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Digital Knowledge Networks and Technoscientific Controversies in Latin America

Principal Investigator:


Aug 01, 2016 — Aug 31, 2018

The rise of digital culture is increasingly transforming the ways in which knowledge is produced, diffused, and shaped. Digital technologies intensify interactions among those who produce scientific knowledge but can also open new channels of communication to actors who are not immediately involved in academia or research. The new roles such actors are assuming in technoscientific controversies are changing the dynamics and power relationships in knowledge networks, posing important conceptual and methodological challenges to existing scholarship on such networks. Drawing on digital sociology and science and technology studies (STS), this project seeks to address these challenges by answering the following questions:1) what has been the impact of digital culture on knowledge networks in Latin America and 2) how are the asymmetrical power relations among actors there shifting due to mediated engagement? By combining a digital ethnography with quantitative methods, the project will contribute to developing a more comprehensive theorization of digital knowledge networks. The project will seek to take a step forward in 1) proposing the development of innovative mixed methods and analytical strategies for the study of digital knowledge networks at the interface between qualitative and quantitative procedures, 2) contributing towards providing evidence of the specific impacts of digital culture in the three selected cases of controversies in the intensive technoscientific fields of nanotechnology, genomics and artificial intelligence in Latin America, 3) examining new forms of citizen engagement in knowledge networks and ongoing shifts in their power relations due to their participation in the controversies related to digital technologies and platforms, 4) changing ideas about Latin America’s peripheral role in science and technology activities and the relevant actors currently participating in knowledge networks.