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Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process



    CSISP, the Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process, is an active interdisciplinary research centre based in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths. CSISP supports work in the broad area of science, technology, society and the environment. It hosts events, research, and projects that examine the role of 'invention’ - and related terms, 'innovation', technology, discovery, change - in social and public life, and aims to facilitate collaboration and intervention across disciplines and practices that touch on the social broadly conceived: design and social science, computing and sociology, issue advocacy and social methods, biomedicine and social research, the arts and environmental science.



    This year CSISP will host a new series of the CSISP Salon.

    The series' working title is 'Performance: Methods and Problems' and it will be co-organised by Sveta Milyaeva, Noortje Marres, Vera Ehrenstrein, David Moats.

    The first session will be on "Not Retiring from STS" and will take place on Wednesay 12 November, 4 to 5:30, in WT1204.


    Symposium: Repeat! The Logics of Exercises, Trainings, Tests and Rehearsals

    5-7 November, Goldsmiths

    Organised by Michael Guggenheim, Joe Deville and Zuzana Hrdlickova

    Keynote speakers: Tracy C. Davis (Northwestern University) and Jörg Potthast (Institut für
    Soziologie, Technische Universität Berlin).

    Funded by the ERC starting grant project: Organizing Disaster. Civil Protection and the Population

    Exercises, tests and forms of training occur in many different places. Sporting and musical activity consists largely in training, with the actual competition or performance only being short-lived. In disaster and emergency preparedness, exercises are often one of the main ways to act, since actual catastrophic events are scarce and hugely complex. Our societies are based on the belief that without testing, bridges would fail, that without rehearsals plays and conference talks would be incoherent, and that without training, football and chess games would rarely feature any clever tactical moves and in disasters there would be no organisational infrastructure in place to help people. And whole professions have emerged whose task it is to create such exercises and forms of testing.

    In this conference we are particularly interested in how these activities use particular knowledges, routines and objects to re-create their absent objects. What all these practices share is the absence of some of the main elements of the phenomenon they are dealing with. Different than the often discussed computer simulation, exercises, practices and tests do not replace the world with a world pared down to computer data. Rather, they recreate it in highly elaborate ways, inventing various objects, technologies and social forms. These range from ball throwing machines, to test apparatuses, to highly specific communities of practice, and even to building entire cities for the purpose of an exercise. Their goal is not to bring the whole world down to one flat digital level, but rather to render a small piece of it actual through various social and material means. The goal here is not realism, but making parts of the world amenable to repeat practice.

    One way much of approaching such renderings of the world within social science and social theory has been to see them as involved in forms of performance or enactment. Following the ethnomethodology of Garfinkel, Goffman’s frame analysis and Turner’s ritual theory, a new wave of social theory has looked with fresh eyes at the enactment of the social and how it may be socially and materially achieved. Many of these ideas conceive of the performative as an ongoing accomplishment. But such a conception often tends to miss a crucial element of the performative: the time-based relationship between preparation and performance. In this conference, we would like to explore this temporal relationship and the social and material effects to which it gives rise, by focusing on the similarities and differences between the full range of social practices that depend on preparation. Rather than extending theories of theatre to the whole of society, therefore, we ask how a certain element of theatre -- the rehearsal --  exists in other social domains, including those of testing, training and the exercise.

    Registration is free, but please register in advance at organising.disaster@gold.ac.uk





    CSISP has a mailing list. If you would like to subscribe, please send an email to csisp@gold.ac.uk

    Content last modified: 23 Oct 2014

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