Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
If Intervention Is Method, What Are We Learning?: A Commentary on Brian Martin’s “STS and Researcher Intervention Strategies”
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3008-1297
2016 (English)In: Engaging Science, Technology, and Society, ISSN 2413-8053, Vol. 1, no 2, 73-82 p.Article, review/survey (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

In STS and Researcher Intervention Strategies, Brian Martin expresses his concern about the lack of strategic guidance STS offers for intervening in controversies in which actors are being marginalized. This is an interesting contrast with some classic critiques of Actor-Network Theory. Leigh Star famously argued that the over-emphasis of ANT on strategic  action made it particularly poorly equipped to study heterogeneity––an analytical and political problem at once. I argue that guidance on intervention as research method should actively resist the urge to make intervention “strategic.” Considering intervention as a scholarly method  for producing novel insights about our topics is diametrically opposed to considering intervention strategically , that is, as means to achieving predefined scholarly or normative goals. Drawing on previous, recent, and ongoing work on intervention as an equally non-strategic and nondetached method for developing new knowledge and new normativities, I explore how such work would speak to Martin’s challenge of intervening in controversies and what could be some interesting lessons such an experiment might spark. A strategic take on intervention is important for Martin because it challenges a linear model of STS knowledge production: scholars prioritizing the development of greater understanding of phenomena, hoping that such knowledge can then be beneficial for society later on. Approaching intervention as method, however, challenges problematic linear models of STS knowledge, not by inverting the linearity (from areas of social importance to knowledge production), but by extending non-linear scholarship to our own and others’ normativities. This allows STS scholars to take their concerns about the practices they are involved in seriously without violating their equal attachment to reflexivity, unpredictability, and situatedness. Such a prospect may help STS scholars to explore what it means to live the multiple membership of societally and academically concerned communities, which is what considering intervention strategically would make us lose.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 1, no 2, 73-82 p.
Keyword [en]
intervention; methods; sentimentality; artful contamination; normativity
National Category
Gender Studies Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-130344DOI: 10.17351/ests2016.90OAI: diva2:950337
Available from: 2016-07-29 Created: 2016-07-29 Last updated: 2016-08-18

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(188 kB)8 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 188 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Zuiderent-Jerak, Teun
By organisation
Technology and Social ChangeFaculty of Arts and Sciences
Gender StudiesSocial Sciences Interdisciplinary

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 8 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 30 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link