MUSTS Research Themes

Practices of Collaborative Research and Innovation

Networks of Knowledge Production and Consumption

Scientific theories rely on networks of humans, practices and things in order to gain traction. In line with the internationalist and universalist ambitions of late-modern science, these networks increasingly span the globe. In this sub-theme, we explore the development of border-crossing networks of knowledge production and consumption. We focus on the globalisation of science and technology, the institution-building and standardization practices this involves, as well as the relative autonomy, resilience and revival of local practices of knowledge production.

Special attention is paid to the relative inclusiveness (or exclusiveness) of the networks of knowledge production and circulation. As such, we examine, for instance, the active involvement of consumers in the development of science and technology as well as the changing ideals and practices of ‘open science’. Finally, we explore the role of non-human agents in scientific networks – ranging from devices over built infrastructures to living organisms and ecologies. In this way, the sub-theme questions dichotomies between the universal and the local, and human and non-human agency.

Coordinator: Prof. Raf de Bont

Networks of Knowledge Production and Consumption

Embodied Expertise in Art, Science and Medicine

Developing expertise in domains such as art, music, science, engineering and medicine, whether as an individual or a group, has always been an embodied process of learning amidst technologies. Artists train their perceptive skills while performing and making with materials. Scientists’ experiments involve complex skilled interactions between humans, organisms and objects. Doctors train to know the body, through their senses and with technologies.

MUSTS projects in this subtheme build upon decades of scholarship in this area, extending beyond the existing focus in STS on tacit knowledge to contribute new theoretical and empirical insights into how bodies, technologies (digital and non-digital), and knowledge are co-created. Research explores issues such as: the interaction between the experts’ authority and their skills, and the negotiated boundaries between subjectivity and objectivity in sensory knowledge production. Working on such topics requires new research methods to study embodied expertise, including artistic research, re-enactments, online and multisensory ethnography.

Coordinator: Dr. Anna Harris

Embodied expertise in art, science and medicine