Traveling Comparisons: Ethnographic Reflections on Science and Technology

Volume 07, Issue 2

This special issue aims to investigate some novel uses of the comparative method at the intersections of STS and anthropology through ethnographic accounts of technoscience in various Asian contexts. In today's globalizing world, knowledge is under constant negotiation and reordering around conflicting ideas of progress and development. Nowhere is it more evident than in the daily practices of living and working with old and new technologies. Scientists, mechanics, physicians, and farmers whom anthropologists encounter in the field see development, uniqueness, or backwardness in their innovations in the midst of complex relations, which connect local innovations and routines with the transnational circulation of people, objects, and information. How do these flows and unexpected connections stimulate innovators and users to make comparisons in their daily engagements with technologies? How should anthropologists and STS scholars reflect on the fact that while comparisons make connections, connections make comparisons as well? This introduction tackles such questions in order to account for the rich traffic between conceptual frameworks and methodological tools in the five articles that follow.

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