danah boyd at 4s East

29 Jan, 2024

danah boyd at 4s East

Alum danah boyd is a Partner Researcher at Microsoft Research and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Georgetown University. She's also the founder of Data & Society. She is an academic and a scholar, and my research examines the intersection between technology and society.

danah will be part of 4s East 2024, in which, alongside Janet Verstesi from Princeton University, the pair will examine the role that institutional arrangements play in shaping science and technology by interrogating what happens when institutions are threatened or collapse.

Institutions have lifecycles but they are also actors within complex sociotechnical arrangements. When institutions collapse or disintegrate (or are strategically undermined), scientific and technical projects that depend on or are entangled with institutions are also threatened. Institutions, after all, are organizational infrastructure that help create the conditions for a range of science and technology efforts. Studies of sociotechnical failures often highlight the organizational conditions that make "normal accidents", legitimacy crises, and disasters possible. Meanwhile, sociologists often note how "permanently failing organizations" allow sociotechnical projects to persist despite weaknesses in specific organizations. There is also a wide array of scholarship that emphasizes how scientific advancements and technical innovation are made possible through particular institutional arrangements. But what happens to scientific and technical work when institutions breakdown? In this panel, The two invite contributions that investigate how the conditions created by collapsing institutions affect scientific and technical work.

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