Call for papers
Finnish Society for Science and Technology Studies (FSSTS)
Science studies symposium 2022, Helsinki, June 9-10
Collaboration as social practice

Collaborative research environments and engagements across disciplinary and institutional divides

The necessity of interdisciplinary research collaboration and partnering across professional and institutional divides is 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 in projects that require collaborative skills and knowledge.

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:

1. Track proposals

  • should broadly relate to the CFP themes. The deadline for track proposals (300-450 words) is February 15, 2022. Send you proposal to events@fssts.fi. (See also the suggested track proposals below for inspiration.)

2. 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 events@fssts.fi. The deadline for these submissions is April 1, 2022.

3. Suggested tracks (preliminary suggestions; these can be appropriated):

  • 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 possibility of transdisciplinarity? Can interdisciplinary collaboration lead to fusion of disciplinary concerns and approaches, and to truly novel perspectives and research initiatives? Do we have examples 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 conference website

Other considerations:

  • The meeting welcomes any novel and inspired ways of organizing panel sessions.
  • Summer school for junior scholars doing work in science studies. The summer school is on day one of the Symposium and organized by FSSTS separately. Date 8.6.2022 at Metsätalo (details TBC).
  • FSSTS Master’s thesis award in STS will be presented at the conference.