Sociotechnologies, sovereignty, and transdisciplinary research

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    When researchers from an academic knowledge tradition undertake transdisciplinary research – that is, research which takes seriously knowledge practices quite alien to the disciplines of the academy – science and technology studies can help unpick some of the assumptions which are embedded in their research practice. The analysis of sociotechnologies, which are understood as phenomena which are indivisibly both social and technical, allows a researcher in the many unique contexts of Australia’s remote Northern Territory, to take seriously the understandings and methods of Aboriginal knowledge authorities, and work collaboratively and generatively with them. In this paper, examples from research collaborations in education, language, politics, housing and health in the Northern Territory explores the utility of the STS analytic concept ‘sociotechnology’. In each example our methods identify tensions between practices – including epistemics – which remain unresolved except insofar as they may point towards strategies to address problems of the moment. Aboriginal sovereignty can be seen as a key to understanding the position of the academic researcher in transdisciplinary work, and conceptually sociotechnology offers a means to respect and engage with the ancestral knowledge practices and authority of Aboriginal elders.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6-11
    Number of pages6
    JournalLearning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social contexts
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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