Publications, recordings and other outputs

An overview of what I have written and published (as sociologist) or recorded and released (as musician). Simply, all public "outputs" of my work. When technically feasible and legally possible, I will add full texts and, in respective parts of the musical section of this web, musical samples in mp3.
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KONOPÁSEK, Z. / STÖCKELOVÁ, T. / ZAMYKALOVÁ, L. (2004): Making pure science / pure politics in the public controversy over the highway bypass of Plzeň CTS. Research Reports, CTS-04-12. Praha: CTS. Available at http://www.cts.cuni.cz/

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Paper prepared for the Joint 4S & EASST Conference 2004 Public proofs – science, technology and democracy, Paris, Ecole des Mines, August 25-28 2004

This paper is based on a detailed empirical case study of a long-term public controversy over the construction of a highway bypass around the city of Plzen (in South-Western Bohemia, Czech Republic). The controversy involved a wide range of actors: local activists, an environmentalist NGO, politicians of all levels, experts, developers, state and regional administration, and media people. Two variants of the bypass were at stake: one of them gradually appearing better and better, attractive for experts, but existing as if only on paper, while the other was becoming more and more real, pushed through mainly by local politicians, and actually constructed. Although the story could be narrated in terms of an unequal struggle between environmentalists and small villages on one side and politicians, economic lobbies and municipality of a big city on the other, we will try to follow a more subtle and complex story-line, which focuses upon different strategic usages of science and politics. Besides explaining how it happened that one of the variants “attracted” the winning properties (and “won”), we will also describe a “vicious” circle of a double purification of science and politics and show how it contributes to the fragility of both democracy and expertise.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. / STÖCKELOVÁ, T. / VAJDOVÁ, T. / ZAMYKALOVÁ, L. (2004): Environmental controversies in technical democracy: Three case studies. CTS Research Reports, CTS-04-04. Praha: CTS. Available at http://www.cts.cuni.cz/

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In this research report we present a collection of three case studies that have been undertaken within our work on the research project "Analysing public accountability procedures in contemporary European contexts". The overall aim of the project was to study opportunities and limits of democracy in societies in which expert knowledge becomes crucial for almost any decision-making and socio-technical networks that shape our daily lives are being openly and widely contested in the public arena. Especially in cases where science and technology are involved and where technicalities of different sorts and specialised knowledge penetrate political agenda, i.e., on the borderline of science and politics, the principles of open, friendly, inclusive and transparent politics (as well as the classical principles of disinterested and independent expertise) get into troubles. That is why we decided, in our research, to confront the principle of public accountability with the flesh-and-blood reality of the following socio-technical controversies, elaborated as in-depth case studies: (1) The controversy over the building and operation of the household waste incinerator in Praha-Malesice; (2) The public conflicts concerning the highway by-pass around the city of Plzeň; (3) Current policies and controversies related to the introduction of GMO into the Czech legal, social, economic and political environment.

RICHTER, P. (2003): Richtig music. 2CD. Indies Records [MAM-202]

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"With this double album of previously unreleased Pavel Richter home recordings, Indies is paying one of many publishing debts. After the break-up of the legendary band Svehlik in 1983, Richter (who is above all a guitarist and composer, but also plays keyboards, clarinet and electronic instruments and has an interesting singing voice), together with his follow traveller Lubos Fidler and the folk-orientated musician Oldrich Janota, formed a group called High Fidelity (or Dzafiri), combining folk with minimalist sound experiments, put in a brief appearance on the first Dunaj album (Iva Bittova and Dunaj, Panton 1988) and finally formed his own Richter Band. The total number of groups in which he has played and still plays is, however, much greater, The booklet of the present collections lists them in alphabetical order: Amalgam, Dunaj, Elektrobus, Guru Band, Janota-Fidler-Richter, Richter Band, Sanctus Musicus, Svehlik, and Wooden Toys. For completeness we might here add groups not represented on the double album, i.e. Stehlik, F. O. K., Chadima's group Fimfarum or the Forgotten Orchestra of the Land of Dreamers, And the title of the collection? It is also the name of Richer's private publishing company." (Peter Ferenc) [audio samples here]

MOL, A. / LAW, J. (2003): Vtělené jednání, zjednávaná těla: příklad hypoglykémie [Embodied action, enacted bodies: The example of hypoglycaemia]. Biograf, (31): 5-25

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We all know that we have and are our bodies. But might it be possible to leave this common place? In the present article we try to do this by attending to the way we do our bodies. The site where we look for such action is that of handling the hypoglycaemias that sometimes happen to people with diabetes. In this site it appears that the body, active in measuring, feeling and countering hypoglycaemias is not a bounded whole: its boundaries leak. Bits and pieces of the outside get incorporated within the active body; while the centre of some bodily activities is beyond the skin. The body thus enacted is not self-evidently coherent either. There are tensions between the body's organs; between the control under which we put our bodies and the erratic character of their behaviour; and between the various needs and desires single bodies somehow try to combine. Thus to say that a body is a whole, or so we conclude, skips over a lot of work. One does not hang together as a matter of course: keeping oneself together is something the embodied person needs to do. The person who fails to do so dies.

MOL, A. / LAW, J. (2004): Embodied action, enacted bodies: The example of hypoglycaemia. Body & Society, 10 (2-3): 43-62

V/A (2002): Black Point sampler 2001. CD. Black Point [BP01322]

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The sampler brings an overview of what was released by the Black Point label in the previous year.

LATOUR, B. (2002): Když věci vracejí úder: Co mohou sociálním vědám přinést "vědní studia" [When things strike back: A possible contribution of "science studies" to the social sciences]. Biograf, (29): 3-20 - translated by Zdeněk Konopásek

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The contribution of the field of science and technology studies (STS) to mainstream sociology has so far been slim because of a misunderstanding about what it means to provide a social explanation of a piece of science or of an artefact. The type of explanation possible for religion, art or popular culture no longer works in the case of hard science or technology. This does not mean, it is argued, that science and technology escapes sociological explanation, but that a deep redescription of what is a social explanation is in order. Once this misunderstanding has been clarified, it becomes interesting to measure up the challenge raised by STS to the usual epistemologies social sciences believed necessary for their undertakings. The social sciences imitate the natural sciences in a way that render them unable to profit from the type of objectivity found in the natural sciences. It is argued that by following the STS lead, social sciences may start to imitate the natural sciences in a very different fashion. Once the meanings of "social" and of "science" are reconfigured, the definition of what a "social science" is and what it can do in the political arena is considered. Again it is not by imitating the philosophers of science's ideas of what is a natural science that sociology can be made politically relevant.

LATOUR, B. (2000): When things strike back: A possible contribution of "science studies" to the social sciences. The British Journal of Sociology, 51 (1): 107-123

KONOPÁSEK, Z. / KUSÁ, Z. / STOCKELOVÁ, T. / VAJDOVÁ, Z. / ZAMYKALOVÁ (2002): Czech Republic - a national profile. Research report of the Public Accountability European Research Project, CT2001-00076. Praha. Available at http://zdenek.konopasek.net/docs/WP1_Czech.pdf

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KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2002): Dejme smysl volební neúčasti [Let us make electoral non-participation more useful]. MF Dnes. June 7, p. A/9

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3 Lydi (2001): 3 Lydi 1980-1981. CD. Self-released by Milan Voříšek

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Home recordings made with poor equipment, representing the best and final period of this band, Spring 1981. [audio samples here]

V/A (2001): Black Point totality sampler. CD. Black Point [BP 0128-2]

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The sampler brings an overview of what was produced in the Czech part of the communist Czechoslovakia by alternative and underground rock bands.
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