Open call: Where is science going? Scenarios and perspectives of contemporary technoscience

Dario Altobelli's picture
Call for Papers
November 20, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Research and Methodology, Social Sciences, Sociology

Organisms. Journal of Biological Sciences

E-ISSN 2532-5876

Special Issue: Where is science going? Scenarios and perspectives of contemporary technoscience

Open Call for Submissions

Deadline: November 20, 2021

Subject Fields: Anthropology of Science, History of Science, Sociology of Science / Philosophy of Science, Epistemology / Foundations of Science / Life Sciences, Biology / Physics / Complexity, Complex Systems

Keywords: science, technoscience, life sciences, physics, foundations of science, epistemology, complexity, reductionism

In 1993, S.O. Funtowicz and J.R Ravetz introduced the idea of “Post-Normal Science” (PNS). This is an innovative conception of science based on the acceptance of uncertainty, the clarification of values, interactive dialogue, and the historical dimension for facing the “new challenges of global environmental problems.” Such problems require an expansion or public participation, that is, an “extended peer community” and a strength of democracy in both science and society. Given the pandemic, which demonstrates the well-known theses of U. Beck’s “risk society” (1986, 2007), not only has PNS not been realized but science seems to present itself ever more as a technosciencewith characteristics that deserve to be investigated in depth.

Technoscience refers to a globally extended apparatus. This tends to be coordinated in multiple networks connecting national and transnational organizations and institutions. The theoretical and operational capabilities of these networks include research, regulation, and production with a high level of disciplinary and technological specialization that constantly transforms the world (Nowotny, Scott & Gibbons 2001). This complex apparatus is mirrored by a set of cultural and symbolic elements that include ideas, images, and collective representations associated with terms such as “science”, “technology”, and “scientist”.

The combination of these material and symbolic elements in the dynamics of the global society seems to question the internal and external boundaries of the technoscientific “machine”. This is reflected at every level of connected productivity: theoretical, imaginary, discursive, operational, applicative, and technological. This aspect determines an immeasurable expansion of the skills and effects of technoscience which, extending from the level of representations to that of practices and without interruption or hindrance, reaches the dimension of social totality. Therefore, a sort of redefinition, or better, a re-foundation takes place in society, reshaped by the technoscientific lexicon.

Noticeably, technoscience posits that individuals should be viewed as machines. As such, they can be deconstructed in a reductionist way into parts that are mostly ruled by the genome considered as the principal causative level. The crisis of reductionism started more than a century ago in physical sciences with the seminal concepts by H. Poincaré (1892, 1902), thus having turned the science of complexity into a well-consolidated branch over the past decades since the works of W. Weaver (1948), E.N. Lorenz (1963), P. Anderson (1972), I. Prigogine and I. Stengers (1979), E. Morin (1990), and Strumia (2007) among others. The concept of complexity then spread across disciplines, including life sciences. Nevertheless, the current reductionist approach is at the root of the so-called target-based medicine, which reduces physiological and pathological processes to a linear interplay among few molecular actors. This way, it loses the overwhelming complexity of the living organisms as an integrated and coherent system evolving across time.

Therefore, science has encountered a number of threatening failures. The so-called “reproducibility crisis” has produced several problems in scientific strategy, policy, and independence. This also impacts big data access, cross-checking, and conduct. Essentially, such considerations call for a deep rethinking of sciences to embrace both new theoretical and methodological perspectives.


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Organisms. Journal of Biological Sciences invites contributions that reflect on those topics and in particular, but not limited to:

- the concept of “scientific truth”

- frontiers of complexity theory and new reductionisms

- the epistemological problem of method in contemporary scenarios

- the problem of reliability of research and technoscientific products

- role and perspectives of technoscience in global society

- the question of the relationship between science and politics which translates into a “new politics of science”

Organisms. Journal of Biological Sciences is an open access, peer-reviewed, online journal publishing articles about basic, translational, theoretical and clinical research.

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Guest Editors

Dario Altobelli, Researcher TD-B, General Sociology, Department of Legal and Social Studies. University “G. d’Annunzio” – via dei Vestini, 31 Chieti – Viale Pindaro, 42 Pescara – Italy. His research areas include sociology and the history of science, with particular reference to the utopian dimensions of life sciences. Among his publications: (2012). I sogni della biologia. Utopia e ideologia delle scienze della vita del Novecento, Cedam, Padova, ISBN 978-88-13-33330-0 (book); (2017). The reasonableness of irrationality. A sociological reading of Cesare Lombroso and his work, in Between Rationality and Irrationality. Early Sociological Theory in Italy, edited by A. Millefiorini, M. Ruzzeddu, L'Harmattan Italia, Torino-Paris, pp. 17-40, ISBN Italia: 978-88-7892-322-5; ISBN France: 978-2-336-31205-7 (article); (2017). "Una inalienabile e indistruttibile qualità umana". Clonazione e ingegneria genetica nella riflessione di Jean Baudrillard e Jü​rgen Habermas, "Sociologia. Rivista Quadrimestrale di Scienze Storiche e Sociali", Anno LI, 2017/3, pp. 46-56, ISBN: 978-88-492-3405-3, ISSN: 0038-0156 (article).

Jacopo Parravicini, Researcher TD-A, Matter Physics, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Florence – via Sansone 1 Sesto Fiorentino (FI) – Italy. Since 2018 to 2021 he was adjunct professor of the history and teaching of physics at Milano-Bicocca University and he is currently teaching “Foundations of experimental Physics” as part of the Ph.D. course in Physics and Astronomy at Florence University. In 2008 he received the “A. Righi” prize of the Italian Physical Society, and in 2020 he became Invited External Fellowof the Erasmus Centre for Innovation of Rotterdam University. His current research activity deals with several fields of experimental matter physics, including: disordered, nonlinear and dissipative systems; specifically, physics of nonergodic materials, dielectric and structural properties of semiconductors, linear and nonlinear optics of nonequilibrium crystals, optics in disordered and complex systems. Further research topics include innovative nonlinear microscopy systems, structural, optical, electric properties of inorganic materials for photovoltaic applications and processes in ultra-cold fermionic gases for quantum simulations. He is a member of the Italian Physical Society and Optical Society of America, of which has been a "Senior Member" since 2019. To date, he is co-author of 65 publications, 43 of which in international peer-reviewed journals and 22 in international conference proceedings.

Nicola Schiavone, Researcher RTI, General Pathology, Department of Experimental and Clinical Biomedical Sciences “Mario Serio”, University of Florence – Viale G.B. Morgagni, 50 Florence – Italy. His research areas include Experimental and Molecular Oncology. His main research area is the study of apoptosis, bcl-2 mRNA metabolism, and the relevant trans-acting factors. He is also involved in the study of the human amniotic membrane as a healing tool in retinal pathologies. Among his publications: Capaccioli S, Quattrone A, Schiavone N, Calastretti A, Copreni E, Bevilacqua A, Canti G, Gong L, Morelli S, Nicolin A. A bcl-2/IgH antisense transcript deregulates bcl-2 gene expression in human follicular lymphoma t(14;18) cell lines.Oncogene. 13:105-15, 1996; Morelli S, Delia D, Capaccioli S, Quattrone A, Schiavone N, Bevilacqua A, Tomasini S, Nicolin A.The antisense bcl-2-IgH transcript is an optimal target for synthetic oligonucleotides.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 94:8150-5, 1997. Lapucci A, Donnini M, Papucci L, Witort E, Tempestini A, Bevilacqua A, Nicolin A, Brewer G, Schiavone N, Capaccioli S. AUF1 Is a bcl-2 A + U-rich element-binding protein involved in bcl-2 mRNA destabilization during apoptosis.J Biol Chem. 277:16139-46, 2002. Donnini M, Lapucci A, Papucci L, Witort E, Jacquier A, Brewer G, Nicolin A, Capaccioli S, Schiavone N. Identification of TINO: a new evolutionarily conserved BCL-2 AU-rich element RNA-binding protein.J Biol Chem. 279:20154-66, 2004. Lapucci A, Lulli M, Amedei A, Papucci L, Witort E, Di Gesualdo F, Bertolini F, Brewer G, Nicolin A, Bevilacqua A, Schiavone N, Morello D, Donnini M, Capaccioli S. zeta-Crystallin is a bcl-2 mRNA binding protein involved in bcl-2 overexpression in T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia.FASEB J. 24:1852-65, 2010. Lulli M, Nencioni D, Papucci L, Schiavone N. Zeta-crystallin: a moonlighting player in cancer.Cell Mol Life Sci. 77:965-976, 2020. Kakkar S, Singh M, Mohan Karuppayil S, Raut JS, Giansanti F, Papucci L, Schiavone N, Nag TC, Gao N, Yu FX, Ramzan M, Kaur IP. Lipo-PEG nano-ocular formulation successfully encapsulates hydrophilic fluconazole and traverses corneal and non-corneal path to reach posterior eye segment.J Drug Target. 29:631-650, 2021.