SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

International Research Symposium. Post-Automation? Exploring Democratic Alternatives to Industry 4.0

11-13 September 2019

Science Policy Research Unit
University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

About the Symposium

We are delighted to invite proposals for papers for the International Research Symposium on Post-Automation? Towards Democratic Alternatives to Industry 4.0. The Symposium will explore the idea of post-automation, critically and constructively. Theoretically-informed and empirically-grounded papers are invited that address what a “post-automation” vantage point might bring to ongoing debates about how societies produce and consume, in light of social concern for sustainable developments, dignified work and social justice, and a business-led push for Industry 4.0 and circular economy.

More information and themes

The symposium will a be conducted in a workshop format. Only those submitting papers may attend. Participants will be expected to present their paper and actively participate in critical discussion and group work sessions. For further information, please see the full outline of the Symposium.

An interdisciplinary call - Who should submit

This call is an invitation for diversity and plurality. Applicants from PhD students to senior Professors are welcome from science and technology studies, sociology of work, social anthropology, engineering, innovation studies, design, geography, sustainability studies, and other relevant areas. The key is to provide an explanation of how your proposed paper can contribute to an open, engaged and collaborative exploration of the idea of post-automation, and to see what work can and cannot be made of that idea. You can propose questions (and answers) that you think should be central to a post-automation research agenda. These might include, for example:

  • How can post-automation alter perspectives, understandings and practices in technology-society relations?
  • What methods can bring insight, facilitate dialogue, and assist developments in post-automation across the scales of projects, workshops, sectors and societies?
  • How is post-automation manifesting in different places and circulating between places, for example across the global North and global South?
  • How might social theory in post-automation reframe public debate and move policy beyond reactions to automation, and into proactive alternatives for sustainable technology-society relations?
  • How post-automation might help to re-imagine an economy based on commons goods?

Upcoming deadlines 2019

  • 20 March: Abstracts Submission and Review
  • 15 April: Decisions on Abstracts
  • 20 July: Papers Submission
  • 11-13 September: International Research Symposium


Adrian Smith

Science Policy Research Unit

Mariano Fressoli

Fundación Cenit

Further information