STGlobal2008: Day 2 Wrap-Up
It's so interesting going to a conference outside of LIS. I very well might have been the only one there blogging the conference and the one photographer didn't plan to put pictures up on flickr or anything. It's interesting, too, because the European students had incredibly different perspectives on science policy than the Americans did - in particular the Americans interested in defense, space, or national security issues.
The Day 2 Plenary was given by Professor Fabian Muniesa who is at the Ecole des Mines in Paris.
His points were very interesting - he spoke of the current research at his university as an example of the combination of STS and science policy studies and provided a specific example from their current research to highlight this combination.
He spoke of
economizing - meaning saving money, but also meaning making things calculable
politicizing - meaning making things arguable (not in a pejorative sense but to open for public participation - interesting, because clearly this isn't the meaning most people would think of so this might be a cultural translation)
He gave a history of sociology in his engineering school, and spoke of their current efforts with Sciences Po and MIT to develop a pedagogy for the analysis of controversies (see: http://www.demoscience.org/).
The case he gave is the results of a watershed law in France, the LOLF, which is intended to revolutionize, modernize, and reform the financial and budgetary systems. It's sort of like a massive Government Performance & Results Act (GPRA) type thingy, but with the added stress of direct linkages to funding, and a change of the information systems and nomenclature required to do government financial business (wow!). It's deciding on the allocation of funds through missions, objectives, etc., instead of via the pre-existing gov't structure. Another key aspect is the performance indicators --- including scientometrics *using WoS data*. Hm, why is no one on the SIG-metrics list talking about this - or maybe they did a few years ago? So you see, lots of rich research areas there.
Lots of good stuff that I'm not going to bother transcribing from my notes - but interesting about the performativity of indicators... "gaming in targetworld" (see what looks to be a fascinating article by Hood in 2006
). This model and way of describing this phenomenon seems much clearer than "teaching to the test" and others.
The student session was next, and once again lots of interesting stuff -- almost all of us had real issues with timing (I was cut off 2/3 the way through my slides, oops, one guy went so fast he made my head spin) and audience (one guy spent a ton of time showing us pictures of voting machines - which were probably only informative for those living under rocks or, who knows, maybe the people from Europe). I really didn't get much time for feedback, unfortunately. I think my topic was appropriate for the conference, but it definitely could be presented to make
more sense to the attendees. I don't intend to put my slides on slideshare because I'm still planning to do more with the work, but I could send them via e-mail if anyone is interested.