Perspectives Editors interviewed Stefan Timmermans and Iddo Tavory to discuss their recently published article “Racist Encounters: A Pragmatist Semiotic Analysis of Interaction” in Sociological Theory. Timmermans and Tavory develop a pragmatist semiotic approach to analyzing racial interactions, and specifically focus on how racial hierarchies are constituted or resisted in interactions.
Sourabh Singh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the Florida State University, Tallahassee. He specializes in the areas of Political Sociology, Sociological Theory, Comparative and Historical Sociology, and Culture. His work has been published in Sociological Theory, Theory and Society, Philosophy of Social Sciences, Journal of the Theory of Social Behavior, and Journal of Critical Realism. He teaches courses on Sociological Theory and Political Sociology.
I study a major transformation that occurred over last three decades. Now, every day, as we open our computers and phones we interact with and through machine learning. I ask why machine learning has spread since the mid 1990s across retail, finance, love, security, music, healthcare, manufacturing, and other institutions. Machine learning is a category of algorithms that “learn by themselves.” Programmers need relatively little a priori knowledge about the substantive domain. Instead, programmers decide over which model to use and how to adjust the model to the data based on the model’s predictive accuracy.
My dissertation, How Science Produces Institutions: The Practice and Politics of Genome Editing, examines the social, scientific, and political struggles being waged over the revolutionary genome-editing technology CRISPR-Cas9. With over 20 clinical trials for treating genetic diseases with CRISPR underway, stakeholders continue to debate issues of equity, racial justice, ethics, and ableism surrounding the modification of human DNA. I reframe these struggles theoretically as a problem of institutionalization: How is the idea and discourse of genome editing rendered into a durable set of practices that become legitimated and taken for granted? To answer this question, I draw from participant observation, in-depth interviews, and archival research to trace the trajectory of scientific practices as they move from the laboratory to the clinic and interrogate the sites at which decisions are made about the ethics, safety, and priorities of genome editing.
15th Annual Junior Theorists Symposium
Fall 2021 Content
Letter from the Chair
An Interview with Emily Erikson
Civil Sphere Theory Review
Luis Flores Jr.