CfA: Music, Materiality and Subjectives, STS Conference, May 2015, Graz

Call for Abstracts – STS Conference 2015


May 11-12, 2015

The STS Conference Graz 2015 is the joint annual conference of
STS – Institute of Science, Technology and Society Studies at Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt|Vienna|Graz
IFZ – Inter-University Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture and
IAS-STS – Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology and Society.

Scientific coordination: Günter Getzinger
Conference organization: Michaela Jahrbacher


The STS Conference Graz 2015 invites interested researchers (especially postgraduates and young researchers) in the areas of science, technology and society studies and sustainability studies to give presentations. The conference provides a forum to discuss on a broad variety of topics in these fields – especially abstracts are encouraged which include aspects of the below mentioned conference themes and sessions.


Abstracts should include no more than 250 words, comprising detailed contact information, affiliation and specification of the conference theme and session you are referring to.
Abstracts should be sent to Michaela Jahrbacher ( ) until January 15, 2015 as a DOC/DOCX-file.

Authors will be notified in the middle of February 2015.

All confirmed abstracts will be published as online-proceedings (ISSN) via the IAS-STS website. Full papers can also be submitted, but are not mandatory. See the 2014 proceedings here .

We also appreciate proposal for poster presentations in line with the conference themes. Proposals for posters should be send to the above mentioned email address by January 31, 2015.

We also welcome participants attending the conference without presenting a paper themselves.

Georg Fischer, Berlin, Germany
David Waldecker, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany
Martin Winter, RWT University of Aachen, Germany

Musical practices are generally built around the interplay between several technological artefacts and social actors. Dependent on specific areas in the musical world, the production might encompass acoustic or electrified instruments, amplifiers, and sound engineering equipment in general. Consumption might encompass records or digital equivalents, iPods and headphones, or complex sound systems. So far, Science and Technology Studies have neglected the aesthetic uses of technology and the role of technology in certain musical styles, e.g. of the record player and the digital sampler for Hip Hop and Techno genres. Of course, music, in reference to musical instruments, has always been technological. In fact, the piano was one of the first more complex machines allowed in the bourgeois living room (cf. Weber 2006 [1921]). The possibility to record music created not only a shift in the distribution of music and the music business but a whole new field of careers, devices and buildings.

These material conditions of musicking relate to subjectivities in specific ways. For instance, the electric guitar and the domain of sound engineering in general can be described as linked to particular constructions of masculinity. Tia DeNora (2006) explains how changes in musical style in the late 19th century led to the piano becoming less of an instrument for female players and more of a virtuoso instrument associated with male genius. Similarly many instruments appear as ethnically connoted.

The relation between subjectivities and musical materiality should be discussed along the following questions:

  • How are musical materialities embedded in processes of co-construction or into actor- networks? How are subjectivities and materialities linked in concrete musical practices?
  • Which role does the aesthetic character of musical material play and how does it differ from e.g. epistemic practices?
  • Which possibilities to cross dominant orders are there in employing “queer” ways to use sound technologies?
  • Which specificities come into play regarding different material conditions of producing and consuming music, e.g. regarding the analogue/digital differentiation?
  • What does it mean to make music with regards to recording, mixing, sampling and professions such as DJs, sound engineers, equipment producers?
  • What is the role of knowledge and social discourse and how do they relate to materiality in musical practices?

DeNora, Tia 2006: Music as Agency in Beethoven‘s Vienna, in: Ron Eyerman / Lisa McCormick (ed.): Myth, Meaning, and Performance. Towards a New Cultural Sociology of the Arts, Boulder, Colorado: Paradigm, pp. 103 – 119.
Weber, Max 2004 [1921]: Zur Musiksoziologie, in: Max Weber Gesamtausgabe Sect. 1, Vol. 14, Tübingen: Siebeck, pp. 144 – 280.




The Conference fee includes conference materials, coffee breaks, two lunches and one social event and has to be paid during the registration process via PayPal.

Early bird booking fee: 140€ until March 31, 2015.
Booking price after March 31th 2015 is 190€.
No conference fees for current fellows of the IAS-STS Fellowship Programme 2014/15.


The registration (online form) for the STS Conference Graz 2015 will be open by the beginning of February 2015.


The venue for the 2015 conference will be the Meerscheinschlössl, a baroque castle owned by the University of Graz and located near the campus.

Mozartgasse 3
8010 Graz
Google maps link:


Here is an overview on accommodation in Graz:

We recommend:
Hotel Daniel (good bus connection, line 58, to the conference venue – stop “Hauptbahnhof” to stop “ Mozartgasse”, 12 minutes)


For all further questions concerning the upcoming conference please contact: Michaela Jahrbacher ( )