For at least 100 years, scholars in law, political science, philosophy, international relations, and various branches of sociology have asked: What is the state? And, for at least as long, answers to that question have commonly taken the form of a petty and seemingly endless game of conceptual one-upsmanship. An alternative direction exists from the small world of science and technology studies. State multiplicity. The shift toward seeing "the state" as multiple implies that we understand the state to be, convincingly, both one thing and many things simultaneously. In this talk we draw on more than 100 years of research on the state to document the possibility state multiplicity and then we hazard a few tentative and counter-intuitive conclusions based on our preliminary findings.
Jan-Hendrik Passoth is a Post-Doc at Technische Universität Berlin. He connects social theory and science and technology studies by working on problems of social structure and infrastructures, human and non-human agency, and discourse and material culture. He writes for the blog “Installing Order.”
Nicholas J. Rowland is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Science and Technology Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. He connects social theory and science and technology studies by working on problems of social structure and infrastructures, human and non-human agency, and discourse and material culture. He writes for the blog “Installing Order.”
Larry Catá Backer, Professor of Law & International Affairs at Penn State, researches globalization, especially as it relates to law and legal systems. His most recent work touches on the regulation of multinational corporations, sovereign wealth funds, transnational constitutionalism, and the convergence of public and private law. He is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Peace and Ethics.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Presentation and Roundtable: Jan-Hendrik Passoth and Nicholas Rowland on “The Possibility & Contours of State Multiplicity: Preliminary Findings”
The School of International Affairs of Pennsylvania State University and the Coalition for Peace and Ethics hosted a presentation and roundtable on March 18, 2014 at the Katz Auditorium at Pennsylvania State University.
The presentation, "The Possibilities and Contours of State Multiplicity: Preliminary Findings", featured Jan-Hendrik Passoth (Technische Universität Berlin), Nicholas Rowland (Penn State University) presenting their latest research work on state theory, and Larry Catá Backer (Penn State) as discussant. The conference was recorded and all are welcome to watch and comment, engage.
Rowland and Passoth are among the most innovative scholars in the field of Science, technology and society (STS), which is also sometimes called science and technology studies. This field examines the nexus among social, political, and cultural values affect scientific research and technological innovation, and how these affect society, politics and culture. STS has lots to say about law, legal systems and policy at the national and international levels (my role as discussant and roundtable host). State theory is, at bottom, the study of the consequences of an organization of these forces within a construct we have come to call the state.
The conference description and links to the video recording of the event follow:
The Passoth-Rowland Presentation and Roundtable may be viewed HERE (via mediasite) or on Penn State Law's Multimedia Page. It may also be accessed through the Coalition for Peace & Ethics Website: HERE.