If you love me, go away!
Deploying Diasporas and Activating Care from the Back Room
IV Annual Meeting of the Social Studies of Science and Technology Network (Red esCTS)
4-6 June 2014 | Salamanca
“If you love me, go away!” yelled Lola Flores on the edge of desperation at her daughter Lolita’s wedding in an iconic moment of grotesque cañi… “If you love me, go away!”: a call to affection and a bond disguising a kick in the butt. “Go away!… if you love me…”. A bit of emotional blackmail that leads us to an immobilising paradox? Or is it a paradox that mobilises us and reveals some of the contradictions in which we currently find ourselves? “If you love me, go away!” is what many young people, who have decided, showing an immense “curiosity for travel”, to take off on the path of diaspora seem to hear all the time… Young people and not so young people who say: “we’re not leaving, we are being kicked out,” and yet are presented by the authorities as an example of “international mobility” – Fátima Báñez dixit.
Now that the austerity scissors are busy cutting, dismantling and thinning out public services, the science and technology system and social life in general; now that healthcare services are being eliminated and the spectrum of public healthcare beneficiaries is being shortened; now that education fees are being raised and grants are becoming somewhat unattainable with the resulting expulsion of those with less resources from higher education; now that projects and training contracts are being paralysed, making it impossible to continue the research work of many young people; now we are yelling “If you love me, go away!”.-…
That outburst is perhaps what best summarises that sort of blind and non-promising invitation that seems to open up before our eyes. Is it a leap in the dark or a springboard? Such an expression, however, also contains somehow the irony of resistance. It reveals the daily mechanisms of sketching out liveable lives – the networks working in the back room that allow us, dwarves as we are, to make the maintenance and care work that sustains the precarious fabric of science possible. It is not the giants of “excellence”, from the Shanghai rankings or the impact factors that really sustain scientific activity but rather a myriad of “dwarves”, of routine practises not at all “heroic”, of non-recognised work made invisible.
By adopting the expression “If you love me, go away!”, we would like to bring the importance of this back room work out into the sun and to walk along that fine wire between nonsense and misery, between resistance and survival, between gripsack and precariousness, between again another flight and a work overload, trying to make visible those informal spaces, those material and affective networks and that essential care that has been forgotten but that really allow us to hold each other and the scientific system up.
Diasporas speaking of those who have gone but also those who remain, of the possibilities and limitations of the journey, of the networks needed for it, of the ties mobilised for its establishment…
Care highlighting this space for routine tasks in the practise of knowledge, which ensure its maintenance: from the systematic attention to the results of an experiment or detailed observations gathered in an ethnographic project to the material and affective maintenance of networks and people…
Back rooms and dwarves facing off against the brightness of supposed excellence and the giants in the headlines, that is… all of this fundamental work that is obscured, neglected and gets quickly devalued…
…and resistance created from within these spaces made invisible.
The encounter is aimed at anyone interested in doing research in social studies of science and technology, in any of the many disciplines this involves (history, sociology, history of science, philosophy of science, medicine, feminism, engineering, anthropology, psychology, environmental studies, law, gender research, etc.) irrespective of their academic position or level of training.
Send your proposal (max. 250 words). Language: It might be in any of the official languages of the Spanish state, English and Portuguese. Please, include contact data (name, email address, institution). Send us your proposals and we will discuss them.
You may send us proposals or make queries by writing to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline for sending proposals:
8th March 2014 22nd March 2014
Attendance at the meeting will be open and free of charge.
Spanish Network for the Social Studies of Science and Technology (esCTS)
The esCTS is a non-profit network of professionals whose aim is to put people who work in the area of Social Studies of Science and Technology (CTS) into contact and foster communication among them. Our intention is to consolidate CTS studies in Spain and create a place for participation, communication and reflection for established researchers and younger people who are just starting out in their careers (doctoral students and recent graduates).