Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) Annual Meeting

  • Samuel Taylor-Alexander (Speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


'Prosthetic infrastructures: 3D printing and face transplantation': Prostheses are commonly thought of as “artificial body parts,” an understanding that is based on and reproduces ideas of a bounded human self. In this paper, I examine the use of 3D printing in the preparatory stages of face transplant operations. This leads me to ask: Does STS writing on nature-culture assemblages limit or deepen analysis of multiplicity in clinical practice? The use of 3D printing in face transplantation brings into relief a previously overlooked relation between “artificial” and “natural” (biological) replacement body parts. Unlike in cases of bio manufacturing, the use of 3D printing in the field reveals a growing utilization of what I call “prosthetic infrastructures”: The use of non-biological materials to make possible biological replacement. I use the notion of “prosthetic infrastructures” to open up a space to think about how “that which is added to” allows and works with “the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities needed for the operation of an enterprise” In doing so, I show how 3D printing allows for the production and enactment of multiple versions of the same face, each with their own ontological and epistemic distinctions, and each with their own nature-culture.
Period14 Nov 2015
Event typeConference
LocationDenver, United StatesShow on map