Generative Critique in Interdisciplinary Collaborations: From Critique in and of the Neurosciences to Socio-Technical Integration Research as a Practice of Critique in R(R)I

Mareike Smolka*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Discourses on Responsible Innovation and Responsible Research and Innovation, in short R(R)I, have revolved around but not elaborated on the notion of critique. In this article, generative critique is introduced to R(R)I as a practice that sits in-between adversarial armchair critique and co-opted, uncritical service. How to position oneself and be positioned on this spectrum has puzzled humanities scholars and social scientists who engage in interdisciplinary collaborations with scientists, engineers, and other professionals. Recently, generative critique has been presented as a solution to the puzzle in interdisciplinary collaborations on neuroscientific experiments. Generative critique seeks to create connections across disciplines that help remake seemingly stable objects in moments when taken-for granted ways of seeing and approaching objects are unsettled. In order to translate generative critique from the neurosciences to R(R)I, socio-technical integration research (STIR) is proposed as a practice of generative critique in interdisciplinary R(R)I collaborations. These collaborations aim to account for societal aspects in research and technology development. For this purpose, a variety of approaches have been developed, including STIR and video-reflexive ethnography (VRE). STIR and VRE resemble each other but diverge on affective, collaborative, and temporal dimensions. Their juxtaposition serves to develop suggestions for how STIR could be modified on these dimensions to better enact generative critique in interdisciplinary R(R)I collaborations.
In this way, the article contributes to ongoing discussions in R(R)I and in the engaged programme in science and technology studies more broadly on the dynamics of
positioning in collaborative work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Collaboration
  • Critical Neuroscience
  • Cross-disciplinarity
  • Generative critique
  • Socio-technical integration research
  • interdisciplinarity
  • Interdisciplinarity

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