Events Archive

In this section


CISP (formerly CSISP) events range from one-off seminars and one- and two-year long seminar series to practice-based workshops, conferences and symposia. Through our events researchers and practitioners from different disciplines and fields come together to explore and develop research collaborations.

CISP also welcomes people not affiliated to Goldsmiths, University of London.



The Event of Invention: Deleuze and the Art of Experimentation 

23 November 2016

5-7pm, DTH 109, Goldsmiths University of London
The work of Gilles Deleuze has been a great source of inspiration for those interested in the nature, meaning and practice of invention and experimentation. Aside from the conceptual resources that his philosophy affords for rethinking these themes, Deleuze’s work also has much to tell us about the manner in which invention and experimentation involve an interplay of metaphysical, socio-political, scientific and aesthetic dimensions. In this session we will discuss a number of these intersections, including the ‘evental’ nature of invention, the creative capacity of repetition, and the claim that ‘invention has no cause’. Efforts will also be made to excavate key influences on Deleuze’s thoughts about experimentation, including the essayist/poet Charles Péguy and the important philosopher of biology and informatics Raymond Ruyer.

Craig Lundy is a Senior Lecturer in Social Theory at Nottingham Trent University. The majority of Craig’s research has been concerned with processes of transformation – an interest that he has pursued through cross-disciplinary projects that explore and make use of developments in complexity studies, socio-political theory and 19th/20th century European philosophy. He is the author of History and Becoming: Deleuze’s Philosophy of Creativity (2012), Deleuze’s Bergsonism (forthcoming) and co-editor with Daniela Voss of At the Edges of Thought: Deleuze and Post-Kantian Philosophy (2015), all published by Edinburgh University Press.

Jon Roffe is a Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of New South Wales, whose work is currently focused on the nature of money. The co-editor of a number of books on twentieth century and contemporary French philosophy, he is the author of Badiou’s Deleuze (Acumen 2012), Abstract Market Theory (Palgrave 2015) and Lacan Deleuze Badiou (EUP 2014) with AJ Bartlett and Justin Clemens. He has two forthcoming books on Deleuze: Gilles Deleuze’s Empiricism and Subjectivity (EUP 2016), and The Works of Gilles Deleuze (re-press 2017).

This is a Centre for the Invention of Social Process (CISP) seminar. To subscribe or unsubscribe to CISP please mail:  Cisp (

The New Experimentalisms

Tuesday, September 20 2016, 10-5pm

Room RHB 137a

A one day workshop at CISP/Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London

Organised by Michael Guggenheim, Dan Neyland, Alex Wilkie

Recent Science and Technology Studies (STS) work on experiments has provided a basis for rethinking the terms, practices and consequences of experimentation. This has opened up opportunities to question, for example, experimental controls, provocative containments, training and professional practice. This work has also broadened the traditional STS focus on scientific laboratories to also include economic, social scientific and commercial experimentation, exploring new territories of experimentation and their attendant means of reproducing the world.

At the same time, scholars in STS, Sociology, Anthropology and Design have pursued experiments not just as an object of study, but also as something to do. Here we find, for example, experiments with algorithmic walks, expertise and issues. An earlier critique of experiments as artificial and interventionist has given way to a new embracing of material staging of situations and problems.

Social researchers have come to acknowledge we can learn precisely because of the non-naturalism of experiments. Experiments have become legitimate forms to intervene in the world, and to invent new worlds.  In this way STS scholars have begun to think again about the realities in which they participate. In this workshop we will feature recent experimenters within STS with scholars who have analysed experiments in specific fields.

The Ethics of Creativity in an Ugly World

Wednesday 31st May 2017 | 4-6pm RHB 137A, Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths, University of London

Brian G. Henning, Professor, Philosophy and Environmental Studies, Gonzaga University

In the opening decade of this new millennium, long-simmering conflicts have exploded into a rolling ball of fear, hostility, and violence. Dogmatism in its various forms seems to be on the rise as the rhetoric and reality of compromise and consensus building is replaced with the vitriol of moral superiority and righteousness. Given a world fraught with such conflict and tension, what is needed is not a moral philosophy that dogmatically advances absolute moral codes. More than ever, what is needed is an ethic that is dynamic, fallible, and situated, yet not grossly relativistic. What is needed, I suggest is a moral philosophy grounded in Alfred North Whitehead’s philosophy of organism. A moral philosophy inspired by, though not dogmatically committed to, Whitehead’s organic, beauty-centred conception of reality.

Discussant: Martin Savransky, Director of Unit of Play, Goldsmiths, University of London

Chaired by Professor Marsha Rosengarten, Co-Director Centre for Invention and Social Process



Palestinian Academics: Reality and Hope under Occupation


Wednesday 19th May 2017 | 2-5.30pm RHB 137A, Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths, University of London

This year marks 50 years of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories- Palestinian West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, and over 100 years of the dispossession of Palestine and Palestinians across historic Palestine. A situation that demands attention yet is more often than not staged through media reporting as compromising only of two opposing sides and without hope. In this seminar we forge a discussion with Palestinian scholars whose entire lives have been subjected to the Occupation and whose experience of studying in the UK as part of a British Council initiative ‘Higher Education Scholarship Palestine’ (HESPAL) furnishes new possibilities for their future and that of their country Palestine.


Karam Abughazale, HESPAL scholar, Sussex University

Ashjan Ajour, HESPAL scholar, Goldsmiths

Sahahr Alshobaki, HESPAL scholar, Kings College

Alessia Bergmeijer, Goldsmiths Palestine Society

Sufian Fannoun, HESPAL scholar, University of Chester

Afnan Jabr Alqadri, HESPAL scholar, Saint Mary University

Merna Kassis, British Council Palestinian Territories

Maram Khaled, HESPAL scholar, Birmingham University

David Oswell, Professor in Sociology, Goldsmiths

Annie Pfingst, Visiting Research Fellow, Sociology, Goldsmiths

Marsha Rosengarten, Professor in Sociology, Co-Director CISP, Goldsmiths

Juhayna Taha, HESPAL scholar, Edinburgh University and the British Council



Posthuman Subjectivity and Ethics Reading Group

CSISP Reading Group
January 20, 2016
3pm-5pm, Warmington Tower 1204

What does it mean to be human in an age of technological transformation, environmental degradation, emerging epidemics, and ubiquitous capitalism? Who counts as a subject in contemporary sciences, politics, and other means of world-making?

In a reading group on posthuman subjectivity and ethics, we wish to explore these questions through the writings of Barad, Braidotti, Derrida, Haraway, and Wolfe, among others. We hope to bring together scholars from different disciplines and departments at Goldsmiths. Starting in January, we will meet once a month during the spring of 2016.

At the first meeting on January 20th (3pm-5pm, Warmington Tower 1204), we will discuss Derrida’s The Animal That Therefore I Am (2008). We look forward to seeing you.

For further details contact Hanna Sjögren, visitor at the Centre for Cultural Studies or Baki Cakici, Sociology

Studio Studies: Operations, Topologies and Displacements


The Event Of The Public: Convolutions Of Aesthetic And Epistemic Practice

Joint conference of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) and European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST).


Mike Michael (University of Sydney)
Gay Hawkins (Western Sydney University)
Kane Race (University of Sydney)
Alex Wilkie (Goldsmiths, University of London)


This track aims to explore the role of the aesthetic in epistemic practices with particular reference to the ways in which ‘publics’ or ‘scientific citizens’ are enacted. While STS has long explored how the epistemic practices of knowledge-making can be linked to a heterogeneous range of other practices (social, ethical, economic, political, care-ful, corporeal, affective, etc.), the place of aesthetic practices has been relatively neglected.

The proposed theme aims to examine the role of the aesthetic in the epistemic, with particular reference to the ways in which ‘publics’ are enacted or eventuated. More concretely we can pose such questions as: what counts as ‘aesthetic practice’ and how does this relate to other practices (for example, of care, affect, social)? how do the aesthetics of a technoscientific artifact or assemblage (eg a plastic water bottle, smart monitor, or alternative systems of electricity generation) affect the ways in which publics enact environmental concern? how do the aesthetics of more or less typical STS research tools (such as focus groups, ‘ethnographic’ engagements, data harvesting or speculative design interventions) impact the emergence of particular sorts of ‘epistemic publics’; how do the aesthetics of the representational practices found in STS, policy or the media (eg online data visualization or the narrative structures of academic accounting) shape the public and its issues? More broadly, we ask how might we understand aesthetic practice in the context of ostensibly related traditions, for example non-representational or arts-based modes of inquiry.

Key Questions

  • What counts as ‘aesthetic practice’ and how do these relate to other practices?
  • What role does aesthetics play in epistemic practices?
  • How do the aesthetics of technoscientific assemblages and/or artefacts affect the ways in which publics enact issues?
  • How do the aesthetics of STS research methods and tools impact the emergence of ‘epistemic publics’?
  • How might STS understand aesthetic practice in the context of traditions that themselves claim expertise on the aesthetic?


The Insistence of the Possible: A Two-Day Symposium with Isabelle Stengers

18th and 19th of May 2016, 2pm-6pm
PSH 314, New Academic Building

These two events will explore the development of Isabelle Stengers’ work, and will engage with her in conversations about many of her influential concepts and propositions. The two days will consist of brief interventions by Goldsmiths staff members that will focus around a selection of her most recent essays. These will be followed by conversations with Stengers as well as with members of the audience.


Experiments in new modes of practice:
Launch of the Centre for the study of Invention and Social Process (CISP)

Wednesday 23rd of March 2016, 5pm-7pm

Andrés Jaque, Office for Political Innovation (Madrid/New York and
Antoine Hennion (Centre de Sociologie de l’innovation, Ecole des Mines, Paris)

Chaired by the new directors: Marsha Rosengarten, Michael Guggenheim & Alex Wilkie



How To Become Modern: Time, Work and Infrastructure in Rural Newfoundland

CISP and the Interaction Research Studio are pleased to welcome Phoebe Sengers (Cornell University) who will be speaking on the 22nd of March Phoebe Sengers about technological infrastructures and governance in the Change Islands. All welcome.

Tuesday, 22/03/2016
RHB 137

In the 1950’s the government of Newfoundland & Labrador began an ambitious project to transform this new Canadian province from an impoverished rural backwater to an industrial economy. Central to this plan was the organized movement of most of its population from isolated fishing villages to centralized settlements allowing easier access to services and infrastructures. Change Islands was one of a few villages that actively resisted this move and insisted instead on modernizing in place. Within a few years, the village was overrun with unfamiliar technologies, including electricity, telephone, television, cars, roads, and running water.

I will use the case of Change Islands to explore how modern ways of being are shaped, sometimes accidentally and sometimes intentionally, through the design of technological infrastructures and centralized forms of governance. Modernization both relies on and produces new cognitive habits, orientations to labor, experiences of time, requirements for accountability, and moral norms, many of which do not match well to the geographical and social requirements of remote, rural communities. Caught up in contradictions, Change Islands is today simultaneously experienced as a dying relic, as a cherished preserve for traditional practices, and as unrecognizably modernized.  Change Islands is a place to recognize and reflect on the hopes invested in becoming modern, the technical mechanisms used to realize those hopes, their consequences, and their political stakes.

Phoebe Sengers is an Associate Professor at Cornell University in Science & Technology Studies and Information Science, and is currently a Visiting Scholar in Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Her work integrates technology design with cultural studies of technology by analyzing the political and social implications of current technologies and designing new technologies based on other alternatives. She has received a US National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award, been a Fulbright Fellow and a fellow of the Cornell Society for the Humanities, had 7 major NSF grants, and led the Cornell campus of the Intel Science & Technology Center for Social Computing. She received an interdisciplinary PhD in Artificial Intelligence and Cultural Theory in 1998 from Carnegie Mellon University.


Celebrating 10 years of the Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process

‌May 29th-30th, 2014 | Organisers: Noortje Marres, Michael Guggenheim & Alex Wilkie

Location: Orangery (GO1), Surrey House, 80 Lewisham Way, Goldsmiths, London SE14.

‌This symposium celebrates the 10th birthday of the inter-disciplinary research centre CSISP, which coincides with the 50th year anniversary of the Sociology department at Goldsmiths.

The event will explore the challenges associated with the ‘return of the social’. Taking as our starting point the rise to prominence of social media, social innovation and social design, we inquire into the roles they play in the invention of sociality today. We ask: how can social research participate in this process?

Speakers: Lisa Blackman (Goldsmiths), Nigel Clark (Lancaster University), Will Davies (Warwick University) ,Maarten Derksen (Universiteit Groningen), Ignacio Farias (WZB, Berlin), Carolin Gerlitz (University of Amsterdam), Bernd Kraeftner/Judith Kroell (Vienna), Fabian Muniesa (Mines Tech, Paris), Evelyn Ruppert (Goldsmiths)

Respondents: Andrew Barry (UCL), Rebecca Coleman (Goldsmiths), Michael Halewood (Essex), Daniel Lopez (Catalunya), Anders Koed Madsen (Aalborg University Copenhagen), Linsey McGoey (Essex), Liz Moor (Goldsmiths), Dan Neyland (Goldsmiths), David Oswell (Goldsmiths), Marsha Rosengarten (Goldsmiths), Manuel Tironi (Catholic University of Chile)

To download the full programme click Inventing%20the%20Social%20Handout!

If you would like to attend this event, please contact

You can download the poster by clicking Inventing%20the%20Social

There has been talk of a ‘return of the social’ now that social media, social innovation and social design present and push themselves as objects, instruments and contexts of research and engagement. Social and cultural researchers might be tempted to recognize in the ‘social’ a ‘ghost from the past,’ as important and customary questions about the nature of collectivity and the relation between social stability and change – endurance and invention – are posed with renewed urgency. At the same time, to seek refuge in these questions would surely provide us with a false sense of security and result in missed opportunities.

Crucially, the return of the social should not be mistaken as a return to ‘the human’. Practices of social innovation, design and media stand out precisely insofar as they attribute distinctive capacities for sociality to technology, settings and things. Empirically, this also seems to be significant, as ‘bots’ turn out to be the most active users on Twitter, and a plastic island in the Pacific ‘brings us together’ in ways that no politician seems capable of doing. 

In this symposium, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of CSISP by exploring renewed efforts at the socialisation of technology, the environment and implicated entities, both as a phenomenon to be investigated and as a challenge to savour and respond to. We are especially interested in the question of whether and how the ‘return of the social’ involves a radicalization of the ‘performativity’ agenda in social and cultural research and theory. It has long been recognized that sociality is ‘performed’, ‘accomplished’ or ‘enacted’, but technological and environmental practices raise the further possibilities that sociality can also be activated, generated, created and produced. Here, we seem to be faced with a further de-naturalization of the social.

The issue of the ‘social’ also has major implications for the practice of sociological research itself, for example, how social research, broadly defined, might participate in the invention of the social. What if sociology adopted the agenda of the invention of the social? Is this possible? Indeed, can sociology ask more ‘inventive’ questions or explicitly engage in ‘problem-making’? These are, of course, risky and tricky questions, which require a suitably experimental and ludic approach. In this symposium, we take up these questions in a symmetrical fashion, as ‘problems’ pertaining to the conceptual, methodological, empirical, bureaucratic, and stylistic devices that participate in the practice of social research.


The Logics of Exercises, Trainings, Tests and Rehearsals

Wednesday, Nov 5 - Friday, Nov 7

Goldsmiths, The Orangery, Surrey House, 80 Lewisham way, SE14 6PB (entrance from Shardeloes Road)

The event is free, but please register with

The programme can be downloaded Repeat%20-%20Programme%20%26%20Abstracts.

Organised by Michael Guggenheim, Zuzana Hrdlickova and Joe Deville, of the research project "Organising Disaster. Civil Protection and the Population."

Hosted by the Department of Sociology and the Center for the Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP), Goldsmiths.

Funded by the European Research Council (ERC)




Disaster and Politics: Materials, Experiments, Preparedness
Edited by Manuel Tironi, Israel Rodríguez-Giralt and Michel Guggenheim

Published by Wiley-Blackwell and The Sociological Review Monograph Series.

Friday 4 April, 18:00, Centre for Collective Collaboration 16 Acton Street, London WC1X 9NG.

  Peter Adey, Geography RHUL
  Noortje Marres, Sociology Goldsmiths
  Mark Pelling, Geography KCL

followed by Nibbles and Drinks

Attendance is free, but space is limited. Please register with

With kind support by the European Research Council.

with contributions by Nigel Clark, Israel Rodríguez-Giralt, Francisco Tirado, Manuel Tironi, Ignacio Farías, Katrina Petersen, Lucy Easthope and Maggie Mort, Ryan Ellis, Joe Deville, Michael Guggenheim and Zuzana Hrdličková, Gisa Weszkalnys and Mike Michael

To see the table of contents, please click here.



The Design & Social Science Seminar Series 2013-2014

This year the Design and Social Science Seminar Series explores the burgeoning analytic interest and methodological preoccupation with data and the shifting terrain of data practices across design and social science. Incorporating lectures, workshops and demonstrations, the seminar series brings together a resonant range of events on data practices that provoke questions about the formation and force of data, the claims made for and through data, and the altered practices and politics of data.

Organised by Alex Wilkie, Jennifer Gabrys, Evelyn Ruppert & Noortje Marres


Friday 23rd May, 16.00-18.00, RHB 137a
Tahani Nadim (Zoological Museum, Berlin)
'Database imaginary: from deep sea to flat file and back'

The Design and Social Science Seminar Series 2013-14

What was Visual Data?
30th April 2014, 4-6pm, 137a RHB

A Seminar with Isaac Marrero-Guillamon & Michael Guggenheim (Goldsmiths)

The Design and Social Science Seminar Series 2013-14
Rubbish metrics and genomic idiots: live methods and data-intensive provocations
2nd April 2014, 16.00-18.00
RHB 137a (Richard Hoggart Building)

The presentation will describe four years work attempting to inhabit genomic databases ethnographically using a variety of methods, some of which involved repurposing bioinformatics tools and scientific visualizations, some of which entailed events and online encounters with genomic researchers. We describe the morphological and dimensional tensions of genomic data, the cantilevered and highly-leveraged epistemic cultures of data-intensive life sciences, and our idiotic attempts to construct provocations using data found in the genomic databases.

Adrian Mackenzie is a Professor in the Dept. of Sociology and Co-Director, Centre for Science Studies at Lancaster University. He works at the intersections of science and technology studies, media and cultural studies, and social and cultural theory. 
Ruth McNally is a Principal Lecturer in Innovation, Technology and Management at the Lord Ashcroft International Business School, Anglia Ruskin University.
Ruth's expertise is in science and technology studies, innovation studies, socio-legal studies, and the management of innovation and technology.

The Design & Social Science Seminar Series 2013-14
Mapping Participation

19th March 2014, 16.00-18.00
RHB 137 (Richard Hoggart Building)
with Chris Kelty (UCLA)

How can one map the empirical transformations of a concept? The "Birds of the Internet" project explores internet-mediated participation by looking across a large number of cases evaluated for their "participatoriness."  Participation is clearly not an either/or proposition, but a concept and a phenomena with different signatures.  However, we have no clear names for the different styles of participation that have emerged in the last decade, nor any clear understanding of how they relate to the large number of other "heteronyms" of participation in the past.  In the talk, I will offer a proposal for differentiating these signatures of participation--volatile, stable and extractive--and some thoughts on the use of clustering and case-study methods to analyse the circulation of concepts and transformation in use.  

Christopher Kelty works at UCLA, is the author of /Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software/, co-edits the scholarly magazine Limn, and does research on intellectual property, piracy, robots and evolution, freedom, responsibility and other pathologies of software and computing.

The Design & Social Science Seminar Series 2013-14
Machines of the Code-Sharing Commons, a mid-way report on a slightly large-scale analysis of software repositories
12th March 2014, 16.00-18.00
RHB 143 (Richard Hoggart Building)

Matthew Fuller, Andrew Goffey, Adrian Mackenzie, Richard Mills and Stu Sharples

The Metacommunities of Code project is an attempt to analyse code-sharing practices in free and open source software repositories, with a particular focus on GitHub.  This presentation will discuss: the emergence of repositories as a developing form characteristic of contemporary forms of work; the electronic archive as a space of production; the use of statistical approaches within software studies; the material difficulties of working with and extracting highly mobile, commercially sensitive datasets; and some notes towards an analysis of the nature of code-sharing.

Presentation by
Matthew Fuller works at the Digital Culture Unit at the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths.  His most recent books are ‘Evil Media’ (with Andrew Goffey) and ‘Elephant and Castle’ and he is an editor of ‘Computational Culture, a journal of software studies’.
Richard Mills is a Researcher with a background in statistics based at Lancaster University.  His PhD thesis was an analysis of Reddit.​

"Big Data Practices": Panel with the Journal Editorial Team, Big Data & Society (SAGE)
19th February 2014, 14.00-17.00
RHB 137a (Richard Hoggart Building)

Evelyn Ruppert, Goldsmiths (UK) - Why Big Data?
Paolo Ciuccarelli, Politecnico di Milano and DensityDesign (IT) - The Logo as Method

Panel 1:    
Matt Zook, New Mappings Collaboratory, University of Kentucky (US) - Mobile Phone Big Data and Visibility
Irina Shklovski, Digital Media & Communication Research Group, IT University of Copenhagen (DK) -  'Creepy apps’ and conceptions of personal space  

Panel 2: 
Anatoliy Gruzd, School of Information Management, Dalhousie University (CA) -  Automated Discovery and Visualization of Communication Networks from Social Media
Richard Rogers, Digital Methods Initiative, University of Amsterdam (NL) - Digital Methods

5 February 2014
Dresses & Data: Methods for making archival materials matter
16.00-18.00, RHB 137, Richard Hoggart Building
with Kat Jungnickel (Goldsmiths)

In this session Kat Jungnickel will present work-in-progress on the ESRC funded 'Freedom of Movement: the bike, bloomer and female cyclist in late nineteenth century Britain'. This sociological research project examines the intersection of public space, new technology and gendered forms of mobile citizenship via a focus on middle and upperclass women's cycle wear. Methodologically it interweaves archival research data with the making of new Victorian cycling garments from innovative 1890s British patented designs in collaboration with contemporary craftspeople (a tailor, weaver and artist). Together with Rachel Pimm, she will demonstrate garments that enact forms of 'transformation' from the ordinary (everyday Victorian street wear) to the extra-ordinary (clothing that enabled the wearer to move in new ways). Throughout, she will discuss the opportunities and challenges of making archival materials (into) matter - what happens when sewing, cycling and sociology collide and what wearing your research might offer understandings of inventive methods and new modes of knowledge transmission.

28 January 2014
The data practices of citizen science

16:00 - 18:00, RHB137a, Richard Hoggart Building
with Tom August (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) Christian Nold (University College London) and Dan McQuillan  (Goldsmiths)

This event brings together different perspectives from science, art and computing  on the data practices that are currently being imagined, configured and tested under the broad rubric of 'citizen science.' It is organised as part of the Design and Social Science seminar series.

The event will take the form of a roundtable, with short presentations followed by discussion.

All welcome. 

Tom August (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) is a computational ecologist. His work focuses on bridging the gap between research scientists and information technology experts.

Christian Nold (University College London) is an artist, designer and researcher working to develop new participatory models and technologies for communal representation. He is currently working on a PhD in the Extreme Citizen Science Group at UCL.

Dan McQuillan (Computing, Goldsmiths) is a Lecturer in Creative and Social Computing, co-founder of the Social Innovation Camp and blogs about social technology and social change at internet.artizans.

22 January 2014
"Through thick and thin: data as source and resource"
Interaction Research Studio (Design, Goldsmiths)
16:00 - 18:00 RHB137a, [Richard Hoggart Building]

As part of the Design and Social Science seminar series, the Interaction Research Studio will do a work-in-progress show & tell, featuring devices that deploy location-specific data.

All welcome. Noortje Marres (Sociology) will chair.

The Design and Social Science Seminar Series has been co-organised by the departments of Sociology and Design since 2008. This year's series explores the burgeoning analytic interest and methodological preoccupation with ‘data’ and the shifting terrain of data practices across design and social science. Incorporating lectures, workshops and demonstrations, the seminar series brings together a resonant range of events on data practices that provoke questions about the formation and force of data, the claims made for and through data, and the altered practices and politics of data.

4 December 2013
Materialising, Practicing, and Contesting Environmental Data
Citizen Sense (Jennifer Gabrys, Helen Pritchard, Tom Keene, Nerea Calvillo and Nick Shapiro)

As part of the “Data Practices” seminar series hosted across the Sociology and Design Departments at Goldsmiths, the Citizen Sense Lab (led by Jennifer Gabrys, with Helen Pritchard, Tom Keene, Nerea Calvillo and Nick Shapiro) will present preliminary research on tests undertaken of environmental sensing technologies.

The Citizen Sense presentation will address three technologies used for monitoring air pollution and the types of environmental data that they produce, including how environmental sensor data are generated, validated, mobilised and used as an attractor for different types of environmental practices and politics. The event will include a workshop where participants will have the opportunity to test and ask questions about sensor tech

27 November 2013
Data Practices: A Thing to Talk With
Alex Wilkie, Jennifer Gabrys, Evelyn Ruppert and Noortje Marres

In this opening event for the “Data Practices” seminar series hosted across the Sociology and Design Departments at Goldsmiths, the organisers of the series will discuss the theme of data practices. Jennifer Gabrys, chairing the event, will give an overall introduction to the series. Alex Wilkie will present work on data practices involved with the ESRC-funded “Energy and Co-Designing Communities” project with the Interaction Research Studio. Noortje Marres will discuss the collaborative development of an “associational profiler” used to analyse twitter data. And Evelyn Ruppert will elaborate on the process of developing the logo design for the new journal, Big Data and Society, on which she is co-editor.


Goldsmiths, May 29-30, 2014  

This symposium celebrates the 10 year birthday of CSISP, which quite miraculously coincides with the 50 year anniversary of Goldsmiths Sociology.

The event will explore the challenges associated with the 'return of the social', the pervasive suggestion that the 'social' is back, now that social media, social innovation and social design present and push themselves as objects, instruments and contexts of research and engagement. 

We ask: can we understand these phenomena as renewed efforts at the socialization of technology, the environment and associated entities? We are especially interested in recent claims to the effect that sociality is not only enacted, but can equally be invented, produced and generated with devices and settings. This also raises the further, experimental question of how social and cultural research and theory themselves may participate in the invention of socials.

With: Andrew Barry (UCL), Lisa Blackman (Goldsmiths), Nigel Clark (Lancaster University), Rebecca Coleman (Goldsmiths), Will Davies (Warwick University), Maarten Derksen (Universiteit Groningen), Ignacio Farias (WZB, Berlin), Carolin Gerlitz (University of Amsterdam), Michael Halewood (Essex), Anders Koed Madsen (Aalborg University Copenhagen), Bernd Kraeftner/Judith Kroell (Vienna), Daniel Lopez (Catalunya), Linsey McGoey (Essex), Liz Moor (Goldsmiths), Fabian Muniesa (Mines Tech, Paris), Dan Neyland (Goldsmiths), David Oswell (Goldsmiths), Marsha Rosengarten (Goldsmiths), Evelyn Ruppert (Goldsmiths), Manuel Tironi (Catholic University of Chile)

A two day social media hackathon

Organised by: Dr Noortje Marres, David Moats

Presenters: Noortje Marres, Tommaso Venturini, Bernhard Rieder, David Moats
Respondents: Matthew Fuller, Lisa Blackman, Alex Wilkie

Date: 15-16 May 2014 10.00-17.00
Venue: RHB 350, Goldsmiths, University of London
Contact: David Moats 

The goal of this ESRC-funded multi-disciplinary workshop, open to up to 15 PhD students, will be to test popular digital tools of social research (such as Scraper-Wiki, ANTA, Google Scraper, Netvizz, Gephi, DMI-TCAT) and examine how they might be adapted for the specific needs of qualitative researchers, in a small group “hack-a-thon” environment. The overarching aim is to question, in a practical fashion, the divisions between qualitative and quantitative approaches, by engaging with digital methods for textual, network analysis and visualisation in critical and reflexive ways. We will explore how these methods, which are often embedded in the platforms being studied, shift the relationship between researchers, digital devices and research subjects. 

Student’s can come to the session with concrete proposals or specific research problems which will be discussed in relation to existing tools and mocked up in small groups. The second day will be devoted to workshopping a new social media analysis tool, already in development – advancing the protocol, user interface and/or design. This will be an opportunity for students (particularly from qualitative backgrounds) to familiarise themselves with methodological debates around Big Data, Digital Methods, Digital Sociology, and Digital Humanities through hands-on experience, as well as introducing them to the process of customising and developing web based applications in digital social research – working with designers, programmers and researchers from other disciplines. 

To apply, please send a brief bio and cover letter detailing the data you work with, your experience with digital tools and specific problems you've encountered to Participants will be selected based on the relevance of their work to the workshop goals, experience using digital tools will be looked on favourably but not required. Deadline for Applications 18th April.

Students may also wish to attend the Going Digital Workshop the previous week, which will introduce students to existing tools and approaches for digital social research.

Experiments in Knowledge Production
Open Access and the politics of the digital academy

March 20th 16:00-18:30.  
Goldsmiths, Deptford Town Hall, Room 109.

Science and Technology Studies has a long-standing interest in analysing the politics of knowledge production. One of its strengths is how it has been able to demonstrate the contingencies, blindspots and power-plays that are wrapped up in the creation, standardisation, and distribution of knowledge about the world across a variety of domains. Science and Technology Studies has, however, been less good in confronting the challenge that the rise of digital publishing and the Open Access movement poses to the conditions of its own forms of knowledge production. This event invites participants from a range of ongoing Open Access publishing initiatives to provide case studies and provocations for examining how some of these questions are being confronted in practice. It tests the usefulness of thinking of such initiatives as knowledge production experiments. What new entities are being put into the world by these experiments? How might relations between a potentially wide range of parties be reshaped? What controversies and ambiguities emerge? How are these opened up and closed down – by publishers, authors and the broader collectivities (some more visible than others) to which they are connected?

With members of Mattering Press ,Limn and Big Data & Society 

This workshop is open to all. If you would like to attend please register your interest at

CSISP Salon with David Oswell

In an Age of Devices Before Devices, Are We All Post-Representation?

Thursday 13th December, 3-5pm in WT1204. 

This is an invitation to CSISP members and Sociology PhDs to join us for the CSISP Salon led by David Oswell. 

This Salon will be led by David Oswell and will explore the recent focus in STS on the concept of "devices". The intention though will be to contrast contemporary STS understandings of 'devices' with work in cultural theory and research from the 1980s. The intention is to raise questions about a 'post-representational' and 'materialist turn' in the context of the (inter)textualities of devices. In doing so, it is contended that for any sensible discussion of 'descriptive devices' an engagement with 'description' is as necessary as one with 'devices'. David has chosen two readings: Ian Hunter's (1984) 'After representation'  and Colin Mercer's (1984) 'Entertainment ore the policing of virtue'. The CSISP Salon is an ongoing meeting to debate issues within the field of sociology of science and technology and beyond. This year we are exploring the works of classic STS thinkers and imagining what a cannon of "CSISP classics" might look like. 

CSISP Salon is an ongoing event where CSISP members meet to debate issues within the field of sociology of science and technology and beyond. This year the Salon will focus on the canon of "CSISP Classics". Each Salon will centre on figures central to the genealogy of STS, exploring the ways in which these thinkers animate the work of CSISP today. Participants are also encouraged to propose thinkers who are less commonly associated with STS, whose work might fruitfully be accommodated within this framework or indeed problematise it. 

All welcome but please let us know if you intend to come so we can plan accordingly. Email:


Controversy analysis: changing settings, media, politics

A CSISP Salon with Noortje Marres and Manuel Tironi 

Thursday 18th July 2013, 3.30-5pm in WT1204 

This CSISP salon will explore different takes on controversy analysis as an empiricist methodology at the intersection of the social studies of science and technology (STS), politics and political theory, and medium-specific social research (eg digital). In at least some respects, controversy analysis is a fairly well-established approach in these fields. In this salon, however, we are specifically interested in the displacement of controversy analysis into new media and settings and the implications of this in terms of what this method is capable of. What does a more contextually and politically aware controversy analysis look like? Which types of methods are needed to cope with extended or radical controversies? Does the digital equipment of controversy analysis entail a recalibration of its role and status as an (anti-)social methodology? We would like to discuss, then, whether and how the displacement of methods of controversy analysis may translate into an enhancement of their analytic and normative capacities. 


Tironi, M 'Atmospheres of Indagation: Disasters and the politics of excessiveness', a working paper.

Marres, N 'The environmental rendering of controversy: Who is afraid of the green cloud?', a working paper.


Barry, A (2012) 'Political situations: Knowledge controversies in transnational government' 

Chateauraynaud, F (2009) 'Public controversies and the Pragmatics of Protest: Toward a Ballistics of collective action'


The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media

Thursday 30 May 2013 | 5.30-7pm LG02 NAB (New Academic Building)

Jose van Dijck, University of Amsterdam

In this invited public lecture, Jose Van Dijck, one of the world’s leading authorities on digital memory practices and social media, will talk on topics from her new book The Culture of Connectivity published by Oxford University Press in March 2013. Jose Van Dijck is Professor of Comparative Media Studies at University of Amsterdam; her previous books include Mediated Memories in a Digital Age (Stanford University Press 2007)and The Transparent Body (University of Washington Press 2005).

Respondents: Noortje Marres, CSISP, Goldsmiths, and Richard MacDonald, Storycircle Project, Goldsmiths

Chaired by Professor Nick Couldry, Media and Communications, Goldsmiths

The lecture is open to all, and will be followed by a drinks reception.


CSISP Salon with ‘Gambling in Europe’ team: Rebecca Cassidy, Claire Loussouarn, Andrea Pisac

Tuesday 21st May, 4.30-6pm in WT1204

"Ethnographies of contingency"

‘Gambling in Europe’ is an ERC project, based at Goldsmiths Anthropology. Our team explores the production and consumption of gambling as a global assemblage, influenced by global reaches of digital technology as well as locally adopted and adapted. Our case studies have been concerned with various interactions between gambling producers, consumers and technologies, and more specifically, how certain concepts, such as risk, uncertainty and contingency become productive in gameplay. The four ethnographies explore different gambling environments, such as spread betting, casino gambling and online gambling and social gaming, but are brought together by a joint focus on the ‘prosumption’ of gambling as a single cycle. Gambling technologies, from slot machines, semi-automated casino table games, online trading platforms, social games to gambling regulation are explored as sites where certain products and behaviours temporarily stabilise, turning socio-historical and legislative contingencies into productive outputs of risk and play.

In this Salon, we will be discussing Schüll’s concept of perfect contingency in the context of machine gambling in Las Vegas, following her assertion that ‘addiction to flow’ (interrupted, immersed autoplay) is created through the interaction between the player and the materiality of the machine. Hayles’ article introduces the term technogenetic spiral, which will be a useful starting point to consider the place of agency and control in various interactions between people and machines, such as gameplay. Finally, Miller raises the question of technological determinism: how we can avoid it in conceptualising the interaction between technology producers and consumers and the materiality of machines. We invite you to consider these themes as a frame for more general questions about the place of agency and control, gamification (of gambling but also other social activities) and the ways contingency becomes meaningful and productive.


Hayles, N. K. 2012. “Tech-TOC: Complex Temporalities in Living and Technical Beings”. Electronic Book Review

Miller, D. 2013. “How People Make Machines That Script People.” Anthropology of This Century (6) (January).

Schüll, N.D. 2012. “Perfect Contingency: From Control to Compulsion.” In Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas. Princeton University Press. 

Smart Cities and Speculative Urbanisms 

The Urban Salon will hold its final meeting of this academic year at 

6pm, Tuesday 21 May, in UCL Geography (Exhibition Room, G07, the Pearson Building, Gower Street, see 

Nerea Calvillo, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid

"Test Bed Urbanism. Data, Machines and Conduits as the Inhabitants of Songdo"

The city of Songdo (South Korea) has been promoted as the first smart city built from scratch. By looking at how the implementation of digital technologies has conditioned (or not) its urban design and built environment, this paper tries to identify some properties of this new territory. By defining this city as a test-bed, it is possible to question a broader logic of testing and big data that emerge as new forms of governmentality. What types of knowing and acting are facilitated by way of test-beds, and what makes them specific to our contemporary condition?

Jennifer Gabrys, Goldsmiths, University of London

"Programming Environments: Environmentality and Citizen Sensing in the Smart City" 

A new wave of smart cities projects is underway that proposes and deploys sensor-based ubiquitous computing across infrastructures and mobile devices to achieve greater sustainability. But in what ways do these digital programs of sustainability give rise to distinct material-political arrangements and practices within cities? And what are the implications of these distributions of governance for urban citizens and ways of life? This presentation will consider the ways in which speculative smart city project proposals might be understood through processes of environmentality, or the distribution of governance within and through environments and environmental technologies. Revisiting and reworking Foucault’s notion of environmentality not as the production of environmental subjects, but as a spatial-material distribution and relationality of power through environments, technologies and ways of life, this paper further considers which practices of citizenship emerge through computational sensing and monitoring that are a critical part of the operations and imaginings of smart and sustainable cities. 

All are welcome, please circulate widely to interested researchers and students who are invited to subscribe to receive notices at 


Markets in death and default: the uncertain enactment of public concern

Tuesday 7th May, 1-3pm, RHB 352

With Pascale Trompette (CSISP visiting fellow, Pacte – SciencesPo Grenoble) and Joe Deville (CSISP postdoctoral researcher).

Chaired by Dan Neyland. 

Each will explore the conditions and devices through which a public politics is staged, or not, around markets, focusing on the practices associated with the progressive marketisation of funeral care (Trompette) and the sometimes contentious encounters between defaulting consumer credit debtor and debt collector (Deville). The aim is to use these two cases to explore the role played by quite specific market devices in formatting of both economic value and public political concerns.

The seminar will explore shared questions including: What is the politics of value performed in around these two sets of market-based interactions? How, when and where do forms of participation in these markets become variously enacted as economic, public, political (or not) – and by what means?

Pascale Trompette | The changing politics of value in the funeral market

The case of the funeral market offers privileged insights into the way market devices closely link politics and markets. The talk will first go back to the formation of the French funeral market at the beginning of the 19th century, in the context of constant interference by Church, State and the first Pompes Funèbres (a service profession whose function was to organize funerals) in the supply of funeral goods and services. The ‘system of the classes' appears here as a central device in managing dissonance between conflicting values. A historical jump then leads us to the contemporary stage, with the significant reduction of the state’s involvement in funeral provision, in favour of a liberalized and competitive market and the exponential development of death insurance. In both periods, the analysis will stress the role of market devices in the implementation of a politics of value through a 'calculation formula', which confers on the devices a capacity for addressing and combining social values – e.g. the desire for ostentatious funerals in the 19th century, or the ‘intimization’ of death –  with political concerns – e.g. the dividing line between public and private, or the question of how solidarity, as an expression of a common humanity, might be achieved through the rituals surrounding burial.

Joe Deville | A (de)faulty public? Tracking down a collective consumer credit politics 

The word ‘default’ is becoming increasing locked onto a meaning that only began to take hold in the 18th century: the failure to meet a financial obligation. Less familiar is a more general sense of non-presence: the ‘lack, absence or scarcity’ (of something). This is the jumping off point for an exploration of a seemingly non present body of concerned persons: a defaulting consumer credit public. Despite the degree of debate about the global expansion and reliance on debt, a frequent absence in is the voice of some of those many individuals experiencing difficulties with their own personal, consumer credit borrowing. These are individuals who are, actively, ‘in default’ – who are economic actors also repeatedly and materially made aware of their participation in a debt problem through an active destabilisation of existing routines and habits by debt collection activities. It is just these kinds of conditions that in other situations, have been shown to contribute towards the emergence of materially mediated concerned groups. Yet, on the face of it, this seems not to occur in the case of consumer credit default.  




CSISP Seminar: Online Devices, the Enactment of Personal Data, and their Politics

24th April 2013, 4.00-5.30pm in WT1204 

"Data Biographies, Contexts and Persons: Search Keywords as Windows to the Soul"

Ana Gross (Warwick University) 

What happens to biographies and persons when the range and type of data that becomes ‘personal’ proliferates at a much higher rate than before?  What happens to biography and persons when inscriptions that today count as persons or personality where inexistent or invisible before the emergence of a new range of devices, genres and formats for the observation and documentation of human agency (either purposefully designed or not for such enterprise)? In the following seminar I look at search engines and search keywords as (newly emerging) assemblages for classifying and doing persons and biographies. In doing so, I depart from the notion that there were no necessary, natural, a priori connections between the practices of searches, persons and their biographies as a specific form of representation; but that searching, or the act of retrieving information through search queries is becoming personalised in multiple ways.

"The Third Party Diary"

Lonneke van der Velden (University of Amsterdam)

There exist many tools that are designed to protect 'privacy online'. Ad blockers, cookie protectors and tracker detectors all contribute to a safer browsing experience. But they can do more than offer protection for the individual user. In this presentation I will discuss how such a browsing tool, Ghostery, actively contributes to a particular understanding of contemporary consumer surveillance. Ghostery is a browser plugin which operates as a 'web detective': it detects invisible techniques that collect (personal) data on websites and it gives the user an alert of their presence by a small visualisation in the browser. Ghostery also has its own method of classifying and ranking these invisible techniques as 'third party elements'. Building upon work by the Digital Methods Initiative (DMI), which specialises in repurposing web devices for research, I have explored one of these tools. The 'Tracker Tracker' mobilises Ghostery's capacities for the study of third party elements on specific sets of urls. I used the Tracker Tracker to collect third party elements of 1100 governmental websites in an online diary for several months. Taking into account methodological reflections on the role of (online) devices, I will discuss my case study, method, format and findings, with attention to the network of relations in which the tool is embedded.


Ana Gross is a PhD student at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies in Warwick University. Her PhD thesis broadly explores different data forms and their qualities (personal data, provisional data, perturbed data, anonymised data) and looks at understanding how entities (people, things) are inscribed in data but also how data affects the entities it inscribes. 

Lonneke van der Velden is a PhD-researcher at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) and the Digital Methods Initiative (DMI) in The Netherlands. Her work focuses on interventions that make surveillance mechanisms tangible and on how such transparency devices play a role in public engagement. She also looks at the significance of these devices for digital research.



CSISP Salon with Jennifer Gabrys 

23rd April 2013, 4.00-5.30pm in WT1204 

“Ecology of Practices, Ecology of Abstraction, and Etho-Ecology: Thinking through Surrounding(s)” 

In her writings in relation to Whitehead and on the history and philosophy of science, Isabelle Stengers makes frequent use of the term “ecology” to variously capture the connections, surroundings, habitat and environments within and through which thought develops, lives and makes experience “vivid.” Here is an ostensibly scientific term that has gained traction as a more conceptual and poetic device, at once referring to concern for environments, while abstracting connections within environments as a device for making relations more evident as integral to what thinking is and does. This CSISP salon will consider the type of work that ecology does as an abstraction, and will discuss whether or how it might be revised to fuel, as Whitehead suggests, the “locomotion of ideas.”


Isabelle Stengers, “A New Epoch?” in Thinking with Whitehead: A Free and Wild Creation of Concepts, trans. Michael Chase (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2011 [2002]), pages 123-141.

Isabelle Stengers, “Introductory Notes on an Ecology of Practices,” Cultural Studies Review 11, no. 1 (2005), 183-196.



Image, Number, Language

Warren Sack, University of California, Santa Cruz 

March 12, 17:00-18:30 

Goldsmiths, University of London

RHB 342 

The “digital convergence” of the last few decades has coerced a number of industries into the business of computers and networks.  The institutions of film, television, video, photography, printing, publishing have succumbed to a “rewriting” in digital format.  This rewriting is only possible because of the new, uncanny form that language has taken, the language of computer programming, the language of software.  The uncanny language form makes images, numbers, and languages “equivalents.”  Consequently, to write today is a hybrid affair of code and commentary, programs and prose, in which one must tangle with this entanglement of images, numbers, and languages. 

Warren Sack is a software designer, media theorist and artist whose work explores theories and designs for online public space and public discussion. His projects include work in Open Source software development, locative media, computer-supported translation, and systems for visualizing and facilitating online discussions.  Sack’s work has been exhibited at the ZKM, Karlsruhe,; the New Museum, New York; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. He has a Ph.D. from the MIT Media Laboratory and a BA in Computer Science and Psychology from Yale College. He is a Professor of Film & Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz and, for the 2012-2013 academic year, an American Council of Learned Societies Digital Innovation Fellow and a Visiting Professor at the École nationale supérieure des télécommunications (Paris).

This lecture is co-hosted by the Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process and the Digital Culture Unit, Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London



CSISP Salon with Michael Guggenheim

The Elephant in the Lab: Or, How to Separate Science from Politics

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE AND LOCATION: Thursday 21st March, 4:30-6pm in RHB350

*wine pairing to accompany discussion.

It was one of the founding moments of STS to claim that "science is political" and that "you cannot separate science from society", that science can be studied sociologically like other fields of society. STS has also produced a number of empirical studies demonstrating this. However, theoretically, it was not always clear what was meant by these statements. If you cannot separate science from society, then what is meant by the term "science"? Is it just a name for a profession, whose practices are indistinguishable from those of other professions? More recently, STS scholars have started to study other fields, practices, professions, such as law, architecture or design. But if science is no different from "society" and STS consisted in studying science sociologically, what could it mean to do an STS study of law or design? 

At the same time, STS has also downplayed, ignored or fought theories based on the logic of differentiation, such as those of Bourdieu, Boltanski and Thévenot and Luhmann, precisely because they were based on the assumption that modernity is fundamentally based on different codes of communication, logics of fields, or forms of critique. At least one representative of STS, Bruno Latour has recently begun to re-analyse the problem of differentiation, couched in terms of "modes of existence". In this salon, we discuss: should we renunciate these central tenets of STS? And if so, which theory of differentiation serves us best?

CSISP Salon is an ongoing event where CSISP members meet to debate issues within the field of sociology of science and technology and beyond. This year the Salon will focus on the canon of "CSISP Classics". Each Salon will centre on figures central to the genealogy of STS, exploring the ways in which these thinkers animate the work of CSISP today. Participants are also encouraged to propose thinkers who are less commonly associated with STS, whose work might fruitfully be accommodated within this framework or indeed problematise it. 



Andrew Pickering 

5pm, Tuesday 19th February
Ben Pimlott Building, Lecture Theatre, Goldsmiths

Public LectureFree, all welcome.

This talk aims to map out an important but little known branch of cybernetics as it developed in Britain from the 1940s to the present. Examples are drawn from the work of leading cyberneticians including Ross Ashby, Stafford Beer, Gordon Pask, Gregory Bateson and R D Laing in fields as diverse as brain science, psychiatry and antipsychiatry, adaptive robotics, biological computing drawing upon lively material such as ecosystems, management, the arts, entertainment and architecture, including connections to eastern spirituality and the 1960s counterculture. We can understand cybernetic projects and artefacts as ontological theatre—as staging and acting out for us a vision of the world radically different from that of modern science and western commonsense, and the talk seeks to explore the ontological politics of cybernetics, arguing that it aimed at an experimental openness to what the world has to offer us, rather than the grim modernist quest for domination and control—revealing rather than enframing, in Heidegger’s terms. 

Andrew Pickering began life as a physicist, with his first degree from Oxford and a PhD in particle physics from University College London. He changed fields to science and technology studies, joining the Science Studies Unit at Edinburgh University in the late 1970s. He taught for many years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before returning to Britain as professor of sociology at the University of Exeter. Along the way he has been a Guggenheim Fellow and held fellowships at MIT, Princeton and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and at the Institutes for Advanced Study at Princeton, Durham and Konstanz. His books include Constructing Quarks: A Sociological History of Particle Physics (1984), The Mangle of Practice: Time, Agency and Science (1995) and, most recently, The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future (2010). His current project, 'Art, Agency and Environment,' grew out of earlier research on cybernetic art, and he is presently a Senior Fellow at the Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie (IKKM), Bauhaus University, Weimar, Germany. 

This event was organised by the Digital Culture Unit, Centre for Cultural Studies, and the Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process, Goldsmiths, University of London.

An ordinary technology of politics: the office as a device for taking nature into account/ing

Kristin Asdal, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo. 

February 7, 2013 
RHB 144

How are we to analytically grasp environmental change? Or put differently; how can we grasp the ways in which natures are being taking into account(-ing)? This lecture brings together two approaches, the social studies of science and technology (STS) and Foucauldian studies of government, to analyse a particular technology of  politics: the office. It argues that we risk missing too much if we let mundane political institutions slip from our attention. If we are to grasp the ways in which nature is taken into account, maybe it´s precisely “the ordinariness” that ought to interest us? In trying this route, the slow and steady rhythm, the sometimes close to repetitiveness of the workings of ordinary political institutions, might be a fruitful place to start. Hence, in exploring environmental change, this paper attends to accounting practices, budget procedures and long term programs as they are practiced in governmental offices. Empirically the paper explores two such governmental settings or offices. Employing notions like interested objects, relational spaces and practices of timing, the paper seeks to find ways for studying devices and technologies of politics, while at the same time carefully trying to avoid taking “nature” as the relevant object for granted. What interests me is to explore which emerging objects are taken into accounting and accounted for within offices of politics and administrations.

Jennifer Gabrys 
(Goldsmiths) will act as respondent.

Kristin Asdal
 is Professor at the Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture (TIK), University of Oslo. She was trained in economic history and later moved to science and technology studies. In her research Kristin explores the exchanges and confrontations between natural science and economics in politics and administration. Kristin also works on methods and the performativity of methods, both in politics and social science and history and is currently working with Noortje Marres on a project on performing environmental change. Recent publications include a special issue of Science, Technology and Human Values on "context" with Ingunn Moser and a paper on The Office in Accounting, Organizations and Society.

Jennifer Gabrys 
is Principal Investigator on the European Council Research project, “Citizen Sensing and Environmental Change,” and Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research investigates the intersection of environments, materialities and communication technologies through theoretical and practice-based work. Projects within this area include a recently published book, Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics (University of Michigan Press, 2011), which examines the materialities of electronic waste; and a study currently underway on citizen sensing, Program Earth: Environment as Experiment in Sensing Technology. 



In an Age of Devices Before Devices, Are We All Post-Representationalists?

David Oswell, Goldsmiths Sociology 

Thursday 13 December 

3-5PM Warmington Tower 1204

This Salon will be led by David Oswell and will explore the recent focus in STS on the concept of "devices". The intention though will be to contrast contemporary STS understandings of 'devices' with work in cultural theory and research from the 1980s. The intention is to raise questions about a 'post-representational' and 'materialist turn' in the context of the (inter)textualities of devices. In doing so, it is contended that for any sensible discussion of 'descriptive devices' an engagement with 'description' is as necessary as one with 'devices'. David has chosen two readings: Ian Hunter's (1984) 'After representation'  and Colin Mercer's (1984) 'Entertainment ore the policing of virtue'. The CSISP Salon is an ongoing meeting to debate issues within the field of sociology of science and technology and beyond. This year we are exploring the works of classic STS thinkers and imagining what a cannon of "CSISP classics" might look like. 

CSISP Salon is an ongoing event where CSISP members meet to debate issues within the field of sociology of science and technology and beyond. This year the Salon will focus on the canon of "CSISP Classics". Each Salon will centre on figures central to the genealogy of STS, exploring the ways in which these thinkers animate the work of CSISP today. Participants are also encouraged to propose thinkers who are less commonly associated with STS, whose work might fruitfully be accommodated within this framework or indeed problematise it. 

Friday October 26, 14:30-17:30

Goldsmiths, Ian Gulland Theatre.
Free - no booking required.

The question of influence: What to expect from visual communication?
Stephanie Hankey and Marek Tuszynski, Tactical Technology Collective, Berlin and Bangalore

Sensors against censors: Scraping legal normativity and quantifying legal reasoning
Vincent Lepinay, European University at St.Petersburg 

Mapping Issues with Twitter? Plotting lifelines, detecting partisanship 
Noortje Marres and Carolin Gerlitz, Goldsmiths and the University of Amsterdam

This event provides an overview of on-going efforts to develop issue mapping as a method and a practice at the intersection of sociology, technology and advocacy. It presents some of the diverse tactics that researchers, developers and activists are currently devising to render issues researchable and communicate their findings, using digital, visual, and other techniques.

The audio recordings of the presentations are available now.


Book Launch

Material Participation: Technology, the Environment and Everyday Publics by Noortje Marres

Wednesday 10th October, 5.30 pm

This launch takes the form of a discussion with Javier Lezaun (Oxford), Celia Lury (Warwick), Alex Wilkie (Goldsmiths), moderated by Monika Krause (Goldsmiths)

Location: the Centre for Creative Collaboration, Kings' Cross. 

ISSUE-0RIENTATED ACTIVISM: Comparing the emergence of concerned groups around care policies for dependent people in UK and Spain. 

Israel Rodriguez-Giralt
Postdoctoral Researcher at CSISP, Goldsmiths

Tuesday 2nd October 2012, 16.30pm

This talk analyses and compares two political situations: the launch of the "Act on Dependency", an important and controversial social policy approved in 2006 by the Spanish Government with the aim of guaranteeing public support for people who cannot lead independent lives for reasons of illness, disability or age; and the austerity programme (also known as "the cuts"), promoted in 2010 by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government of the United Kingdom as a way to tackle the UK's budget deficit. Both episodes have given rise to huge public debates and they are still highly contested reforms. For this reason, they are both good scenarios where to study and compare the raising, development and transformation of political activism. Particularly around issues regarding social care, disability, independent living policies and ageing in contemporary societies. In this context, the aim of this talk is to map those forms of activism and analyze their actions, strategies and mechanisms of participation. The final section will address some recent discussions opened up in Science and Technology Studies about the "objects" of politics and the processes/practices mediating political participation/mobilization.   

 Go to CSISPOnline to listen to the talk


 'My Best Fiend' Lecture Series

The Center for the Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP)/the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London

Organised by Michael Guggenheim 

“My best fiend” is a lecture series, which invites scholars to reflect on their academic enemies (from movements: Marxism, to persons: Talcott Parsons, to disciplines: anthropology, to concepts: "the other"). The goal of the series is to investigate the productivity of intellectual enmities.

Science and Technology Studies has highlighted the productive role of controversies to produce epistemic objects and sort the world. Controversies align scholars with methods, theories and schools of thought, they produce orientation in otherwise confusing seas of research. But controversies also pigeonhole people into camps. They undeservedly identify complex research identities with schools and theories and create guilt-by-association. The lecture series is calling for an analysis of such constellations by the protagonists themselves.

Enemies are productive. They spark interest, they draw energy, people care about them and they care about us. Why else would people spend time denouncing this badly formulated concept of an esteemed colleague, decrying the neighbouring discipline that keeps misunderstanding the world, or keep on writing bad tempered footnotes about this mistaken theory – and thereby become complicit in this very unproductivity? Why do scholars choose this enemy and not another?

Enemies also often involuntarily direct ones thinking, researching and theorising. If an enemy posits a, people feel compelled to posit b. If she writes approvingly of c, we need to denounce it. An enemy can have more power over people’s thinking than they would probably like to have it. It is as if people are guided in their thinking not only from their research object, but by an unknown field of do’s and don’t’s, accumulated since the time of their studies, of where to go and look and where not to look.

The lecture series calls for analyzing the productivity of intellectual enemies. The speakers choose an enemy of their choice, and analyse his, her or its productivity for their own thinking, their research and their career. Doing so, they contribute to a new sociology of sociology. They revisit controversies and analyze them from within and beyond to engage in a sociological celebration of what they usually denounce.

All Lectures Tuesdays, 4.30-6pm, RHB 137



Liz Moore (Goldsmiths)

1st November 2011

This talk uses a series of personal reflections to explore the conditions under which intellectual enmities are made, and the contexts in which they may be productive. Focusing on the links between structural elements of academic careers and the kinds of emotions they may sponsor, it tries to outline some of the ways in which an understanding of enmity may contribute to a more reflexive sociology.


Harry Collins (Cardiff)

8th November 2011

I have a few comments to make on the expressed themes of the series: in the early days of my career it was energising to have well-defined enemies: it sharpened the argument. In these later days, when I want to add a bit of statistical analysis and experimentation to my long-running qualitative research, I find academic identity politics child-like and tedious and want to echo Paul Feyerabend - 'anything goes' - at least as long as it is interesting. The main point I want to make, however, is about the very different kinds of academic arguments I have encountered with individuals. Good arguments, which lead to more rather than less understanding, depend on both parties trying to understand and address each other. Bad arguments occur when the parties do not address each other but an external audience; in that case distorted portrayals of the other's position are often deployed and the argument goes nowhere in terms of understanding because the 'warring' parties are not interested in moving things forward. Idiots, of course, cannot see the difference and don't know what they are doing.



David Oswell (Goldsmiths)

6th December 2011

This paper discusses the question of enemies in the context of the two registers of enmity (the affective and the strategic) and it does so in relation to an imaginary argument between Bruno Latour and Louis Althusser on reading Machiavelli's The Prince. My paper is not an exegesis of this text, but a provisional attempt to think through the question of the scale (and infrastructure) of theoretical enmity as well as its addressivity.



Steve Fuller  (Warwick)

13th December 2011

Who is my best fiend? S/he is someone who has got the right facts mostly right but draws exactly the wrong normative conclusion - or at least gestures in the wrong way. In my own career, Kuhn and Latour fit that description. These are two 'Zeitgeisty' figures - i.e. future historians will understand their disproportionate significance in terms of their eras, the Cold War order and the neo-liberal post-Cold War order, respectively. But if you want to think ahead of the curve - perhaps because you believe there is some larger 'truth' that humanity is trying to grasp - then you will want to ask how can these very smart people be both so persuasive and so wrong. (I recommend this as a strategy for younger scholars who plan to be alive beyond the year 2050). Of course, I have been beset by other fiends in my career, but they are much less interesting because they are simply slaves to fashion/induction, taking their marching orders from high scientific authorities. (And here I mean to include just about anyone who has reacted violently to my support for intelligent design). I'll say something about them, if only because of their entertainment value. 

The New in Social Research

A series of talks hosted by CSISP and the Department of Sociology

Spring 2012

This series of talks and presentations sought to engage creatively with recent debates about the role of social science in society, and from different vantage points explored the idea of innovation in social research. The series found its starting point in the suggestion that social research capacities are today being re-distributed among a variety of agents, as powerful actors, technologies and platforms are today invested in re-tooling social practices and their analysis. Of course, social research has long been a notoriously applicable and famously flexible label, with research formats from survey research to ethnographic studies, opinion polls and reality tv arguably qualifying. However, because of a confluence of recent developments social research seems to be turning into a favoured object of innovation: from the digitization of social life to the rise of open knowledge movements and the increased emphasis on impact and ‘engaged social science’. These developments have occasioned various grand statements as to the renewal of sociology:  from the idea of a new computational social science powered by ‘big data’ to the promise of a new age of participatory social research.
This series sought to bring together a diverse set of speakers to explore and think through these claims to newness in social research, approaching them as an opportunity to re-examine divisions of labour in social research. Inviting social researchers working in a variety of fields, we asked questions like: in what ways is technology a powerful organising force in social research, and in what ways is it powerless or debilitating? Does the renewed interest in ‘impactful’ social research open up new opportunities for participatory research, or does it translate this formerly progressive idea into something rather more opppresive? Given the current investment in ‘citizen science’, and more particularly ‘crowdsourced’ data collection and analysis in the natural and technical sciences, how transferable and appropriate are such models as a label for sociological research? Are new technologies and practices of data collection, analysis and visualisation enabling a displacement of research capacities from experts to amateurs, the opposite, or is this not quite the right way of framing the question? How and why? In exploring these questions, this series will be in part a practical exercise in the philosophy of social science and in part an experiment in renegotiating the boundaries, qualities and capacities of social research.

This series was organised by Noortje Marres.

Alex Taylor (Microsoft Research)

Tuesday February 7, 2012, 4.30-6.00 pm

Biology and computing are entangling in curious ways. There has been much hyperbole about the engineering of cells and synthesis of artificial life forms. What, though, does the work in this area look like on the ground, and how are the entanglements taking shape? At Microsoft Research, in Cambridge, I’ve been collaborating with a group building computer tools for modeling complex biological phenomena and, through this, been fortunate to catch a glimpse of what might be thought of as the mundane work of innovation in computational biology. In this talk, I want to reflect on not just the assemblies of biology and machines I’ve observed, but also what and who else is being assembled in this work. Specifically, I’ll concentrate on an example in which the involvement of social science and design appears to have raised fundamental questions for the research in question and, as a consequence, led to some different ways of understanding the innovations being made. My hope, here, is to illustrate how this work at the borderlands – or new ways of knowing just underway – is as much about a re-configuring of existing agents and assemblies as it is about producing something new.


Matthew Fuller and Graham Harwood (Goldsmiths)

Tuesday February 21, 2012, 4.30-6.00 pm

Invisible Airs is an art project by YoHa assisted by Stephen Fortune examining the changes in conduct bought about by relational machinery – epitomized in the relational database. Invisible Airs is an investigation of Power, Governance and Data informed by the expenditure database of Bristol City Council.

After attempting to read 20,000 comma separated lines of apparently open-data, YoHa understood that power revealed itself through multiple layers of boredom. We decided that the best way to reveal the relations contained within its fields and the people affected by it would be to construct five contraptions which would enable you to: Test your aim with our expenditure filled spud gun. Help you balance the books with open data book stabbing. Polish the floor with an older people. Pneumatic Brusher and help Grab the civic reins with our public expenditure riding machine. 

The project will be discussed and contextualized (with a specific attention to the often overlooked qualities of the relational database as social machine) by Matthew Fuller and Graham Harwood.


Evelyn Ruppert (Open University)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012,

The UK government wants to be the most open and transparent government in the world. To that end it has implemented a Transparency Agenda, which requires that all departments and ministries release and regularly update data about their inner workings via a single online and interactive platform. What are the collateral effects and affects of this exposure of a so-called 'tsunami' of government data to witnessing publics? I will argue that it is generative of uncertainty and hypervigilant 'data subjects' with an awareness of that which is not yet explicit or revealed. 

Dr Evelyn Ruppert is an Open University (OU) Senior Research Fellow with the Centre for Research on Socio-cultural Change (CRESC) and co-convenes the Social Life of Methods theme. She also co-directs the Enactments programme of OU's Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG).

Digital Societies: between Ontology and Methods

Bruno Latour (Science Po, Paris) 
Richard Rogers (University of Amsterdam)

Bruno Latour, Sciences Po, Paris, Richard Rogers, University of Amsterdam

March 7, 2012 16:30-18:00

Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre, Goldsmiths

In this joint event, Bruno Latour and Richard Rogers will present their respective programmes for researching digital social life. If digital networked media are transforming social life as well as social research, what are the implications for our analysis of digital societies? In taking up this question, Latour and Rogers will examine the changing relations between technology, research methods and ontology in digital social life, and what this means for the emerging field of digital sociology.

Bruno Latour's engagement with the theme of digital societies has been long-standing, going back at least to his lecture inaugerating the Virtual Society Programme in 1998, in which he called for the development of a new social science of digital traces. Since then, Professor Latour has developed a comprehensive programme for the analysis of digital social life, and he has recently outlined the tenets of what might be called an 'equipped' or 'digitally enhanced' version of actor-network theory. In doing so, Latour has made it clear how sociology can take advantage of the ontologies of digital networked media, most specifically that of the 'profile,' in order to route around some of the major problems that have long hampered social research and theory, and to develop an empirically and conceptually viable alternative.

Bruno Latour video

Richard Rogers directs the Digital Methods Initiative which has as its principal objective the development of 'natively digital' methods: methods which deploy the specific affordances of online digital devices for social and cultural research. Over the last decade or so, the Digital Methods Initiative has developed a range of web-based research tools, of which the most well-known is probably the Issue Crawler, an online platform for the analysis and visualisation of hyperlink networks. Distinctive of all DMI's platforms and tools is that they re-purpose socially prevalent digital devices - such as the hyperlink - for social and cultural research. In doing so, DMI proposes a potentially profound re-organisation of the relations between social research and its object, the social world. 


This joint lecture is co-hosted by: the Department of Sociology, the Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP) and the Centre for the Social and Creative Technologies (CAST).

You can find out more about the MA/MSc Programme in Digital Sociology at Goldsmiths



Javier Lezaun (University of Oxford)

Tuesday March 20th, 2012, 4.30-6.00pm

Film was instrumental in the emergence of a distinct twentieth-century notion of the social: a vital togetherness best captured (and manipulated) in the localized gathering of small groups. This paper explores the visualization of face-to-face sociability in the interrelated work of two of its social-scientific pioneers: the Gestalt psychology of Wolfgang Köhler and the experimental political philosophy of Kurt Lewin. Both Köhler and Lewin were experts in setting up experimental test situations where a tangible ‘group dynamic’ could become manifest, and both used film to apprehend this kinetic, fleeting phenomenon. Their combined work traces the materialization of small-group sociability – from Köhler’s work with chimpanzees in the 1910s (still tinged with the anxiety of sociomorphism), to Lewin’s unashamedly technical approach to the fabrication of miniature political systems in the 1930s. By exploring how the social sciences have historically tried to make different forms of togetherness visible and actionable, the paper hopes to offer a counterpoint to current discussions of the social as an intensity of association independent of physical proximity.


ECDC (Goldsmiths)

Tuesday March 27th, 2012, 4.30-6.00 pm

In this paper we describe the interdisciplinary project ‘Energy and Co-Designing Communities’, that combines speculative design and ethnographic methodologies to explore the meanings and practices of energy demand reduction. Situating this project within the context of RCUK’s Energy and Communities research programme, we trace the various stages of the project which have included fieldsite visits, a design workshop with volunteers, the distribution of probe packs to volunteers, a re-scripting energy monitors workshop, and the production of various workbooks. On the basis of these engagements – not least with energy communities (communities interested in reducing their energy consumption) - we are now in the process of designing speculative prototypes that will be implemented within these communities as a way of enabling playful exploration of the complexities of energy demand reduction. As such, we present initial design ideas that are currently under development.  Finally, some of the broader implications for social science methodology will be addressed. In particular, it will be suggested that speculative design can be seen to operate with a version of the event that is chronically open. This openness is explored through the prototypes (and probes) that operate as ‘idiots’ (in Isabelle Stengers’ sense).  These enable the issue of energy demand reduction to be seen less as a demarcated problem in need of a solution, and more as an occasion for inventive problem making.



The Interaction Research Studio and CSISP, Goldsmiths, invited you to: 

Doing Intervention and Enacting the 'Everyday': How Users Figure in Innovation ProjectsSpeakers: Torben Elgaard Jensen & Morten Krogh Petersen

(The Technical University of Denmark)

16th May 2012 | 16:30 ~ 18:30

NAB LGO1 (New Academic Building)

Goldsmiths, University of London

New Cross, London

SE14 6NW, UK

This seminar included two 30 minute presentations (abstracts below) followed by a discussion.

Intervention By Invitation

Torben Elgaard Jensen

Over the past three decades, STS has increasingly moved from a position of often ‘studying up’ to a position of often ‘being invited’ into scientific, technological and political projects. As a consequence, more and more STS researchers now find themselves having access not only to the sites, but also at times to the discussions and the decisions. With these new points of entry, the key question about intervention may no longer be if STS will be heard, but rather how the contributions from STS will combine with those of other participants in joint projects. The article investigates how Danish STS researchers were invited to intervene under the auspices of a national programme to promote user-driven innovation, and how they gradually developed new versions of the well-established conceptions of the users known from the STS literature. The new versions of the user raised higher hopes about the innovative potential of users, and evoked deeper fears about elusive publics and disloyal customers. Finally, the article considers the peculiar ‘middle management’ position that STS researchers may hold as mediators between users and projects, and it proposes the term ‘intervention-as-composition’ to designate the type of intervention that may result from mediating between previously unconnected actors.


The everyday enactment of 'the everyday' in an innovation project

Morten Krogh Petersen 

The everyday is often believed to hold an important key to innovation. Hence, private and public sector organizations alike are currently developing a keen interest in descriptions of the everyday lives of users, consumers, citizens, employees etc. (Thrift 2006; Cefkin 2009; O'Dell & Willim 2011). Through a wide range of methods and activities, everyday lives are laboriously scrutinized and attempts are made at bringing the resulting descriptions into innovation processes. Scholars within the field of STS on innovation and users have noted this development and conceptualize the everyday in different and programmatic ways (e.g. Akrich 1992; Suchman, Blomberg et al. 1999; Halse, Brandt et al. 2010; Pantzar & Shove 2010). But what is this everyday and how, more precisely, is it handled in innovation projects? The paper develops the argument that the everyday is by no means an unproblematic field of investigation ready for scrutiny and subsequent utilization in innovation projects. It does so through a close analysis of how the everyday is studied, enacted and handled in a Danish, government supported user-driven innovation project concerning work practices at an outpatient clinic. The analysis shows how different versions of the everyday at the clinic are enacted and handled in the innovation projects different user involving activities. It is argued that this handling of the users’ everyday is an important aspect in understanding how innovation happens – or not – in contemporary innovation projects. Actually, finding ways of handling the everyday innovatively may be one of the crucial challenges of current user-driven innovation projects.


Joseph Dumit (UC Davis) and Natasha Myers (York University, in absentia)

Tuesday 1st May 2012 5.00-6.30pm RHB137, Goldsmiths

Based on anthropological fieldwork with live-cell imaging biologists and 3D immersive visualization-using (CAVE) geologists, this paper analyzes how researchers are moved by moving images.  Through temporal and spatial scaling, what we find in both sites are experimentalists caught up in prolonged encounters with their data, instruments and stories. As one scientist explained, "The give and take, back and forth between you and the data suggests what to do next in the experiment." A temporal slice into what Hans-Jorg Rheinberger calls experimental systems.



Oncology and ontologies: a material-semiotic analysis of cancer assemblages
Jorge Castillo Sepúlveda. (Visiting Research Fellow, CSISP)

Seminar, Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP)

Thursday, 1st March 2012
5.00 pm – 6.30 pm
12th floor seminar room, Warmington Tower


This paper presents the main advances and conceptual tensions that emerge from on-going research, which addresses cancer as biomedical object informed by Actor-Network Theory. It conceives cancer as sustained from a series of assemblages in different scales of material-semiotic order, i.e., in the field of heterogeneous formations involving human and nonhumans. Moreover, cancer is related to a series of practices of regulation and it is linked to a several changes in the epistemic scope of biomedicine, which involves the thinking of life itself. These articulations provide us with conceptual mediations to think about an oncological ontology, reasoning on how cancer is constructed and depends of socio-technical performance. Initially, I will present the role of protocols in Catalunya, Spain, which mediate the relations between knowledge and practices, enacting what I propose as a new oncology ontology.  Secondly, I will show how these new assemblages may be understood as potential objects. Here I draw on the work of   A.N. Whitehead. Finally, referring to my case study of a breast cancer patients association in Barcelona, I will outline questions arising in my efforts to consider processes of patient (subjectification) transformations as a production of the same socio-technical cancer assemblages.


Locating the Social

1st International HIV Social Science and Humanities Conference

11-1 June 2011, ICC Durban, South Africa

Conference Co-chairs:  Mary Crewe, Susan Kippax, Marsha Rosengarten

This is the first international conference aimed at discussing and supporting contributions of the social sciences and humanities to HIV research and action.

HIV is a profoundly social disease, the causes and consequences of which are deeply embedded in the social, cultural and political processes that shape national development, social institutions and civil society, interpersonal relations, and the everyday lives of communities, families and peoples. One of the most distinct contributions to be made by the social sciences and the humanities has been their ability to integrate multiple levels of empirical evidence and model complex, non-linear, dynamic relationships in ways that may reconfigure our understanding of otherwise seemingly intractable problems and offer novel strategies in their place. Social science also emphasizes a critical, reflexive stance and willingness to confront the social, ethical, and political dimensions of scientific investigations of the epidemic. Most evident in the history of the epidemic to date is the contribution by the social sciences and the humanities to successful HIV prevention efforts such as the normalisation of condom use against sexual transmission and the introduction of safe injecting equipment for injecting drug use. Social scientific research has also provided insights into issues related to the treatment and care of people living with HIV and AIDS, and has addressed the broader social and political barriers to effective responses to HIV.

Yet there have been few forums in which scholars from different social science and humanities disciplines can come together to develop connections among the various phenomena we study, and between ourselves and our biomedical, policy and community based colleagues. Little attention has been given to enlivening interdisciplinary exchanges on the tools of our trade, the place of innovation in theory and method, and the modes of engagement with and collaboration with biomedicine.

This conference will aim to provide such a forum: a forum for those keen to extend the scope of the social sciences and its capacity to trace connections between all kinds of phenomenon, notably those that contribute to the complexity and changing nature of the epidemic.

Speakers for the 1st International HIV Social Science and Humanities Conference include:

    * Dr Fred Eboko

    * Prof Ezekiel Kalipeni

    * Dr Kane Race

    * Mr Jonathan Stadler

    * Dr Fraser McNeill

    * Dr Sam Friedman

    * Dr Judith Auerbach

    * Prof Vihn Kim Nyugen

    * Prof Gary Dowsett

    * Prof Peter Aggleton

    * Dr Martin Holt

    * Dr Rebecca Hodes

    * Prof Nicoli Nattrass

    * Prof Aggee Lomo

    * Dr Kate Philip

Accumulation: the material ecologies and economies of plastic

21 June 2011, 10 am to 6 pm

Goldsmiths, University of London

LG01 New Academic Building

A one day interdisciplinary symposium organized by the Centre for Invention and Social Process and Design Department, Goldsmiths, University of London, and the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Queensland, Australia.

More than any other material, plastic has become emblematic of economies of abundance and ecological destruction. If the postwar ‘plastics age’ was cleaner and brighter than all that preceded it, its boosterism has now become intertwined with anxiety as the burdens of accumulating and leaching plastics wastes are registered in environments and bodies. Plastic accumulates meanings, functions, concerns, visibilities, values, properties and futures – how then to make sense of this? 

The purpose of this interdisciplinary workshop is to explore the vitality, complexity and irony of plastic and, as such, to examine a range of issues that cut across arts, humanities, natural sciences, politics and the social sciences. Among the questions to be addressed will be: How does plastic act simultaneously as raw material, object and process? How might recognition of the material force of plastic prompt new forms of politics, environmental responsibility and citizenship? Is it possible to engage with the processual materiality or plasticity of plastic without fixing it as an object of study or illustrative case? What is the future of plastic as an assemblage of carbon in the context of peak oil and the shift toward new carbon economies? How can we develop an analytics attentive to how plastic might provoke invention and invite certain forms of material thinking? In the realm of natural-cultural ecologies how does the recalcitrance of plastic, its durability and persistence, reveal the relational exchanges between human and nonhuman?

Speakers will include: Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, Tom Fisher, Jennifer Gabrys, Gay Hawkins, Celia Lury, James Marriott, Mike Michael and Richard Thompson.

The symposium is free but seats are limited. To reserve a place please contact:


Making and Opening: Entangling Design and Social Science

A one-day conference on Design and Social Science,

Goldsmiths, University of London

24 September 2010

Sponsored by: Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process, Interaction Research Studio, Incubator for Critical Inquiry into Technology and Ethnography.

Design and social science disciplines intersect at a number of points. While there is excellent work exploring many of these points of contact, there is also a tendency for social science to treat design as a topic (eg what does design do and how might this be accounted for in sociological terms?), and for design to treat social science as a resource (eg what useful knowledge does sociology produce and how can this be deployed to model users or construct scenarios?).

This day conference will contribute to the move beyond this pattern. Collecting a group of leading practitioners in design and social science, the conference will present a series of dialogues and commentaries on a range of common, open issues:

- Speculation/Anticipation;

- Participation/Impact;

- Discipline/Contamination;

- Making/Method.

In the process, the conference will explore possible, emergent interrelations and synergies between design and social science, for example: how might the practices of speculative or critical designers furnish social science with new insights into the study and articulation of society? How might social science's interest in complexity contribute to the iterative process of making in design?

Speakers will include: Bill Gaver, Pelle Ehn, Mike Michael, Bill Moggridge, Harvey Molotch, Michelle Murphy, Lucy Suchman, Nina Wakeford.

This event is financially supported by the Economic and Social Research Council and is part of London Design Festival.

Race and Medicine: Toward Ethical Noninnocence

a seminar with Anne Pollock, Assistant Professor of Science, Technology and Culture

5 - 7pm, 26 September 2011

Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP)
1204 Warmington Tower
Goldsmiths, University of London

Too often, academic engagement with topics of race and medicine uses a grammar of lamentation, adopting an aggrieved subject position and mourning the racialization perpetuated by powerful discourses such as genomic research and pharmaceuticalized medicine.  For example, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved BiDil for “heart failure in self-identified black patients,” there was quick consensus in the critical studies of race and medicine that this was an egregious example of the geneticization of race and pharmaceutical profiteering.  Paradoxically, part of the problem with this approach is that it is too comfortable: biomedicine appears far more stable than it is, and the analyst far less implicated.  Pointing out that any given present or future racialized medical technology emerges from a historical context of racial oppression or serves vested interests is only one component of critique.  Paying attention to the partial and contingent sites of resistance it opens up is also vital to avoiding decontextualization.  So is leaving space open for surprise.  This talk uses BiDil as an example to argue that in the face of racialized biomedical technologies, we should resist traditional bioethics’ call to embrace or to debunk, and instead strive for ethical noninnocence.  Our deep engagement with the context of racialized technologies should take into account not only the residue of a horrific history and the specter of an unacceptable future, but also the unbearable present.  We should feel suspicious of any position that promises to settle something as fraught as a new intersection of race and medicine, and strive not to provide a yes or no answer, but to engage in an ongoing process of making medicine answerable to truth and justice.

Anne Pollock  is an Assistant Professor of Science, Technology and Culture at Georgia Tech, and a visiting scholar at the BIOS Centre at the London School of Economics. Her research focuses on biomedicine and culture. She is particularly interested in how medical categories and technologies are enrolled in telling stories about identity and difference, especially with regard to race, gender, and citizenship. Her forthcoming book, Medicating Race: Heart Disease and Durable Preoccupations with Difference, tracks the intersecting discourses of race, pharmaceuticals, and heart disease in the United States from the founding of cardiology to the commercial failure of BiDil. She is also engaged in ongoing projects in three areas: feminism and heart disease; American health disparities and citizenship claims; and global pharmaceuticals amid economic crisis and the pharmaceuticalization of philanthropy.

This event was part of 'What is Ethics?' An on-going seminar series at CSISP organised by Marsha Rosengarten.


MEDICINE AS A TACTIC OF WAR – Israel’s occupation of Palestine


4.30 - 6.30 Tuesday 16 March
RHB 312, Goldsmiths, University of London

Eyal Weizman  -  Illegal aid: humanitarian control?

Eyal Weizman is an architect and director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. He studied architecture at the Architectural Association in London and completed his PhD at the London Consortium/Birkbeck College. Since 2007 he is a member of the architectural collective "decolonizing architecture" in Beit Sahour/ Palestine  Since 2008 he is a member of B'Tselem board of directors. Weizman has taught, lectured, curated and organised conferences in many institutions worldwide. His books include The Lesser Evil [Nottetempo, 2009], Hollow Land [Verso Books, 2007], A Civilian Occupation [Verso Books, 2003], the series Territories 1,2 and 3, Yellow Rhythms and many articles in journals, magazines and edited books. Weizman is a regular contributor and an editorial board member for several journals and magazines including Humanity, Cabinet and Inflexions. Weizman is the recipient of the James Stirling Memorial Lecture Prize for 2006-2007 and was chosen to deliver the Edward Said Memorial Lecture for 2010.

Miri Weingarten  -   Controlling health: access to healthcare in the Gaza strip

Miri Weingarten worked for Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) for 11 years. Physicians for Human Rights-Israel struggles for the fulfilment of the right to health of all people under Israeli control, including Jewish-Israeli citizens, Palestinian citizens of Israel, Bedouin living in 'unrecognized' village in the Negev desert, migrant workers, asylum seekers and undocumented people, prisoners and detainees, and Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. PHR-Israel combines direct medical aid with solidarity activities, advocacy, campaigning and education. It is guided by the triple discourse of medical ethics, human rights and social justice. In 2009, Miri relocated to London and in March 2010 she became the director of a new Jewish media project called JNews - Alternative Jewish Perspectives on Israel and Palestine.

Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process Seminar Series: What is ethics? 

For further information contact
International Workshop 5 March 2010 at RIBA

co-sponsored by:

Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process, Goldsmiths, University of London
Overseas Development Institute
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
Centre for Global Health and Inequality, University of Amsterdam
International HIV/AIDS Alliance
National AIDS Manual

for further information please contact

see also

The Objects of Design and Social Science


Common to both design and (parts of) the social sciences is a shared pre-occupation with objects. On the one hand, design is concerned with making and interpreting objects including the finished article (e.g. consumer products), ‘experimental’ design aids (e.g. prototypes), and projective representations (e.g. scenarios). Recently, design has also begun to re-engage with more speculative objects whose ambiguous functionality contributes to the exploration of the social and the material, the political and the aesthetic. On the other hand the social sciences also work with objects, including categorical objects such as race, gender, and health, empirical objects ranging from the mundane to the exotic, and conceptual objects such as the notions social scientists use to understand and theorize the social. Here, the sociology of science and technology has been especially productive, introducing notions such as boundary objects (Star & Griesemer, 1989), epistemic objects (Rheinberger, 1997), immutable mobiles (Latour, 1990), quasi-objects, black boxes (Latour, 1988) to name but a few. Accordingly, a focus on material, empirical and conceptual objects brings into sharp relief overlaps and disjuncture between the two disciplines and a rich space for dialogue.

This seminar series will seek to bring into view and explore existing objects of both design and social science as well as draw out objects of novelty for both disciplines. In doing so we will seek to engage with emerging issues and topics in both disciplines such as the outputs of speculative and critical design, participation, engagement and publics as well as addressing notions concerning heterogeneity, process and event. This series will continue to serve as a platform for opening up interdisciplinary research futures.


Autumn Term 2009

Seminar 1: Introducing the Objects of Design and Social Science
Wednesday October 14th
With: Bill Gaver, Tobie Kerridge, Mike Michael & Alex Wilkie, Goldsmiths

Seminar 2: Buildings as Things
Wednesday November 4th
With: Albena Yaneva, The University of Manchester.

Seminar 3: Speculative and Critical Objects
Wednesday November 18th
With: James Auger, Royal College of  Art & Jimmy Loizeau, Goldsmiths.

Spring Term 2010

Seminar 4: Objects and Services
Wednesday January 27th
With: Chris Downs.

Seminar 5: From Objects to Issues?
Wednesday February 17th
With: Noortje Marres,  Oxford University.

Seminar 6: Object Fair
Wednesday March 10th
With: Bill Gaver, Tobie Kerridge,  Mike Michael & Alex Wilkie, Goldsmiths.


** Please Note: all seminars run from 4:00pm - 6:00pm and are hosted by the Interaction Research Studio, 6th Floor, Ben Pimlott Building, Goldsmiths, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW.


Summer term

How environmental publics fail: material democracy, Walter Lippmann, and the problem of affectedness'

Noortje Marres (University of Oxford)

Respondents: Gay Hawkins (University of New South Wales, Sydney) and Lisa Blackman (Goldsmiths)

Chair: Professor Mike Michael, Director of Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process

April 29, 5 - 7 pm 
Goldsmiths RHB 137a  

This talk will consider the conceptual figure of the 'environmental public,' and its role in what is often construed as the failure of the environment to effectively engage wider audiences. It unpacks an influential version of this concept, that of the 'community of the affected,' by returning to one of its earlier instantiations, in the 1920s writings of the American pragmatist Walter Lippmann. In this work traces can be found of an alternative perspective on 'material democracy,' which we will explore, and especially the problem of the public that Lippmann drew attention to: in technological societies publics have to deal with quite impossible cartographies of relevance.

Noortje Marres is Research Fellow at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford. She has a background in science and technology studies, and did her doctoral research at the University of Amsterdam and the Ecole des Mines, Paris, on issue-centred concepts of democracy in technological societies. Previously she was a Marie Curie fellow in Sociology at Goldsmiths, where she worked on material forms of publicity emerging in relation to climate change, especially in and around the home.

Gay Hawkins is a Professor of Media and Social Theory in the School of English, Media and Performing Arts at the University of NSW, Sydney, Australia. Her 2006 book 'The Ethics of Waste' explored how the vitality of waste as matter makes claims on us.  She is currently working on a major collaborative and international study of the biopolitics of bottled water. 'Plastic Water ' will be published by MIT press in 2011.

Lisa Blackman is Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, and works at the intersection of critical psychology and cultural theory. Her most recent book is The Body: Key Concepts (Berg, 2008). She is currently working on Immaterial Bodies: Affect, Relationality and the Problem of personality (Sage, 2011), which investigates the importance of suggestion and contagious communication for thinking about affect, the body and subjectivity within social and cultural theory.

What is Medicine?
What is the 'mental' in 'mental illness?': Psychiatry, the double-brain and the problem of hearing voices.

Lisa Blackman, Media & Communication Goldsmiths
Wednesday, 25th February 4-6pm

This talk will outline the importance of Julian Jayne's (1976) book, The Origins of Consciousness in the Bicameral Mind and its relevance for those interested in affect theory, process, body studies and the vexed problem of subjectivity. The talk will discuss nineteenth century debates surrounding the 'double-brain', its re-articulation within contemporary brain imaging studies of voice hearing (auditory hallucinations), and the reduction of what the double-brain may allow us to do and think to a cognitive capacity seen to enable the 'self-monitoring of inner speech'. The talk will draw on genealogical work on 'attention' (Crary) as well as work on the 'skin ego' (Anzieu) to refigure the problem of the 'mental' in 'mental illness' as a problem of distributed embodiment that cannot be contained by contemporary neuroscience nor affect theory unless we can adequately account for the problem of the 'one and the many'; how we live singularity in the face of multiplicity. The talk will prioritise the importance and relevance of re-thinking 'interiority' in the context of this work.

Lisa Blackman is a Senior Lecturer in the Dept of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths. She has published three books: L. Blackman (2001) Hearing Voices: Embodiment and Experience, Free Association Books, L. Blackman and V. Walkerdine (2001) Mass Hysteria: Critical Psychology and Media Studies, Palgrave and L. Blackman (2008) The Body: The Key Concepts. She is the editor of Body and Society (Sage) and a co-editor of Subjectivity (Palgrave). She is currently completing a research monograph 'Immaterial Bodies: Affect, Relationality and the Problem of Personality' to be published by Sage.

What is Medicine? 

Transforming Behaviour: Human and animal nature in the behavioural genetics laboratory

Gail Davies, Geography, UCL 

Wednesday, 6 May 2009 4 - 6pm
12th floor seminar room Warming Tower

 This paper looks at the relationship between changing understandings of human and animal behaviour as they are enmeshed in and emerge from the complex contexts of contemporary behavioural genetics.  Mice models, and more recently genetically altered mice, have played a critical role in understanding human affective disorders, linking animal models, laboratory experimentation and therapeutic interventions.  This paper explores the achievement of these links, but also the challenges to them.  Attention to the site of the laboratory reveals the contingencies and human capabilities intricately involved in the performance of such experiments, meaning they can be difficult to standardize and repeat.  Arguments about environmental enrichment reveal different interpretations of animal behaviour, challenging the external validity of animal models.  Such attention suggests the material practices and scientific arguments linking human diseases and the genetically modified mice are ultimately circular and the meanings of animal behaviour remain ambiguous.  Yet something is clearly being transformed in these circulations.  Utilising the theoretical insights from Agamben and Latour, I suggest this is our understandings of both animal and human nature, and the relationship between the two.

Gail Davies is a lecturer in Geography at UCL in London. Her research is broadly concerned with the way relations between humans, nonhumans and the natural world are imagined and governed, connecting to debates around the 'geographies of science' and 'more-than-human geographies'. She is currently tracing the biogeography of genetically altered laboratory animals to understand the role played by transgenic animals in the spaces of the international bioeconomy and in the political and ethical debate.

Collecting Animals (Blood) for Humans in Medicine: Following a Tale of The True Blue Blood of the Horseshoe Crab

Priska Gisler
13 May 2009 

In the contemporary biotechnological world of hospitals and clinical research the Limulus Amebocyte Lysate Test stands for a success story that is based on the blood of the Horseshoe Crab. LAL is an endotoxin test for drugs, biological products and medical devices in order to prevent patients from immune activation or even a toxic shock. The production of LAL follows highly standardized means and belongs to what Michael Lynch has called the industrialization of molecular biology.

According to Donna Haraway, the immune system is one of the iconic and mythic objects of high technology culture in the 20th century (Haraway, 1995, 162). In her view, in the realms of the normal and the pathological myths entwine around the immune system as discourses between the self and the other, contributing to determine the limits of the self. She points to the tight links between myth, laboratory and the clinic. However, she bothers less about the materials and objects that are applied on a daily basis in research and clinical setting.

What is missing in Haraway’s considerations as much as in scientific or public debate is an account on the histories and the contexts of the objects themselves, the bloods, platelets, proteins that are present in contemporary biomedicine. I will argue that the objects and their fields of origin are left out because focusing on the collection process itself would mean to keep in mind the relation between humans and living things. Observing sampling techniques would mean to speak about the collector and his or her approach towards these goods before they are integrated into an established collection order or a biomedical paradigm.

Mabel Boyden was a custodian of the Serological Museum at Rutgers University (1948 – 1974) and active in the field of immuno-chemical research that led to the development of the LAL-test. In my talk I will follow her on a trip to collect the blood of the horseshoe crab. Her account that appeared in the Bulletin of the Serological Museum entails ‘speech figures’ and ‘myths’ (Haraway, 1995) that were as much constitutive as they were descriptive for the immunological discourse of her time. While her narrative was dedicated to ‘knowing and following the rules’, ‘to be ready for the crabs’ and to ‘the work of the day’, it offers insight into how the limits between the self and the other were negotiated in the mid 1960s – a time that was coined by a turn of the biological sciences towards the molecular level of the living things.

Priska Gisler has been a research fellow at the Collegium Helveticum (a transdisciplinary institution jointly hold by ETH Zurich and University of Zurich) since 2003 and is currently directing a research group on the project “Tracking the Human: Technologies of Collecting, Ordering and Comparing or The Problem of Relevant Knowledge”, and she is also head of the SNF-funded project “Research in Humans: The genealogy of a law in the making”. She is currently a visiting fellow at CSISP, Goldsmith College.

After her studies in Sociology, Social and Economic History and Modern History at University of Zurich, she completed a discourse analytical dissertation on gender politics (Universities of Bern and Potsdam) in 1999. From 1998 to 2003 she was senior scientist and lecturer at the Chair for Philosophy and Social Studies of Science, ETH Zurich. Priska Gisler has been teaching at ETH Zurich, the Universities of Zurich, Basel and Vienna, and the Zurich University of Fine Arts.


Uncanny Belongings: Bioethics and the technologies of fashioning flesh

Fiona K. O'Neill, Lancaster University
Wednesday, 11th March 4-6pm

Most of us will at some point experience bodily engagement with, and embodied support through, a 'biotechnology' ~ broadly understood here as any technology designed to work intimately with the human body and to some degree with its embodiment. Such biotechnologies not only affect a person's identity, but their overall sense of belonging.

So how might we experience, appreciate and understand some of these variously intimate human-technology relations, as with transplantation, prosthetics or hearing aids? What are the mimetic or animating potentialities of biotechnology? (Can Aristotle's work on psuché and philia give us some means to acknowledge these individual experiences?) And what of innovative and convergent somatechnics?

Such experiences of medical technologies and techniques can leave one with a certain disquiet. With reference to medical phenomenology and Wittgenstein's On Certainty, one can come to appreciate such experiences as speaking to our uncanny canniness ~ our bodily knowing. Thus, suggesting the clinical and ethical significance of such experiences for patients and practitioners alike, in a profession dominated by rational, evidence based practice. And how might our embodied experiences of uncanny illness, health and medicine background our ability to trust?

Looking from standard to future-present biotechnologies we see developments which treat the human body as a plastic resource ripe with potential. How might we appreciate the reasons, affects and effects of fashioning flesh? Indeed, what happens when we enter our bodies into the paradox and conundrum that is fashion? Might medicine already be caught up in the politics of fashioning bodies?

Dr Fiona O'Neill has an eclectic professional background as an educator, facilitator and researcher. Presently, she tutors medical students in the School for Health and Medicine at Lancaster University, is conducting freelance research for the Probation Service and is a member of the North West Research Ethics Committee. She recently conducted research for Nowgen / Cesagen on young persons' perspectives toward the treatment-enhancement debate, whilst developing her transdisciplinary doctoral studies; with several publications to date and forthcoming.

Her present work considers human-technology relations; the bodied and embodied bioethical issues within and beyond standard, innovative and convergent technologies of medicine. Thinking through public and personal experiences, narratives and expectations of well-being and uncertainty with regard to the clinical and ethical impact of biotechnological protocols and practices.

Interrogating the logic of care: the case of medically unexplained symptoms

Monica Greco, Sociology, Goldsmiths
Wednesday, 18th March 4-6pm

This paper responds to an invitation by Mol (2008) to articulate multiple varieties of the 'logic of care' in relation to situations, conditions, and examples other than Type 1 diabetes (which is the object of her own ethnography). Medically unexplained symptoms are chosen here as a case defined by much greater ambiguity, controversy, and arguably by the greater significance of dimensions of care that are purposely excluded from an object- and practice- centred approach. On this basis, the paper explores how we might think about the affective dimensions of (self-)care, and seeks to articulate some methodological implications with a view to investigating such dimensions empirically.

Monica Greco lectures in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the author of Illness as a Work of Thought (Routledge 1998), and of articles on aspects of psychosomatics, vitalism, and medical humanities. She has coedited The Body: A Reader (with M. Fraser, Routledge 2005) and The Emotions: A Social Science Reader (with P. Stenner, Routledge 2008).

All seminars will be in the seminar room 12th floor Warmington Tower

The Remaking of Sensorial Experience and the Politics of Speculative Constructivism

Friday, 3 October 2008
3:30-5 pm
Small Hall (Cinema), Richard Hoggart Building

Feminist knowledge politics in science and technology studies have engaged with an epistemological reclaiming of the worlds of emotions, affects and the sentient body as intrinsic to the world of fact production. The affirmation of the sensorial is one of the ways through which constructivist involvement with science and technology invokes the materiality and embodiment of experience. In this context, a move to touch appears as a speculative vision of feminist technology. This paper argues that reclaiming the possibility of touch requires attention to the politics of the expanding market of haptic technologies, which also speculates with the remaking of our sensorial experience.

This event is free and open to the public. .

CSISP, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths

What is Medicine? 
Biobanking in Singapore: Post-developmental state, experimental population

Wednesday 1 October 2008, 4.00-6.00pm
Room 1204, 12th Floor, Warmington Tower

Like other wealthy states in East Asia, Singapore is busy building a bioeconomy. The government has allocated about $US 5 billion to life sciences research, under the aegis of the Biomedical Sciences Initiative (BMSI). In this paper I want to single out one important life sciences research project to consider some of the biopolitical implications of bioeconomic development, in Singapore, but also more generally. This project is the Singapore Consortium for Cohort Studies (SCCS), a large prospective population cohort designed to track gene environment interactions in metabolic disease, specifically type two diabetes and ischemic heart disease, diseases that have developed in the Singaporean population due to rapid modernization. I will use the Singapore Consortium for Cohort Studies as a site for examining the question: how are populations figured in bioeconomic development? To put it another way, what are the biopolitics of the bioeconomy? The Singapore example is telling, both because the rate of bioeconomic development is so startling and because it forms an explicit element in the state's attempt to reposition the national population in the global economy.

Catherine Waldby is International Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, Sydney University and Visiting Professor at the Centre for Biomedicine and Society, King's College, London. She researches and publishes in social studies of biomedicine and the life sciences. Her books include AIDS and the Body Politic: Biomedicine and Sexual Difference (1996 Routledge), The Visible Human Project: Informatic Bodies and Posthuman Medicine (2000 Routledge) with Robert Mitchell Tissue Economies: Blood, Organs and Cell Lines in Late Capitalism (Duke University Press 2006) and with Herbert Gottweis and Brian Salter The Global Politics of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research (Palgrave 2008). Her current research focuses on the stem cell sciences, regenerative medicine and biobanking, and the impacts of neo-liberalism and globalization on their research practices and tissue sourcing.


Seminar Series

Design and Social Sciences

A new seminar series for 2007-2008.

Speakers include:

William Gaver | Department of Design, Goldsmiths 
Tobie Kerridge | Department of Design, Goldsmiths
Mike Michael | CSISP, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths
Terry Rosenberg | Department of Design, Goldsmiths
Nina Wakeford | Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths
Alex Wilkie | Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths
Matt Ward | Department of Design, Goldsmiths
Matt Watson | Department of Geography, Sheffield
Jennifer Gabrys | Department of Design, Goldsmiths

All seminars will take place in room 1204, Warmington Tower.

Wednesday 3rd October | 4.00-6.00pm
Brief Introductions: Mike Michael and Bill Gaver muse on Design and Social Science

Wednesday 17th October | 4.00-6.00pm
Nina Wakeford, 'Experience, Models and Translation'

Wednesday 31st October | 4.00-6.00pm
Terry Rosenberg, 'Criticality and Practice'

Wednesday 21st November | 4.00pm-6.00pm
Tobie Kerridge, 'Designers as Naive Polyglots?'

Wednesday 5th December | 4.00-6.00pm
Bill Gaver and Mike Michael, 'Where Next? Reflections on the futures of "Design and Social Science" 

Design and Social Science seminar participants
including (from left to right): Andy Boucher, Bill Gaver, Britt
Hatzius, Kat Jungnickel and Matt Ward.


It has become increasingly apparent that there are many points of contact between design and social science disciplines. In many respects, these have arisen in an ad hoc fashion, and there has been relatively little sustained reflection on what broader lessons can be drawn.

The CSISP seminar series on ‘Design and Social Science’ aims to explore these points of contact through a range of discussions that address such key topics as theory, practice, research, user, object, product, audience etc. Though the immediate objective is to enhance mutual understanding across disciplinary practices, it is also hoped that this series can serve as a platform for opening up interdisciplinary research futures.


Spring term

Design and Social Sciences

Continuing the seminar series from last term.

All seminars will take place in the CSISP seminar room, WT1204, from 4pm - 6pm.

Wednesday 16 January
Alex Wilkie, 'Prospecting users: user-centered 
design and commercial social science'

Wednesday 30 January
Matt Ward, 'Disruption, disturbance and deviation:
towards a definition of design's critical practice'

Wednesday 20 February
Matt Watson, 'Product design and the 
practices of everyday life'

Wednesday 5 March
Jennifer Gabrys, 'Museum of failure: electronics, obsolescence and archives'

Wednesday 19 March
Mike Michael and Bill Gaver, 'Design and social sciences: 
what, where, when next? And how?'

Jennifer Gabrys presenting 'Museum of Failure: electronics, 
obselescence and archives, Wednesday 5th March 2008.

It has become increasingly apparent that there are many points of contact between design and social science disciplines. In many respects, these have arisen in an ad hoc fashion, and there has been relatively little sustained reflection on what broader lessons can be drawn.

The CSISP seminar series on ‘Design and Social Science’ aims to explore these points of contact through a range of discussions that address such key topics as theory, practice, research, user, object, product, audience etc. Though the immediate objective is to enhance mutual understanding across disciplinary practices, it is also hoped that this series can serve as a platform for opening up interdisciplinary research futures.



What is Medicine? series, Annemarie Mol

Continuing the Seminar Series begun in 2006-2007

Thursday 6 November, 4-6pm
Ben Pimlott Lecture Theatre
Ben Pimlott Building
Goldsmiths, University of London

This event is free - all are welcome.

Annemarie Mol is Socrates Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Twente. She has published The Body Multiple. Ontology in Medical Practice; co-edited Differences in Medicine (with Marc Berg) and Complexities (with John Law); and authored and co-authored a variety of articles on bodies, techniques and spatialities. Her new book, The Logic of Care, is published in 2008 by Routledge.

Download annemarie-mol for this event [pdf]

In the social sciences, medicine has figured for decades as something to criticise. It deserved to be unmasked as (behind its helping face) it was really a matter of social control, or a mode of governing through discipline rather than punishment, or otherwise a place where doctors hold power over patients. These days, however, it is time to do something different. No, the point is not to be a better realist and to neutrally (rather than critically) describe medicine as it is. Instead, medicine deserves help. It is in urgent need of words that articulate its specificity in such a way that health care does not get completely colonised by (the logic of) the market (where doctors have products to sell to their customers), the state (that makes laws configuring patients as citizens), the protocol (that presumes that facts precede decisions, which precede actions, which precede evaluations), epidemiology (or rather the version of epidemiology that takes individuals to compose collectives), ethics (in as far as it separates deliberation from practice) and other rationalist endeavours. In my recent book The Logic of Care I have tried to provide such words and to articulate some of medicine's tinkering techniques for living with fragile bodies, unruly diseases and unpredictable technologies in complex daily lives. The case that I analysed is that of diabetes care. This allows me to now take up the question of your seminar series 'What is medicine?' as if it has an answer.


What is Medicine? 
Drugs, Medico-moralism and the Use of Pleasure in Harm Reduction

In conjunction with | Department of Sociology

Thursday 10 January
5.00-7.00pm | Room 1204, Warmington Tower

With Kane Race | University of Sydney

Dr Kane Race is a Senior Lecturer of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. He has published widely on questions of risk, government and ethics in the context of HIV prevention, sexual practice and drug use, and participates extensively in the social response to HIV/AIDS in Australia. His forthcoming book, Pleasure Consuming Medicine (Duke University Press) takes up questions of sex, drugs, citizenship and health, and provides a critical analysis of neoliberal discourses of drug use.

Please follow the link for details of last year's What_is_Medicine_abstracts_2006-2007 seminars

Pleasure is more or less absent from serious talk within medicine, though it is a common enough motive for, and element of, human activity. When it comes to drugs, pleasure is often positioned as the grounds upon which legal and moral distinctions (between licit and illicit instances) are made. Taking drugs for pleasure would appear to transgress the moral logic of ‘restoring health’ that guarantees medical legitimacy. But the undeniable importance and common appeal of pleasure might lead us to wonder whether this routine exclusion and disavowal of pleasure doesn’t serve to prop up the self-evidence of medical rationality. After all, enabling pleasure is also one of medicine’s most basic concerns. In this paper I consider how a more open acknowledgement of pleasure might help to reframe public health practice and policy concerning the use of illicit drugs. I use Foucault’s History of Sexuality to conceptualize practices of ‘harm reduction’ (the loose mix of policies and procedures that take distance from prohibitionist initiatives). Making reference to concepts such as ‘care of the self’ and the ‘use of pleasure’, I argue that Foucault’s work suggests a distinction between ‘therapeutic’ and ‘social pragmatic’ approaches to pleasure, and that this distinction may be useful for framing relatively de-pathologizing modes of care. While Foucault is often used to critique the regulatory effects of public health, my reading aims to develop a more flexible approach to the practices of bodies and pleasures – one that is critically attuned to the operation of disciplinary norms, capable of preventing specific dangers, but also open to embodied experimentation and the different possibilities of pleasure.

What is Medicine? 
Tracing Animals: Following Non-Human Animals in Making Biomedicine

Tuesday 5 February
5 - 7pm | Room 1204, Warmington Tower

With Lynda Birke | University of Chester

Dr Lynda Birke is a biologist who has long worked in feminist science studies. She has published extensively in this area, particularly on feminist questions in biology. More recently, she has focussed on the human/animal relationship - including the use of animals in science. Her most recent book (with Arnie Arluke and Mike Michael) is "The Sacrifice: How Scientific Experiments Transform Animals and People" (2007: Purdue).
She is currently doing research on horses and their relationship with people, in the Anthrozoology Unit, University of Chester.

What role do nonhuman animals play in the construction of medical knowledge? Animal researchers typically claim that their use has been essential to progress. But just how have animals fitted into the development of biomedicine? And how has their history fed into the ethical controversy around animal use? In this paper, I want to do two things: first, to trace how nonhuman animals, and their body parts, have become
incorporated into laboratory processes and places. They have long been designed to fit into scientific procedures - now increasingly so through genetic design. Animals and procedures are closely connected - animals in science are disassembled and reassembled in various ways. Indeed, whatever else it is, biomedical knowledge can be said to rest on a large pile of animal bodies and body parts. So, secondly, I want also to ask the speculative question - what might biomedicine have looked like if it hadn't relied so heavily on a never-ending supply of animals?

What is Medicine? 
Of Wolves and Management

Monday 9 June | 4.30-6.00pm

With Rasmus Johnsen | Copenhagen Business School

Rasmus Johnsen has an MA in Philosophy and Literature and is a PhD Fellow at the Department for Management, Politics and Philosophy at Copenhagen Business School. He is currently working on a PhD involving a genealogy of the relation between melancholy and achievement. He has also published on stress management and the contemporary conceptualization of depression. He is currently a visiting scholar at the CSISP.

Alberto Toscano listening to Rasmus's description of the
industrial psychopath.
Rasmus Johnsen (out of shot) discusses a Danish website 
designed to help employees identify psychopaths in the workplace.

The work-place psychopath: he lacks compassion, empathy, remorse, and any sense of guilt. He is charming, manipulative, and sometimes very effective. Everyone knows one or has heard a story about one. Although it is a serious allegation, many people will say: “Yeah, I know…but I had a boss, I swear, he was for real…” In Denmark, a trade union organizing commercial and clerical employees has put an online test on their web-page to assist their members in figuring out if their boss is one. But what is at stake in the description of psychopathic behaviour at work? In this presentation I will raise this question by examining the phenomenon of lycanthropy found in medicine, trials, and folk lore of the middle-ages. Just as the werewolf (lit.: man-wolf) is neither man nor beast, the work-place psychopath is neither a corporate nor an authentic self – and yet somehow both the were-wolf and the psychopath paradoxically must define precisely what they cannot be.

Workshops Summer Term

The Physique of the Public

Organised with the Space of Democracy / 
Democracy of Space research network

Friday 6 June | Room 137a, Richard Hoggart Building


Jane Bennett | Political Science, Johns Hopkins University
Matthew Fuller | Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths
Javier Lezaun | James Martin Institute, Oxford University
David Oswell | Sociology, Goldsmiths
Albena Yaneva | Architecture, Manchester University
Claire Waterton | Sociology, Lancaster University
Sarah Whatmore | Geography, Oxford University
Brian Wynne | Sociology, Lancaster University


Andrew Barry | Geography, Oxford University
Gail Davies | Geography, UCL
Kate Nash | Sociology, Goldsmiths

If you would like to be put on the waiting list, please contact Natalie Warner at (

Suggested donation £8, £4 concessions

Celia Lury introducing David Oswell and his presentation 
'Making room for Democracy in the everyday: sensate
publics and mediated experience in the home'.


Kate Nash discussing Javier Lezaun's paper 'Off-shore 
democracy: socio-technical interventions and worker
participation', a session chaired by Mike Michael.

This one-day workshop will bring together social researchers and theorists who bring an interest in publicity and citizenship to the study of material and physical practices.

In fields like science and technology studies, it has long been acknowledged that non-human entities play an important role in the (un)making of social connections. However, everyday dealings with things, technologies, and nature are also increasingly recognized, and explicitly formatted, as occasions for ethical and political involvement. In engaging with these developments, authors in political theory, sociology and geography have begun to explore whether and how everyday practices may be understood as sites for the organisation of publics by socio-material means. This workshop aims to further explore this ‘object’ or material turn in the study of publics and citizenship. It is meant to provide a space for more detailed consideration of the kinds of practices, events and devices that this turn brings into view, from flood management to the art of sowing seeds. Within this context, the workshop will also engage broader conceptual questions about the type of politics, morality or ethics that a socio-material perspective on the public opens up. Thus, it will consider the implications of attempts to bring ‘democracy’ within the realm of embodied experience, including for the types of agency that are enabled and disabled by the repositioning of citizenship, and public involvement, as relations of material and physical entanglement.


Seminar series

What is Medicine?

Speakers included:

Simon Carter | Open University
Melinda Cooper | University of East Anglia 
Allam Jarrar | Medical Relief Committee, Palestine 
Brett Neilson | Cultural and Social Analysis, UWS
Darrin Waller | Medical AID for Palestinians

Click link for What_is_Medicine_abstracts_2006-2007 about the speakers

What is medicine? In this seminar series, medicine will be understood, minimally, as an assemblage of temporal and spatial technologies whose modes of practice traverse  biogenetics, communicable disease, diagnostic imaging, standards of medical aid in warfare, medical ethics
in clinical trials and global movement of body tissue and organs. How is medicine curative, preventative and generative in welcome and unwelcome ways? In view of these divergences, how might its substance be the focus for new styles of intervention and evaluation?


Networks and Assemblages: The Rebirth of Things in Latour and DeLanda

Friday 20 April
5.00-7.00pm, Ben Pimlott Lecture Theatre

With Graham Harman | American University in Cairo

Graham Harman is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the American University in Cairo. He supported himself through part of graduate school as a Chicago sportswriter, in which capacity he interviewed figures such as Sammy Sosa and Bobby Knight. He is the author of Tool-Being: Heidegger and the Metaphysics of ObjectsGuerilla Metaphysics: Phenomenology and the Carpentry of Things, and Heidegger Explained: From Phenomenon to Thing, as well as translator of Gudrun Kramer's History of Palestine.

In recent years, Manuel DeLanda has been one of the more imaginative defenders of realism in philosophy. In his latest book, A New Philosophy of Society (2006), DeLanda portrays a world of alliances and alloys in which things are nonetheless not defined by their interactions with other things. This brings DeLanda into tacit agreement and enmity with Bruno Latour, who also pictures a world of autonomous actors partially linked in networks. Although their models of reality are strikingly similar, and though both authors contribute to a badly needed revival of metaphysics in the continental tradition, they disagree on the key point of how a thing is defined by its relations within the world. This talk aims to clarify the silent dispute between Latour and DeLanda, which deserves to be a central controversy of the emerging object-philosophy.

The Contemporary Prehistory of Capitalism: Debating 'So-Called Primitive Accumulation' Today

A presentation by Sandro Mezzadra (Bologna), with a reply by Massimo De Angelis (UEL)

Tuesday 29 May
2.00-4.00pm | Room 137, Richard Hoggart Building

Sandro Mezzadra is Associate Professor of Political Theory at the University of Bologna and visiting professor at CSISP. His research has focused for many years on borders politics, citizenship and migration. He is involved in various forms of borders and migration related activism in Italy and in Europe. He is the author of Diritto di fuga. Migrazioni, cittadinanza, globalizzazione (Ombre Corte, 2006, 2nd ed.).

Massimo De Angelis is a Reader in economics at the University of East London. He edits The Commoner website and blog: He is the author of The Beginning of History: Value Struggles and Global Capital (Pluto, 2007).

The past few years have witnessed renewed interest and lively polemics around the Marxist notion of "primitive accumulation". Though it is commonly understood as the violent premise for the expanded reproduction of capital - an original expropriation written, as Marx put it, "in letters of blood and fire" - many now regard primitive accumulation as a continuing process that cannot be relegated to the prehistory of capitalist society, and thus choose to speak of the present as an era of "new enclosures" or "accumulation by dispossession". In his talk, Sandro Mezzadra, visiting professor at CSISP, will return to the origins of this debate in Part VIII of Marx's Capital and reflect on how a rereading of Marx can help us, in conjunction with postcolonial theory, to dislocate a linear interpretation of the temporality of capitalism, recast our concept of exploitation, and rethink political subjectivation, labour and struggle in the heterogeneous space of global capital. Sandro Mezzadra's talk will be followed by a reply from Massimo De Angelis, who in his writings and his editorship of The Commoner has played a crucial role in reviving the debate on primitive accumulation.

'Human Rights for all Minorities' - Rereading Du Bois

A seminar with Sandro Mezzadra, Brian Alleyne & Brett St. Louis | CSISP & Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths

Wednesday 23 May
5pm-7pm | Room 137, Richard Hoggart Building

More about | Department of Sociology 
More about | Department of Sociology

Sandro Mezzadra is Associate Professor of Political Theory at the University of Bologna and visiting professor at CSISP. His research has focused for many years on borders politics, citizenship and migration. He is involved in various forms of borders and migration related activism in Italy and in Europe. He is the author of Diritto di fuga. Migrazioni, cittadinanza, globalizzazione (Ombre Corte, 2006, 2nd ed.).

'Human Rights for all Minorities' will focus on three main aspects of Du Bois' work. Firstly, the "spatial" coordinates of Du Bois' thought. They will be analyzed from the point of view of the dialectic between the experience of the loss of a world that characterized African-American and colonial experience of modernity on the one hand, and the necessity to reinvent the world in which Du Bois himself eventually saw the very condition of effectivity of African-American and anti-colonial struggles. Secondly, the concept of race will be discussed and Du Bois' own contribution to the development of "Black Marxism" highlighted (C. Robinson). Especially the analysis presented by Du Bois in "Black Reconstruction" will be critically discussed with reference to recent developments of the debate on race and racism in the US (T. Allen, D. Roediger, the so called "Critical race theory"). Thirdly, the focus will be on the concept of democracy developed by Du Bois, especially looking at the tension between the "universal" dimension of the concept itself and the "particular" struggles developing around the colour line.

One-off events

The Revitalised Whiteheadian Process Philosophy, the Difficulty in Making Some Moral and Political Difference in the World, and Parfit's Imaginary Examples

Monday 16 October
4.30 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Seppo Poutanen | Academy of Finland | Visiting Research Fellow, CSISP

Seppo Poutanen is a post-doctoral research fellow of the Academy of Finland. His research interests include social epistemology, social theory, feminist theory and sociology of health and illness.

This paper briefly describes the revitalisation of processualist ideas, sums up what is practically at stake, and sketches a central problem of philosophist practical ethics.  Connecting this problem to Whitehead’s ideas shows how so-called constructive postmodernism shares goals with mainstream practical ethics.  However, the attainment of these goals is both hindered and complicated by the fact that the Whiteheadian, constructive postmodernists should pay more attention to the intuitive feel of their arguments.  To this end a method of imaginary examples is suggested, the potential of which is explored via the work of philosopher Derek Parfit.

The Social Production of Novelty: "Innovation" as an emic view of context

Wednesday 6 December
4.30 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Dawn Nafus | Intel

Dawn Nafus is an anthropologist at Intel in Portland, Oregon. She earned her PhD at the University of Cambridge (2003) and has interests in discourses of 'the technological', cultural notions of time, migration, mobility and border spaces, and gender and technology. She has done research in Russia and the UK.

If we know that technology is socially shaped, why does it persistently present itself as having come from nowhere? This paper will interrogate the highly structured and politically configured ways in which novelty is enacted both in technology industries and in the discourse of state actors that covet their presence as economic panacea.  I show how novelty production is entangled in processes of purification (in the Latourian sense more so than the religious), perennially securing a brief contextlessness from which to act. In the world of computer artefacts, to impact society is to be outside it.  The paper will draw on fieldwork conducted in the East of England in 2005, and will conclude with some comment on how this particular way of conceptualising and enacting innovation has inflected technology firms' engagement with social science knowledge practices.


Speculative Realism

Friday 27 April
1.00-7.00pm, Ben Pimlott Lecture Theatre

A one-day conference co-sponsored by COLLAPSE 
Chaired by | Sociology, Goldsmiths

Ray Brassier | Middlesex University 
Iain Hamilton Grant | UWE (University of West England) 
Graham Harman | American University in Cairo
Quentin Meillassoux | Ecole Normale Superieure

Contemporary continental philosophy often prides itself on having overcome the age-old metaphysical battles between realism and dualism. Subject-object dualism has supposedly been destroyed by the critique of representation and supplanted by a fundamental correlation between thought and world. This workshop will bring together four philosophers whose work questions some of the basic tenets of this continental orthodoxy. Speculative realism is not a doctrine but the umbrella term for a variety of research programmes committed to upholding the autonomy of reality against the depredations of anthropocentrism, whether in the name of transcendental physicalism, object-oriented philosophy, or abstract materialism.

Oil and Politics

Thursday 10 - Friday 11 May
SOAS, Vernon Square Campus, Pentonville Road, London
With the support of the British Academy

Organised by CSISP | Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths | School of Geography, Oxford University | Department of Development Studies, SOAS

Plenary speakers:
Timothy Mitchell | Politics, New York University
MIchael Watts | Institute of International Studies, Berkeley

Andrew Barry | Geography, Oxford University
Gavin Bridge | Environment and Development, Manchester
George Frynas | Middlesex University Business School
James Marriott | Platform, London 
Martin Skalsky | Film-maker, Czech Republic
Alberto Toscano | Sociology, Goldsmiths
Alex Vines | Chatham House, London
Gisa Weszkalnys | Geography, Oxford University

Oil is one of the most crucial and controversial substances today. This conference opens up the field to film-makers and artists, social anthropologists, human geographers, and social and cultural theorists in order to connect oil to a wide set of concerns, to make links across seemingly disparate issues, and to begin to develop and explore a variety of methods and methodologies suitable for the investigation of oil.

Topics included:

  • Governing Oil in West Africa
  • The Business of Oil
  • Documenting the Politics of Oil
  • Oil and the New Imperialism


Seminar series

Art: Conflict: Justice

Participants :Eyal Weizman (Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths) Jacqueline Damon and Cyril Musila (INICA) | James Marriott (CSISP and Platform) | Nicole Wolf (Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths) | Andrew Barry and Gisa Weszkalnys (CSISP, Goldsmiths) | Lucy Kimbell (Said Business School, Oxford) | Rita Duffy (artist, Belfast)

Organised with the Unit for Global Justice


Participants: Nancy Fraser (New School for Social Research, New York University | Cathy Irwin (Research Fellow, Tavistock Clinic) | Sasha Roseneil (Sociology and Gender Studies, Leeds) | Vikki Bell (Sociology, Goldsmiths) | Nirmal Puwar (Sociology, Goldsmiths) | Susie Orbach (Visiting Professor, LSE) | Sara Ahmed (Media and Communications, Goldsmiths) | Vic Seidler (Sociology, Goldsmiths) | Valerie Walkerdine (Psychology, Cardiff)

This interdisciplinary event brought together people interested in the connections between 'psyche' and 'social' within a broadly defined psychosocial field.

Gabriel Tarde: Economy, Psychology and Invention

Thursday 1 December
1.00 - 6.00pm | Room 104 | Senate House

Presenters: Nigel Thrift (Geography, Oxford) | Vincent Lepinay (International Centre for Advanced Studies, New York University) | Lisa Blackman (Media and Communications, Goldsmiths) | Eric Alliez (Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Middlesex) | Andrew Barry (CSISP, Goldsmiths) | Chris McLean (Manchester Business School) | Alberto Toscano (Sociology, Goldsmiths)

Organised with the Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths and Oxford University with the support of Economy and Society

Eric Alliez | alliez (pdf 177kb) 
Andrew Barry | barry (pdf 172kb) 
Lisa Blackman | blackman (pdf 279kb) 
Vincent Lepinay | lepinay (pdf 272kb) 
Chris McLean | maclean (pdf 292kb) 
Nigel Thrift | thrift (pdf 524kb)

Talking Open Source: A Workshop

Friday 5 May
Ben Pimlott Lecture Theatre

Organised with Brian Alleyne (Sociology, Goldsmiths)

Presenters: David Berry (Sussex) | Andrea Rota (LSE) | Robert Zimmer (Goldsmiths) | Chris Brauer (Goldsmiths) | Brian Alleyne (Goldsmiths) | Liat Oren (LSE) | Matti Kohonen (LSE)

This workshop brought together people working on various aspects of open source from different disciplinary perspectives.

Bringing the Crowd Back In: Revitalising an old semantics

Friday 2 December 
1.00 - 2.30pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Christian Borch, Visiting Fellow, CSISP | Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen

Christian's current research focuses on the sociology of crowds. This project consists of two parts: first, a semantic history of thenotion of crowds from its significant position in late 19th centrey social theory (Le Bon, Tarde, etc.) to its present marginal status; second, an attempt to reformulate the notion of crowds for contemporary purposes. His other interests include Luhmannian systems theory, Michel Foucault, Gabriel Tarde, urban theory and theoretical criminology.

Download borch_crowds_economic (PDF 180kb)

Materialising New Media

Wednesday 3 May
4.30 – 6.00pm | Room 1204 Warmington Tower

With Anna Munster | University of New South Wales

Anna Munster is a senior lecturer in the School of Art History and Theory, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Australia. She has recently published Materializing New Media: Embodiment in Information Aesthetics (University Press of New England). She is a contributor to journals such as Culture Machine and CTheory and was the recipient of a large Australian Research Council Discovery Grant.

As new media began to coalesce as a significant field of cultural activity and thinking through the mid-1990s, much of the visual culture and theorising of information technologies emphasised a disembodied relation to these media. In this paper, I will argue, drawing on my new book Materializing New Media, for the importance of a materialist approach to new media and of the aesthetic contribution made by new media arts and culture to materializing our relationships to information culture. Rather than seek a counter to the privileging of consciousness and abstraction in cyberspace in "the body", I argue for digital embodiment as an unfolding relation to everyday engagements with new media.

Book Launch: Alain Badiou, Being and Event

Thursday 27 April
2.00 - 6.00pm | Room 143 | Main Building
Reception to follow

With Oliver Feltham, Justin Clemens and Alberto Toscano

To celebrate Continuum Books' recent publication of Alain Badiou's 1988 magnum opus L'Etre et l'evenement, CSISP hosted a roundtable discussion between the book's translator, Oliver Feltham, and two scholars of Badiou's work. Some of the book's principal themes were introduced: being as multiplicity, the idea of the generic, the namimg of the event, and the difference between presentation and representation.

Inventing Intimacy in Research

Friday 17 February
10.00am - 6.00pm | Small Hall/Cinema | Main Building

Organised by Mariam Fraser | CSISP and Nirmal Puwar | Sociology, Goldsmiths

Speakers: Mariam Fraser (CSISP, Goldsmiths) | Nirmal Puwar (Sociology, Goldsmiths) | Marsha Rosengarten (CSISP, Goldsmiths) | Simon Cohn (Anthropology, Goldsmiths) | Carolyn Steedman | Alia Syed | Julia O'Connell | Ania Dabrowska | Bronwyn Parry

Working with different materials and in different domains, this conference explored the relation between intimacy and research. How does the specificity of a research subject, or a particular methodology, create intimate relations? What kinds of intimacies are produced in our exchanges with the past through archival research? What are the possibilities of transcultural memory work with film? What ethical issues are raised by intimate ethnographic research? How intimate are scientific objects? Is it possible to think through intimacy without either privileging or excluding the subjectivity of the researcher?



Jung's Psyche: the Self as a rational field


Thinking Bodies: the making of the body reader

Monday 13 June
4.00 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Paul Atkinson | The Guild, London


Thursday 21 February
4.00 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Mariam Fraser and Monica Greco | Sociology, Goldsmiths


Motility and the 'Disposal' of Affect


Between Organic, Psychic and Social Processes: thinking affect and emotion through (a critique of) autopoietic systems theory

Wednesday 8th June 
4.30 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Professor Rolland Munro | Department of Management, Keele University


Thursday 10 February
4.00 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Paul Stenner | Psychology, UCL


Embodying the Psychological: cultures of 
change and the problem of hypnosis


Affect as Methodology: bodies, 
becomings, experience

Monday 6 June
4.00 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Lisa Blackman | Media and Communications, Goldsmiths


Thursday 3 February
4.30 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Beckie Coleman | Sociology, Goldsmiths


Finance, Attention and Affect


Embodied Virus

Thursday 2 June
4.30 - 6.00pm, Room 137 | Main Building

With Christian Marazzi | Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana | Lugano, Switzerland


Monday 31 January
4.00 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Marsha Rosengarten | Sociology, Goldsmiths


Mike Smith Studio


Strange Practices: children's fear of 
transgressive urban spaces

Tuesday 24 May
5.00 - 7.00pm | Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre

With Mike Smith | Mike Smith Studio


Monday 17 January
4.00 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Karen Wells | Centre for Urban and Community
Research, Goldsmiths


Translation and the Mechanics of Embodiment: from La Mettrie's 'Machine Man' to Haraway's 'Material Semiotic'


The Politics of Bad Feeling

Monday 23 May
4.00 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With David Oswell | Sociology, Goldsmiths


Wednesday 8 December
4.30 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Sara Ahmed | Media and Communications, Goldsmiths


But Malice Afterthought: cities and the 
natural history of hatred


Explorations in Authority: a psychosocial approach

Wednesday 18 May
4.30 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Professor Nigel Thrift | School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University


Monday 6 December
4.00 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Paul Hoggett | Politics, University of West England


Fractured Identities and the Embodiment of Grief


Sonic Envelopes: aurality, subjectivity, and geometry

Monday 9 May 
4.00 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Vic Seidler | Sociology, Goldsmiths


Wednesday 24 November
4.30 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Peg Rawes


The Symbolic Concretisation of Fear and Insecurity in the Making of Objects of Class Hatred


Feminist Research and Men's Bodies

Wednesday 4 May
4.30 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Beverley Skeggs | Sociology, Goldsmiths


Monday 22 November
4.00 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Ulla-Britt Lilleaas | Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo


Taking Care: migration and the political 
economy of affective labour


The Affect of Law

Wednesday 16 March
5.00 - 6.30pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Sandro Mezzadra | Politics, Institutions and History | University of Bologna


Wednesday 10 November
4.30 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Kirsten Campbell | Sociology, Goldsmiths


Cultural Virus


Ethic or Morality: thinking bioethics

Thursday 10 March
4.00 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Luciana Parisi and Steve Goodman | Culture and Innovation Studies | University of East London


Monday 8 November
4.00 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Andrea Stockl | Sociology, Goldsmiths


Where does Bioethics come from?


Psychiatric Culture and Embodiment

Monday 7 March
4.00 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Oonagh Carrigan | Centre for Family Research, 
Cambridge University


Monday 25 October
4.00 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Lisa Blackman | Media and Communications, Goldsmiths


(In)different Politics: from the
event of life to the life of the event


Homosexuality and its Vicissitudes: the 'homosexual' other in psychoanalytic theory and practice

Thursday 24 February
4.30 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

Claudia Aradau | International Relations, Open University


Friday 15 October 
1.00 - 3.00pm | Room 274 | Main Building

With Jack Drescher



Affectio and Affectius: A workshop on Deleuze's Spinoza Lectures

Wednesday 27 October
4.30 - 6.00 pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

Led by Alberto Toscano | Sociology, Goldsmiths

Download deleuze_spinoza_affect (PDF 642kb)

One-off events

'"Where" Your People From Girl?' Gender, Race and Place Beneath Clouds

Tuesday 14 September
4.30 - 6.00pm | Room 138 | Main Building

Film review with Rosalyn Diprose