9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN33 Women's and Gender Studies

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Gendered Pathways of Professional Success Building II, C4.01

The object women in science in trading zones

Today, there is a lot of talk about women in science. Different talk in different contexts. Women in science are an object of interest for science policy, research, support organisations, industry, researchers, media, cosmetic firms (L'Oreal Prize for Women Scientists), students and others. In our presentation we are concerned with women in science. Not practicing researchers doing scientific work but the object "women in science" as it is being enacted in various spaces in Europe: organisations for supporting women in science, gender and feminist theoreticians, science policies. With John Law (2004) we look into which object women in science is made to matter in each of these domains, and how these objects interact, struggle to matter in places where they meet, places that Peter Galison calls the trading zone (1999).

Building on the concept of trading zones (1999) we explore the ways in which these various objects "women in science" are communicated in arenas and among actors who "speak differently" or, as Gorman puts it "have difficulty communicating" (2002). We are interested in how some objects are made to matter more and some less, and how this happens. Building on Law┬┤s classification we develop the mode of anti-interference to showcase the ways in which powerful and dominant object of women in science manages to enforce itself from science policy to the other domains, and how other objects women in science are silenced, made not to matter. We argue that despite the problems with enacting the "avantguard" object women in science, current changes in science and science policy with its stress on accountability do open and legitimate objects enacted from the avantguard and must be insisted upon.

Galison, Peter. 1999. Trading Zone: Coordinating Action and belief. Pp. 137-160 in Bagioli, Mario (ed.). The Science Studies Reader. New York: Routledge.
Gorman, Michael. E. 2002. Levels of Expertise and Trading Zones: A Framework for Multidisciplinary Analysis. Social Studies of Science 32 (5-6): 933-938.
Law, John. 2004. Matter-ing, Or How Might STS Contribute?, published by the Centre for Science Studies, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YL, UK at http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/sociology/papers/law-matter-ing.pdf. [cit. 2.10.2008].