• Claudia Maria Bagge-Petersen
4. term, Techno-Anthropology, Master (Master Programme)
Exploring the scientific expedition – reflections of hidden work and hidden actors in scientific production
Science studies have often been equated with the study of one particular site, namely the laboratory. Science studies scholars are clearly well aware that other locations such as conferences, journals, expeditions or lecture halls play important roles, but science studies nevertheless tend to be written from the perspective of the laboratory. The purpose of this paper is to explore scientific practices from the perspective of a less described site of science, namely the expedition. The paper is based on a six-week anthropological study conducted onboard a research vessel crossing the North Atlantic. The study follows the hidden and unmanageable objects of the expedition, such as gas in the atmosphere and the ocean, bubbles, storms and climate. It also accounts for the various types of expected and unexpected work and collaboration that takes place between participating scientist and the vessel staff. In more general terms, the study explores the types of work and relations that are established on board the vessel and in relation to non-present scientific sites, such as the home laboratory and the future conferences. On this basis, the study reflects on the topology of the scientific expedition and on the relation between practices and actors that are sometimes hiding and sometimes visible. I conclude that the scientific expedition is a techno-scientific site that has to be explored neither as an experiment nor a laboratory nor a fieldtrip but in its own right.
Key words: scientific expedition, hidden practices, hidden actors, anti-translation, association collective, validation, instrumental alliances
Publication date10 Jun 2014
Number of pages81
ID: 198670417