In this article we argue that the notion of control poses a critical conceptual and historical connection between scientific and political power. While many meanings of control originate in the sciences, concepts of experimentation, care, and learning currently translate into increasingly decentralized governance concepts, be it through market-logics or surveillance technologies. That is, epistemic and social control is co-constituted. Collaborative research plays a transformative but paradoxical role in this interplay: Science and Technology Studies scholars have leveraged powerful critiques against techno-scientific control and have shaped practical modes of transdisciplinary research. However, the critique of techno-scientific control is increasingly mixed up with post-truth controversies, and the appeal to inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration has been appropriated by neoliberal science policy. The historical conundrum culminates in a practical dilemma: Collaborative researchers seek to overcome the very regimes of techno-scientific control that the sciences are bound to co-produce. Can they shift the control regimes that they are part of? Collaborative research requires a critical and pragmatic standpoint with regard to both the methods of politics and the politics of methodology. This special issue seeks to come to terms with the inherent contradictions of collaborative research and make useful proposals with regard to its political potential.
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Herberg, J., & Vilsmaier, U. (2020). Social and Epistemic Control in Collaborative Research — Reconfiguring the Interplay of Politics and Methodology. Social epistemology, 34(4), 309-318. doi:10.1080/02691728.2019.1706115.
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