Geographies of science and technology 1: Boundaries and crossings

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In a world of accelerating environmental crises, global pandemics and seemingly unstoppable datafication of anything that moves, thinks or feels, the politics of science and technology are pervasive. In this first of three progress reports on the geographies of science and technology, I home in on some definitional questions which an account of anything like a new or emerging subfield must necessarily concern itself. I examine how geographers have addressed the spatial effects of the making and unmaking of boundaries between science, technology and their various outsides. While work on historical and contemporary geographies of technoscience has often pulled in slightly different directions, I identify some promising convergences around questions of political economy and on the topic of scale as an emergent property of technoscientific practices. New attention is also falling on the spatial practices through which technoscience gets plugged into wider worlds, such as politics and policymaking, while geographers have also been busy disrupting, in a more experimental mode, conventional boundaries and hierarchies of technoscientific practice. Finally, the report examines recent and welcome efforts to convene new conversations around the geography of technology but cautions against the potential seduction of the new, the innovative and the ‘disruptive’. Important recent work in cultural geography has purposively unsettled assumed hierarchies of ‘high’ and ‘low’ tech, new and old, and suggests that any nascent subfield of ‘geography of technology’ needs to reflexively attend to how boundaries get drawn around ‘technology’, and with what effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-595
Number of pages10
JournalProgress in Human Geography
Issue number3
Early online date6 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • boundary work
  • science
  • science–policy interface
  • technology
  • technoscience

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