Evidence Regime(s) in Contemporary Knowledge Societies

Evidence Regime(s) in Contemporary Knowledge Societies

DFG Forschungsgruppe 2448. Evidenzpraktiken in Wissenschaft, Medizin, Technik und Gesellschaft
Vorhoelzer Forum TUM und Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung Nymphenburg
Gefördert durch
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft und Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung Nymphenburg
Findet statt
In Präsenz
Vom - Bis
25.04.2023 - 28.04.2023
Olga Sparschuh, Professur für Technikgeschichte, Technische Universität München

In times of heated debates about ‘fake news’ or ‘alternative facts’, calls for evidence (and counter-evidence) have become a widespread socio-epistemic strategy. Our workshop aims to understand regime(s) of evidence, conceived as the sets of rules and cultural and social norms determining the ways in which past and present (knowledge) societies have dealt and deal with what is taken as evidence.

Evidence Regime(s) in Contemporary Knowledge Societies

“Evidence” is an important and contested resource in contemporary knowledge societies. Evidence-based approaches are increasingly demanded and promoted in various social fields. In times of heated debates about “fake news” or “alternative facts”, calls for evidence (and counter-evidence) have become a widespread socio-epistemic strategy.

Against this backdrop, our workshop aims to understand regime(s) of evidence, broadly conceived as the sets of rules and cultural and social norms which determine the ways in which past and present (knowledge) societies have dealt and deal with what is taken as evidence. Adapting Michel Foucault’s concept of “regimes of truth”, we want to ask how regimes of evidence constitute evidence practices (and vice versa). We assume that evidence regimes consist of procedures that distinguish between what counts as evidence and what does not, and what privileges the former at the expense of the latter. Evidence and its relation to power is thus discussed in two respects: Evidence regimes are, on the one hand, dependent on social power relations; on the other hand, they themselves have powerful consequences for many social contexts. The power effect attached to evidence lies in its potential to justify decisions, to settle conflicts, and to enable action by collectives of people. Thus, whatever it is that counts as evidence in a certain context and moment may lend power to those who claim it. This is the case at least in states that are not organized in an authoritarian manner, and in which decision-making processes are linked to a knowledge base generally. We also assume that evidence regimes are not limited to science or specific expert bodies, but permeate society as a whole – shaping cultures, informing politics, defining identities of individuals and collectives. The investigation of evidence regimes allows us to analyze evidence practices as a function of socio-political (power) relations, and to explore the formative power of evidence practices for the shaping of specific regimes of evidence. During the conference we focus on three interconnected lines of inquiry.

Evidence Regimes and Evidence Practices: Connecting Macro, Meso and Micro Levels
We want to connect specific evidence practices (specific modes of “doing evidence” the production, communication, and use of it) with institutionalizations of evidence (consolidations of certain evidence practices at particular times and places), which form general regimes of evidence and constitute “ways of knowing” in socio-historical formations. What can appear as evidence? What counts as evidence, in which situations and constellations? How can it be made credible to others? Who can decide on this? How is evidence used? Which modes of un/doing evidence characterize a specific evidence regime? We want to explore how the analysis of evidence practices and evidence regimes may contribute to our understanding of knowledge societies.

Transformations of Evidence Regimes: The Diachronic Perspective
What have been important historical ruptures and transformations of evidence regimes? How are evidence regimes stabilized, destabilized, and restabilized? How do evidence practices gradually change and under which conditions? How have they contributed to the emergence of (specific formations of) knowledge societies? In what way has the relationship of truth and evidence changed: Has the notion of evidence replaced the notion of truth? Can regimes of truth operate without evidence at all, or do the forms and practices of evidence change instead?

Contemporary Evidence Regime(s): The Synchronic Perspective
Are contemporary knowledge societies dominated by an overarching evidence regime or can we rather observe several – possibly competing – regimes that can be compared and contrasted? How is evidence linked with different forms of expertise and data? What kind of evidence is expected in times of crisis? What institutions are relevant for contemporary evidence practices? How do digital technologies shape the production, communication, and use of evidence? How do different political systems and institutions contour the making (or unmaking) of evidence? Does the entanglement of state, industry and academia form evidence regimes analogous to national innovation systems?


Tuesday, 25 April, Vorhoelzer Forum

Workshop Opening

6.00-6.15 p.m. Karin Zachmann, Munich and Sascha Dickel, Mainz

6.15-7.30 p.m. Dagmar Schäfer, Berlin
Keynote: A Case of Trover? Burying the Evidence for Knowledge Ownership

Chair: Karin Zachmann, Munich

7.30-9.30 p.m. Reception Vorhoelzer Forum

Wednesday, 26 April, CFvSS Nymphenburg

9.00-9.15 a.m. Jutta Roosen, Andreas Wenninger, Olga Sparschuh, Munich
Opening Remarks Evidence Regimes

9.15-9.45 a.m. Sascha Dickel, Mainz and Karin Zachmann, Munich
From Evidence Practices to Evidence Regimes. A Six Year Journey

Panel 1: Diversification of Medical Evidence Practices

9.45-11.15 a.m. Emilia Lehmann und Mariacarla Gadebusch Bondio, Bonn
Disputed Evidence in Rare Diseases. The Example of Mastocytosis

Federica Russo, Amsterdam and Guido Caniglia, Klosterneuburg
The Implosion of Medical Evidence: Emerging Approaches for
Diverse Evidence Practices at the Intersection of Health and Environmental Challenges

Chair: Stefan Esselborn, Munich

Panel 2: Nutritional Evidence Regimes

11.45-1.15 p.m. Jutta Roosen and Edoardo Maria Pelli, Munich
Comparing German and Canadian Consumers: Are Moral Values related to Attitudes towards the Nutritional, Environmental and Ethical Evidence regarding Food?

Ellen Goddard, Alberta
Moral Foundations Influencing Food Decisions: Is there a Difference Between Rural and Urban Populations?

Chair: Sarah Ehlers, Munich

1.15-2.45 p.m. Lunch

2.45-3.15 p.m. Internal Research Group Meeting

Panel 3: Transformations of Epistemic Authority

3.15-4.45 p.m. Kevin Altmann, Munich, Claudia Göbel, Halle-Wittenberg/Mainz
and Michael Kitzing, Mainz
Citizen Science as Boundary Regime. Practices of Undoing, Doing and Managing Boundaries of Public Participation in Scientific Research

Martha Kenney (and Laura Mamo), San Francisco
The Imaginary of Precision Public Health after Covid-19

Chair: Edoardo Maria Pelli, Munich

5.15-6.30 p.m. Noortje Marres, Warwick
Keynote: What Evidence for Coping Publics? Independent Sage and the Contestation of Scientific Advice during the Covid Emergency in the UK

Chair: Sascha Dickel, Mainz

6.30-7.30 p.m. Reception at the CFvSS

Thursday, 27 April, CFvSS Nymphenburg

Panel 4: Risk. A New Evidence Regime?

9.00-10.30 a.m. David Demortain, Champs sur Marne
The Organization of Evidence. Changing Forms of Risk Decision-Making in the Regulation of Technologies in the US

Stefan Esselborn, Munich
Probably Safe. Risk and Nuclear Energy in West Germany, 1960s-1980s

Chair: Mallory James, Munich

Panel 5: Evidence Regimes and Global Environments

11.00-12.30 a.m. Corey Ross, Birmingham
Fishing for Evidence: The Emergence of “Maximum Sustained Yield” and the Depletion of Marine Resources

Sarah Ehlers, Munich
Picturing Pesticide Harms. Scopic Regimes and Photographic Evidence on Pesticides in the Developing World, 1970s-1980s

Chair: Lucas Brunet, Munich

12.30-2.00 p.m. Lunch

Panel 6: Evidence Practices during the Corona Crisis

2.00-5.30 p.m. Lars Guenther, Hamburg
“As I am working for my audience, I always consider their expectations”: How (Science) Journalists Understand and Handle Scientific (Un)certainty

Michael Schönwolff and Ruth Müller, Munich
Dealing with Uncertainties. How Researchers (E)valuate the Reliability of Evidence during the Corona Crisis

Markus Schug, Helena Bilandzic, Susanne Kinnebrock, Augsburg Science Journalism as Evidence Regime. Discursive De- and Restabilizations of Evidence within COVID-19 Research Coverage

Angelika Laumer and Mariacarla Gadebusch Bondio, Bonn
Temporality and Subjective Evidence. The Example of Long-COVID

Chair: Andreas Wenninger, Munich

6.00-7.30 p.m. Roundtable: Wer spricht für die Wissenschaft(en)? with Alexander Bogner, Wien, Christine Hauskeller, Exeter, Carsten Reinhardt, Bielefeld and Karin Zachmann, Munich (public event in German)

Moderated by Jeanne Rubner, Munich

8.00-10.00 p.m. Dinner Königlicher Hirschgarten

Friday, 28 April, Siemens Stiftung Nymphenburg

9.00-12.15 a.m. Panel 7: Evidence for Competence
Daniel Troehler, Vienna
Governing Education by Evidence: The Presbyterian Scientific Social Epistemology and Biomedical Research Epistemology

Olga Sparschuh, Munich
Negotiating Competence by Numbers. Evidence Practices of Bureaucrats and Applicants at the Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen, 1905-1914

Mallory James and Ruth Müller, Munich
Administrative Self-Portraits: Frictions and Synergies of Self-Presentation in Interdisciplinary Grant Applications

Lucas Brunet and Ruth Müller, Munich
Writing like a Reviewer. Written Evaluation Practices in the
European Research Council

Chair: Angelika Laumer, Bonn

12.15-1.15 p.m. Lunch

1.15-2.45 p.m. Panel 8: Narrative Evidence
Lisa Gresser, Helena Bilandzic and Susanne Kinnebrock, Augsburg Narratives of Genetic Research in Television Coverage

Jessica Myrick, Pennsylvania
Feeling our Facts: How Social Media and our Emotional Responses to it Can Shape Perceptions of Health-Related Evidence

Chair: Olga Sparschuh, Munich


Places are limited. Please register with tabitha.goricki@tum.de by Friday, 21 April to attend the scientific conference or to secure a place at the roundtable discussion on Thursday, 27 April at 6 pm.

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