Visualizing Devices for Configuring Complex Phenomena in-the-Making



STS scholars are engaging in collaborative research in order to study extended socio-technical phenomena. This article participates in discussions on methodography and inventive methods by reflecting on visualizations used both internally by a team of researchers and together with study participants. We describe how these devices for generating and transforming data were brought to our ethnographic inquiry into the formation of research infrastructures which we found to involve unwieldy and evolving phenomena. The visualizations are partial renderings of the object of inquiry, crafted and informed by ‘configuration’ as a method of assemblage that supports ethnographic study of contemporary socio-technical phenomena. We scrutinize our interdisciplinary bringing together of visualizing devices - timelines, collages, and sketches - and position them in the STS methods toolbox for inquiry and invention. These devices are key to investigating and engaging with the dynamics of configuring infrastructures intended to support scientific knowledge production. We conclude by observing how our three kinds of visualizing devices provide flexibility, comprehension and in(ter)ventive opportunities for study of and engagement with complex phenomena in-the-making.


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Special Issue: Methodography of Ethnographic Collaboration


2021-04-15 — Updated on 2021-09-15


How to Cite

Karasti, H., Botero, A., Saad-Sulonen, J. and Baker, K. S. (2021) “Visualizing Devices for Configuring Complex Phenomena in-the-Making”, Science & Technology Studies, 34(3), pp. 55–77. doi: 10.23987/sts.95083.