Organising Technoscientific Capitalism

Open panel session at 4S Annual Conference, New Orleans

Health & Biofutures scholar John Gardner co-organised the panel ‘Organizing technoscientific capitalism: Epistemic values, practices & assets’ with Jane Vedel (Copenhagen Business School) and Kean Birch (York University) at the recent 4S Annual Conference in New Orleans.

The panel included 18 speakers over three sessions and explored the various ways in which capitalism is becoming increasingly ‘technoscientific’. This refers to the ways in which capitalism is increasingly configured by the development and distribution of technoscientific products, services, platforms, and activities; and in turn, how technoscience is increasingly configured by the accounting, management, and performativity of profit-oriented organizational logics.

The panel explored a number of questions, such as: How are socio-epistemic relationships, practices, and resources organized to solve societal problems and/or to produce socio-economic value? What forms of knowledge and values do these relationships generate or constitute? How are these knowledges and values organized and managed? Are different forms and practices of knowledge more or less subject to processes of assetization, commodification, and/or capitalization? Do these processes assetization, commodification, and/or capitalization open up and/or close down the possibilities for inter-organizational relationships and practices?

John presented his research on how public hospitals are being impacted by technoscientific capitalism. He argued that there has been an idealistic re-imagination of public hospitals as entrepreneurial research and innovation platforms, yet at the same time, many public hospitals have become entwined in crippling financial arrangements (e.g. private finance initiatives) that undermine their ability to support research, innovation and provide comprehensive care.