Tag Archives: Expertise

Special Issue: Science of Giants: China and India in the Twentieth Century‏



Table of contents:

Another global history of science: making space for India and China ASIF SIDDIQI

Green-revolution epistemologies in China and India: technocracy and revolution in the production of scientific knowledge and peasant identity MADHUMITA SAHA and SIGRID SCHMALZER

Investigating nature within different discursive and ideological contexts: case studies of Chinese and Indian coal capitals PIN-HSIEN WU

Negotiating natural history in transitional China and British India FA-TI FAN and JOHN MATHEW

How deep is love? The engagement with India in Joseph Needham’s historiography of China LEON ANTONIO ROCHA

The future arrives earlier in Palo Alto (but when it’s high noon there, it’s already tomorrow in Asia): a conversation about writing science fiction and reimagining histories of science and technology

Planning for science and technology in China and India JAHNAVI PHALKEY and ZUOYUE WANG

Studying the snow leopard: reconceptualizing conservation across the China–India border MICHAEL LEWIS and E. ELENA SONGSTER

High-tech utopianism: Chinese and Indian science parks in the neo-liberal turn DIGANTA DAS and TONG LAM

Call for Papers : Technology, technicians and the state in South Asia, political and social uses of technical knowledge

Technology, technicians and the state in South Asia: political and social uses of technical knowledge

The 24th ECSAS (European Conference on South Asian Studies) will take place at the University of Warsaw (Poland) from 27 to 30 July 2016.


Berenice Girard (EHESS Paris) email
Vanessa Caru (CNRS ) email
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

This panel invites reflexions and case studies on the political and social uses of technology in South Asia, to discuss its centrality in government policies. Technology is here understood in an extensive manner, to include different types of technical knowledge, practices and tools.

Long Abstract

This panel invites reflexions and case studies on the political and social uses of technology in South Asia. Technology is here understood in an extensive manner to include different types of technical knowledge, practices and tools. The centrality of technology in government policies has been widely discussed in contemporary research. This panel would like to discuss this centrality while adopting a historical perspective on the evolving political use of technology and a specific focus on South Asia.

In the years following Independence, technology was conceived as a central tool to further the economic development and social policies of South Asian countries, and technical elites were offered important roles in the implementation of technocratic development programs. The present context of liberalisation and redefinition of the role of the State seems however to have brought both new uses and actors, as well as changes in the modes of interaction between States and technologies. We invite papers discussing this dynamic, and especially welcome case studies focusing on the specific use and place of technology in social policies. We further invite papers looking at processes of defining politically pertinent technologies, as well as detailed papers on the interaction and relationship between the different technical professional groups and the State. Finally, we also invite reflexions and case studies on how technology affects States’ prerogatives, balances of power and control over political territories and spaces in South Asia.

Propose paper

Book: Roads, an anthropology of infrastructure and expertise


Roads, An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise

Penny Harvey, Hannah Knox

Cornell University Press : http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100865490.

Roads matter to people. This claim is central to the work of Penny Harvey and Hannah Knox, who in this book use the example of highway building in South America to explore what large public infrastructural projects can tell us about contemporary state formation, social relations, and emerging political economies.

Roads focuses on two main sites: the interoceanic highway currently under construction between Brazil and Peru, a major public/private collaboration that is being realized within new, internationally ratified regulatory standards; and a recently completed one-hundred-kilometer stretch of highway between Iquitos, the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon, and a small town called Nauta, one of the earliest colonial settlements in the Amazon. The Iquitos-Nauta highway is one of the most expensive roads per kilometer on the planet.

Combining ethnographic and historical research, Harvey and Knox shed light on the work of engineers and scientists, bureaucrats and construction company officials. They describe how local populations anticipated each of the road projects, even getting deeply involved in questions of exact routing as worries arose that the road would benefit some more than others. Connectivity was a key recurring theme as people imagined the prosperity that will come by being connected to other parts of the country and with other parts of the world. Sweeping in scope and conceptually ambitious, Roads tells a story of global flows of money, goods, and people—and of attempts to stabilize inherently unstable physical and social environments.

Colloque ingénieurs FO 17 juin 2014 : programme


Du savoir-faire artisanal d’Imhotep à la formalisation des connaissances de l’époque moderne, en passant par Gutenberg, de Vinci ou Eiffel, pour n’en citer que quelques-uns, l’expertise technique fut de tout temps le trait caractéristique de la figure de l’ingénieur, plaçant ce dernier au cœur des transformations économiques et sociales.

Qu’en est-il aujourd’hui au regard des évolutions technologiques et d’une société toujours plus fortement modelée par la rationalité économique et le court-terme ? Cela préfigure-t-il une transformation historique de l’identité de l’ingénieur ? Cela pose-t-il un regard nouveau sur le contenu et la valorisation de leur formation ? Sur leur recrutement au sein des entreprises ? Enfin, comment l’évolution de leur carrière dans l’excellence scientifique et la défense de la reconnaissance de leur qualification et de leur diplôme est-elle appréhendée par les ingénieurs ?
Autant de questions auxquelles les participants aux trois tables rondes tenteront de répondre. Continue reading

New Issue Feb 2014 Seminar Magazine : State of Science

    Posed by Dhruv Raina, Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

    Benjamin Zachariah, Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, University of Heidlherg

    Shiju Sam Varughese
    Centre for Studies in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, School of Social Sciences, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar Continue reading

Publication: The General Review of Public Policies in France

Odile Henry, Frédéric Pierru (ed.), « Le conseil de l’État (2) – Le “moment RGPP” », Actes de la Recherche en sciences sociales, n°194, Septembre 2012

Contents :

Les sommets très privés de l’État
Le « Club des acteurs de la modernisation » et l’hybridation des élites
Julie Gervais

« On n’y comprend rien »
Des salariés européens face à l’action des cabinets de conseil dans la réforme de l’audiovisuel public
Pierre-Emmanuel Sorignet

Le mandarin, le gestionnaire et le consultant
Le tournant néolibéral de la politique hospitalière
Frédéric Pierru

Les syndicats et l’expertise en risques psychosociaux
Note de recherche sur les années noires du management à France Télécom Orange
Odile Henry

Les comptes des générations
Les valeurs du futur et la transformation de l’État social
Yann Le Lann et Benjamin Lemoine

Hors thème :

Transformations morphologiques et mobilisations disciplinaires
Les enseignants et étudiants de l’Institut d’anglais de la Sorbonne en 1968
Christophe Gaubert et Marie-Pierre Pouly

Online version available here

Publication: Private Expertise and the State

Odile Henry, Frédéric Pierru (ed.), « Le conseil de l’État (1) – Expertise Privée et Réformes des Services Publics », Actes de la Recherche en sciences sociales, n°193, Juin 2012


Les consultants et la réforme des services publics
Odile Henry et Frédéric Pierru

Etat, experts et savoirs néo-managériaux
Les producteurs et diffuseurs du New Public Management en France depuis les années 1970
Philippe Bezes

Un entrepreneur de réforme de l’Etat : Henri Fayol (1841-1925)
Odile Henry

Du grand soir au clair obscur
Expertise économique et privatisation bureaucratique de l’assurance maladie
Daniel Benamouzig

Du militant au manager
La trajectoire d’un syndicaliste au sein d’une entreprise publique
Sylvain Thine

Expertise, politiques publiques et économie créative : le cas britanique
Philip Schlesinger

Hors thèmes :

L’économie symbolique du capital social: Notes pour un programme de recherche
Bruno Cousin et Sébastien Chauvin

 Online version avaialable here

Book: Rule of Experts

Timothy Mitchell, Rule of Experts, Egypt, Techno-politics, Modernity, Berkeley and Los Angeles, UC Press, 2002

“Can one explain the power of global capitalism without attributing to capital a logic and coherence it does not have? Can one account for the powers of techno-science in terms that do not merely reproduce its own understanding of the world?

Rule of Experts examines these questions through a series of interrelated essays focused on Egypt in the twentieth century. These explore the way malaria, sugar cane, war, and nationalism interacted to produce the techno-politics of the modern Egyptian state; the forms of debt, discipline, and violence that founded the institution of private property; the methods of measurement, circulation, and exchange that produced the novel idea of a national “economy,” yet made its accurate representation impossible; the stereotypes and plagiarisms that created the scholarly image of the Egyptian peasant; and the interaction of social logics, horticultural imperatives, powers of desire, and political forces that turned programs of economic reform in unanticipated directions.

Mitchell is a widely known political theorist and one of the most innovative writers on the Middle East. He provides a rich examination of the forms of reason, power, and expertise that characterize contemporary politics. Together, these intellectually provocative essays will challenge a broad spectrum of readers to think harder, more critically, and more politically about history, power, and theory.”



I. Economies of Truth
1. Can the Mosquito Speak?
2. Principles True in Every Country
3. The Character of Calculability
II. Peasant Studies
4. The Invention and Reinvention of the Peasant
5. Nobody Listens to a Poor Man
6. Heritage and Violence
III. Fixing the Economy
7. The Object of Development
8. The Market’s Place
9. Dreamland

Select Bibliography”

Book Review: 

Michel Callon, “L’Égypte et les experts. Compte-rendu du Livre de Tim Mitchell, Rule of Experts”, Gérer et comprendre, 86, Décembre 2006, p.83-97. URL: http://www.annales.org/gc/2006/gc86/egypte.pdf



Book: Paradox of Scientific Authority

The Paradox of Scientific Authority
The Role of Scientific Advice in Democracies
Wiebe E. Bijker, Roland Bal and Ruud Hendriks

“Today, scientific advice is asked for (and given) on questions ranging from stem-cell research to genetically modified food. And yet it often seems that the more urgently scientific advice is solicited, the more vigorously scientific authority is questioned by policy makers, stakeholders, and citizens. This book examines a paradox: how scientific advice can be influential in society even when the status of science and scientists seems to be at a low ebb. The authors do this by means of an ethnographic study of the creation of scientific authority at one of the key sites for the interaction of science, policy, and society: the scientific advisory committee.

The Paradox of Scientific Authority offers a detailed analysis of the inner workings of the influential Health Council of the Netherlands (the equivalent of the National Academy of Science in the United States), examining its societal role as well as its internal functioning and using the findings to build a theory of scientific advising. The question of scientific authority has political as well as scholarly relevance. Democratic political institutions, largely developed in the nineteenth century, lack the institutional means to address the twenty-first century’s pervasively scientific and technological culture; and science and technology studies (S&TS) grapples with the central question of how to understand the authority of science while recognizing its socially constructed nature.”

About the Authors

Wiebe E. Bijker is Professor of Technology and Society at the University of Maastricht. He is the author of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change (MIT Press, 1997) and other books.

Roland Bal is Professor in and Founding Chair of the Department of Healthcare Governance of the Institute of Health Policy and Management, Rotterdam.

Ruud Hendriks is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Maastricht.

Interview: Wiebe Bijker

Genetically modified organism and nanotechnology

Wiebe E. Bijker, Professor, Faculty of Arts and Culture, Universiteit Maastricht, the Netherlands, was in conversation with R. Prasad on GMO and nanothechnology


See also