented monography on feminist epistemology and science studies
a new research programme, Matters of care. Ethics and politics in science and technology developed in collaboration with the Groupe d'Etudes Constructivistess and researchers at the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University grounds the results of this research within as specific field of highly contested and speculatively inflated field of new genetics of major societal concern: Anti-ageing genetics.
Finally, the fellow's new book proposal, Matters of care is mostly based on the work developed during the fellowship.