The Science and Democracy Network

The Science and Democracy Network (SDN) was established in 2002 to enhance the quality and significance of scholarship in science and technology studies (STS) by training young professionals and by forging links between STS and related fields of study and practice.

The SDN sponsors an annual meeting whose primary goal is to strengthen and deepen STS scholarship on science and democracy, and to provide training opportunities for young STS scholars to enable them to participate more effectively in decision processes and public affairs.

News and Announcements


Call for Abstracts: 16th Annual Meeting

Science and Democracy Network 16th Annual Meeting, 2017 June 29-July 1, 2017 Harvard University, Cambridge, MA USA

Call for Abstracts

The Workshop Planning Committee invites abstracts (up to 300 words) on a theme appropriate for discussion at the workshop. The closing date for abstract submissions has been extended to March 29, 2017. We will make decisions on which abstracts to accept by about a month from that date. If your abstract is accepted by the Workshop Planning Committee, you will be expected to provide a final paper for circulation to other workshop participants no later than June 2, 2017. Please keep this date in mind as you respond to the call for abstracts.

The workshop will be organized around the following major themes:

  • Institutions: Role of governmental and non-governmental institutions in producing, using, disseminating or contesting authoritative knowledge; institutions with claims to epistemic authority include NGOs, corporations, international governmental organizations, scientific institutions, the state and its agencies.
  • Citizenship and Participation: Forms and modes of citizen mobilization and expression around scientific or technological issues, including (new) social movements, new forms of participation, consumer activism, patient groups, indigenous peoples, and “liminal citizens” (endangered species, animals, embryos, and stem cells, for example).
  • Communication and Representation: Intersection between political and expert or professional discourses; role of mass media in presenting science, with particular interest in visual representation; political implications of information and communication technologies, databases, identification technologies, etc.
  • Under each theme, priority will be given to work that effectively integrates issues of political and epistemic authority. We plan to accept somewhere between 16-20 abstracts in all. Preference will be given to abstracts from people who did not present last year (though this is not an absolute rule).

    As in prior years, we will accept proposals not only for individual papers but also for panels of 3-4 papers on topics of broad interest for science and democracy. Such proposals must meet high standards of theoretical significance and/or political or policy salience. Please note that, to ensure widest participation, only one panel proposal can be accommodated in the final program. If you submit a panel proposal, but would also be willing to have the entries considered individually, please so indicate.

    This year, we would also like to solicit proposals for roundtables on current issues of relevance to SDN members, for example, reflecting on recent political developments challenging knowledge and expertise. The program may be able to accommodate one such panel (60-90 minutes) provided it is sufficiently interesting and inclusive. Panelists need not present formal papers but should represent a breadth of research experiences and institutional affiliations.

    We will also be unveiling the new SDN website (now in beta) at this year’s meeting. You will need to register with the website no later than June 2, 2017 in order to be listed as a member on the new website and access the “members only” sections.

    You should submit your abstracts via the online form. Please direct any questions to Shana Ashar at shana_ashar@hks.harvard.edu.

    14th Annual Meeting Archives Now Available

    The 15th Annual SDN Meeting was held June 23-25, 2016 at University College London and the London School of Economics and Political Science.Presenters' papers are available to members and meeting participants only in advance of the meeting.

    2015 Group Photo

    14th Annual Meeting Archives Now Available
    Program, papers, photos and video of the 14th Annual Science and Democracy Network Annual Meeting, held June 25-27, 2015 in Cambridge, MA are now available here!

    2015 Group Photo

    New SDN-Inspired Book Edited by Governing Council Members

    Can the partnership between science and democracy survive? For over two centuries, science and democracy have forged a partnership to promote freedom and rationality as the legitimate bases for governing human societies. Today, that partnership is at serious risk, from the radically enhanced power of science to produce and market world-transforming (and human-transforming) knowledge to the growing willingness of political elites to neglect and even undermine the institutional foundations of public knowledge-making. In this book, edited by Stephen Hilgartner, Rob Hagendijk, and Clark Miller, leading scholars from the Science and Democracy Network explore the profound trends that are changing the relationship between two of humanity's most significant institutions in the 21st Century.

    Special 20% discount available with code FLR40. Buy the book here

    2014 SDN Annual Meeting Hosted by the University of Vienna
    The Thirteenth Annual Meeting was hosted by the University of Vienna's STS Program and Ulrike Felt. The papers presented are located here.

    2014 SDN meeting group picture Attendees at the 13th Annual SDN Meeting in Vienna hosted by University of Vienna, June 30-July 2, 2014.

    Felt SDN 2014 Ulrike Felt welcoming the Science and Democracy Network to the Univeristy of Vienna for the 13th Annual Meeting.

    Past meetings

    Information about past meetings, back to the first meeting in 2002, is available here.

    Photos credit: Clark Miller

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    This site is hosted by the Program on Science, Technology and Society at the Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard University.