UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies


Seminar: Andy Stirling(Sussex) - 'Emancipating Transformations: from accelerating control to murmurating care'

Start: Mar 21, 2018 04:00 PM

Location: UCL Chadwick Building, room 2.18


21st March 2018, starting at 16:30, with tea and coffee available from 16:00. (PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE)


Spanning a full normative register from notionally positive to negative, themes of “control” feature ever more strongly in high-profile imaginations around technology. These range, for instance (on the Cornucopian side), from diverse forms of technocentric accelerationism around human enhancement, a ‘smart planet’ and ‘the Singularity’; to equally disparate ideas coming out of catastrophist sensibilities concerning ‘the Great Acceleration’ and supposed necessities for ‘Anthropocene’ ‘planetary management’. Each in different ways helps suppress space for political discourse – and thus further attenuate understandings of what might be meant by democracy. Whether ostensibly hopeful or fearful, then (and despite many differences), it seems there is an under-scrutinised convergence around a new ‘unpolitics’ of control? Seeking alternative axes that help escape these restrictive normative dichotomies around fallacies of control, I will explore implications of less categorical, more relational (and more horizontal, mutualistic and recursively nonlinear) notions around care.

About the speaker

Formerly Research Director for SPRU (2006-13) and the Sussex Management School (2009-2012), my current work here involves research and postgraduate teaching on democracr and sustainability in science and technology. Among many projects, I co-direct the ESRC-funded joint IDS-SPRU STEPS Centre, am Deputy Director for the DEFRA-funded joint Surrey-Sussex Research Group on Sustainable Lifestyles, and the Director of a spin-off University Enterprise on Multicriteria Mapping. A longstanding member of the Sussex Energy Group, I'm SPRU PI for collaborative initiatives on governance of climate geoengineering and the discontinuing of technological systems. I'm also involved in projects on reframing general concepts of security, understanding energy security, mapping science systems and exploring 'responsible innovation'.  I serve on the Research Committee of the ESRC and on editorial boards for the Journal of Risk Research, Minerva, Nature EMBO Reports, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management and Environmental Innovation and Societal Transition.

STS research seminars

The purpose of this series is to provide colleagues with an opportunity to present their latest research results and discuss them within a collegial atmosphere. 

STS research seminars are open to scholars from any academic field. These normally are research intensive, specialised events, of interest specifically to scholars in the discipline. More upcoming talks in the STS research seminar series are listed in the STS calendar (link).