Storm, A., Krohn Andersson, F., & Rindzevičiūtė, E. (forthcoming 2019). Urban nuclear reactors and the security theatre: The making of atomic heritage in Chicago, Moscow and Stockholm. In Oevermann, H. & Gantner, E. (Eds.), Urban Heritage: Agents, Access, and Securitization, Routledge.
“Strategy as Symbol and Performance: Reflexive Control,” for a special issue of Modern Intellectual History, edited by Dr Daniel Bessner and Dr Daniel Steinmetz, first draft submitted.
“Systems Analysis as Infrastructural Knowledge: Scientific Expertise and Dissensus under State Socialism,” for a special issue of History of Political Economy, edited by Till Duppe and Ivan Boldyrev, accepted, forthcoming in 2019.
This article explores the political effects of the development of systems analysis as a form of ‘infrastructural knowledge’ – that is as a form of knowledge concerned with infrastructure, and an infrastructure of knowledge – that contributed to internal dissensus among scientific experts in the Soviet Union. Systems expertise is largely missing from existing work on the history of Soviet infrastructure. The article presents a historical analysis of the development of governmental, managerial and industrial applications of systems analysis in the Soviet context, as well as the transfer of Soviet systems expertise to developing countries. It argues that systems analysis constitutes a form of infrastructural knowledge which enabled Soviet scientists to criticize governmental policies, particularly large-scale, top-down infrastructure projects. This critique is interpreted as an expression of a new normativity regarding what constitutes good governance; it became particularly salient when Soviet scientists were facing infrastructural projects in the global South. Systems analysis, in this way, constituted an important intellectual resource for endogenous liberalization of the authoritarian regime.
The Cybernetic Prediction: Orchestrating the Future
This chapter reviews an influential conceptualization of prediction that was created by the ‘father’ of cybernetics, the US mathematician Norbert Wiener in the 1940s-60s. Although the interest in the cultural and political histories of cybernetics is growing, the notion of scientific prediction, which is central to cybernetic control, is insufficiently examined. However, this chapter proposes prediction is not a mere technical cog in the epistemology of the future, but a complex concept. It discusses Norbert Wiener’s epistemology of cybernetic prediction, arguing that the cybernetic culture of prediction emphasizes the role of uncertainty and does not replace materiality with information. Wiener’s writings on cybernetic prediction, the chapter concludes, contain useful lessons for the future oriented practices in the broad fields of contemporary science, governance and politics.
To be published in The Oxford Handbook: Futures, edited by Jenny Andersson and Sara Kemp (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019)
From a High Risk Technology to National Heritage: Authorised Nuclear Story-Telling in the Russian Museums
This paper maps the key shifts in the narrative and material presentation of nuclear power in Soviet and post-Soviet Russian museums from the 1950s to the present. While the links between the nuclear energy industry and authoritarian government have been widely discussed (Hecht 2009; Schmid 2008; Brown 2013), there is a lack of research into how museums, the central sites of modern sense-making (Bennett 1995), were used to legitimize the nuclear industry. This paper asks: What was the role of museums in shaping the legitimacy of the nuclear complex in the Soviet Russia? What are the continuities and shifts between the communist propaganda of nuclear energy and corporate narratives of the Russian nuclear authority, Rosatom? Are there any new, critical narratives of nuclear legacies emerging? This study draws on archival and ethnographic research, with a focus on the Polytechnic Museum in Moscow and the Rosatom museum in St Petersburg.