sub-projects

EXCHANGE’s ground-breaking approach aims at: understanding cultural imaginaries about forensic genetics and its surveillance-related utopias and dystopias; understanding the intersections between genomics and the criminal justice system; analysing the interconnections between geopolitics, national identities and assumptions about criminal conducts; following the process of ‘co-production’ of science and social order through forensic genetics.

Subproject 1

Talking Science

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The transnational exchange of DNA data in the EU involves different national positioning and contexts. Such complex picture will be approached through interviews with relevant forensic experts – namely, all the “National Contact Points” for DNA data under the Prüm system – in order to understand their expectations regarding the potential impact of DNA technologies and databasing in fighting crime, terrorism and illegal migration.

Subproject 2

Doing Science

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There is a widespread belief that DNA technologies have an unrivalled capacity to provide identification of crime perpetrators. This sub-project studies processes of technological and scientific innovation as key ingredients in the construction of credibility of DNA evidence. Other topics include communication patterns within the forensic science community and the role of private companies in the provision of forensic services.

Subproject 3

Travelling DNA

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The operation and effective mobilisation of transnationally exchanged DNA data are made visible through criminal investigation of cross-border criminal cases. Discourses about criminal cases circulating among the different domains of practice – the forensic science, the criminal justice and the media – are studied in this sub-project. Furthermore, we are interested in investigating how human rights, data protection and issues related to the distinctive statutory laws are addressed in different EU Member States.

Subproject 4

Globalising-Localising Forensic Genetics

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This sub-project relies on the comparison of four national cases – the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom and  Germany – differing with regard to their conditions and positioning in relation to the transnational exchange of DNA data. It aims to understand how the forensic laboratories are organized in different countries and how these services are positioned in relation to the social, political, and legal contexts in which they operate.

publications

2021

Martins, Marta (2021), Casos Criminais Transnacionais. Narrativas dos Média sobre o uso de Tecnologias de DNA, V.N.Famalicão: Húmus Available here.

Wiedemann, Alícia (2021), O discurso mediático e a construção social do crime: conexões entre média, pânico moral e tecnologias de controlo, In Machado, Helena (Ed.), Crime e tecnologia: Desafios culturais e políticos para a Europa. Porto: Edições Afrontamento Lda, pp. 239-255 Available here.

Martins, Marta (2021), Narrativas mediáticas sobre as ‘fronteiras’ na União Europeia: quem são os suspeitos transnacionais?, In Machado, Helena (Ed.), Crime e tecnologia: Desafios culturais e políticos para a Europa. Porto: Edições Afrontamento Lda, pp. 219-238 Available here.

Granja, Rafaela; Machado, Helena (2021), Corpos relacionais, «biofamília» e suspeição por associação: o caso da pesquisa familiar em genética forense, In Machado, Helena (Ed.), Crime e tecnologia: Desafios culturais e políticos para a Europa. Porto: Edições Afrontamento Lda, pp. 195-216 Available here.

Queirós, Filipa (2021), Expectativas sobre o uso da tecnologia de inferência fenotípica na investigação criminal: uma ecologia de futuros, In Machado, Helena (Ed.), Crime e tecnologia: Desafios culturais e políticos para a Europa. Porto: Edições Afrontamento Lda, pp. 171-193 Available here.

Khan, Sheila (2021), A alquimia dos mecanismos de racialização, criminalização e vigilância racial, In Machado, Helena (Ed.), Crime e tecnologia: Desafios culturais e políticos para a Europa. Porto: Edições Afrontamento Lda, pp. 151-170 Available here.

Santos, Filipe (2021), Estandardização e cooperação no sistema Prüm como objetos de fronteira, In Machado, Helena (Ed.), Crime e tecnologia: Desafios culturais e políticos para a Europa. Porto: Edições Afrontamento Lda, pp. 125-147 Available here.

Matos, Sara (2021), Cooperação policial e judicial no sistema Prüm: o caso de Portugal e do Reino Unido, In Machado, Helena (Ed.), Crime e tecnologia: Desafios culturais e políticos para a Europa. Porto: Edições Afrontamento Lda, pp. 93-124 Available here.

Neiva, Laura (2021), Big Data e vigilância policial: desafios éticos, legais e sociais, In Machado, Helena (Ed.), Crime e tecnologia: Desafios culturais e políticos para a Europa. Porto: Edições Afrontamento Lda, pp. 65-90 Available here.

Amelung, Nina; Queirós, Filipa; Machado, Helena (2021), Desafios éticos e democráticos da vigilância genética na Alemanha e em Portugal, In Machado, Helena (Ed.), Crime e tecnologia: Desafios culturais e políticos para a Europa. Porto: Edições Afrontamento Lda, pp. 41-63 Available here.

Machado, Helena (2021), O futuro incerto e as turbulências da vigilância genética na Europa, In Machado, Helena (Ed.), Crime e tecnologia: Desafios culturais e políticos para a Europa. Porto: Edições Afrontamento Lda, pp. 23-40 Available here.

Machado, Helena (Ed.) (2021), Crime e tecnologia: Desafios culturais e políticos para a Europa, Porto: Edições Afrontamento, Lda Available here.

Khan, Sheila (2021), UM NARCISISMO COLONIAL: implicações históricas nas tecnologias de vigilância, Revista Ciências Humanas, 14(2), 54-62 Available here.

Queirós, Filipa (2021), Crime, Raça e Suspeição: A tecnologia de inferência fenotípica na investigação criminal na Europa, Porto: Edições Afrontamento, Lda Available here.

Machado, Helena; Granja, Rafaela (2021), 犯罪治理中的法医遗传学, V.N.Famalicão: Húmus Available here.

Machado, Helena; Granja, Rafaela (2021), Genética Forense e Governança da Criminalidade, V.N.Famalicão: Húmus Available here.

Amelung, Nina; Machado, Helena (2021), Governing expectations of forensic innovations in society: the case of FDP in Germany, New Genetics and Society, 1-22 Available here.

Martins, Marta (2021), News media representation on EU immigration before Brexit: the ‘Euro-Ripper’ case, Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 8(11), 1-8 Available here.

2020

Granja, Rafaela (2020), Long-range familial searches in recreational DNA databases: expansion of affected populations, the participatory turn, and the co-production of biovalue, New Genetics and Society, 1-22 Available here.

Amelung, Nina; Granja, Rafaela; Machado, Helena (2020), Modes of Bio-Bordering: The Hidden (Dis)integration of Europe, Singapore: Palgrave Pivot Available here.

Neiva, Laura (2020), O direito à privacidade no tempo do big data: narrativas profissionais na União Europeia, Revista Tecnologia e Sociedade, 16(45), 1-20 Available here.

Neiva, Laura (2020), Big Data na investigação criminal: desafios e expectativas na União Europeia, V.N.Famalicão: Húmus Available here.

Granja, Rafaela; Machado, Helena (2020), Forensic DNA phenotyping and its politics of legitimation and contestation: Views of forensic geneticists in Europe, Social Studies of Science, 1-19 Available here.

Amelung, Nina; Gianolla, Cristiano; Solovova, Olga; Sousa Ribeiro, Joana (2020), Technologies, infrastructures and migrations: material citizenship politics, Citizenship studies, 24(5), 587-606 Available here.

Granja, Rafaela; Machado, Helena; Queirós, Filipa (2020), The (De)materialization of Criminal Bodies in Forensic DNA Phenotyping, Body & Society, 1-25 Available here.

Machado, Helena; Granja, Rafaela (2020), Forensic Genetics in the Governance of Crime, Singapore: Palgrave Pivot Available here.

Machado, Helena; Granja, Rafaela (2020), DNA transnational data journeys and the construction of categories of suspicion, Canadian Journal of Communication, 45(1), 81-89 Available here.

Amelung, Nina; Granja, Rafaela; Machado, Helena (2020), Communicating Forensic Genetics: 'Enthusiastic' Publics and the Management of Expectations, in Ulrike Felt & Sarah, R. Davies (eds.) Exploring Science Communication. Sage Publications Ltd: London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi, Singapore, pp. 209-226. ISBN: 9781526464408 Available here.

2019

Matos, Sara (2019), Privacy and data protection in the surveillance society: The case of the Prüm system, Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 66, 155-161 Available here.

Queirós, Filipa (2019), The visibilities and invisibilities of race entangled with forensic DNA phenotyping technology, Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 68, 1-7 Available here.

Machado, Helena; Granja, Rafaela; Amelung, Nina (2019), Constructing Suspicion Through Forensic DNA Databases in the EU. The Views of the Prüm Professionals, The British Journal of Criminology, 60(1), 141-159 Available here.

Amelung, Nina; Machado, Helena (2019), ‘Bio-bordering’ processes in the EU: de-bordering and re-bordering along transnational systems of biometric database technologies, International Journal of Migration and Border Studies, 5(4), 392-408 Available here.

Neiva, Laura; Machado, Helena (2019), Big Data – paradigma tecnológico que facilita a produção de (des)informação? Aspetos éticos e operacionais, In S. Pereira (Ed.), Literacia, Media e Cidadania – Livro de Atas do 5.º congresso (pp. 229-243). Braga: CECS Available here.

Machado, Helena; Khan, Sheila (2019), A memória e a história inscritas nas tecnologias genéticas de combate ao crime, Newsletter Memoirs, 65 Available here.

Machado, Helena; Granja, Rafaela (2019), Risks and benefits of transnational exchange of forensic DNA data in the EU: The views of professionals operating the Prüm system, Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 68, 1-7 Available here.

Amelung, Nina; Machado, Helena (2019), Affected for good or for evil: The formation of issue-publics that relate to the UK National DNA Database, Public Understanding of Science, 28(5), 590-605 Available here.

Granja, Rafaela; Machado, Helena (2019), Ethical controversies of familial searching: The views of stakeholders in the United Kingdom and in Poland, Science, Technology & Human Values, 44(6), 1068-1092 Available here.

Machado, Helena (2019), Geopolítica do DNA, Dicionário Alice. Consultado a 09.04.19 Available here.

Machado, Helena; Granja, Rafaela (2019), Police epistemic culture and boundary work with judicial authorities and forensic scientists: the case of transnational DNA data exchange in the EU, New Genetics and Society, 38(3), 289-307 Available here.

Machado, Helena; Silva, Susana (2019), What influences public views on forensic DNA testing in the criminal field? A scoping review of quantitative evidence, Human Genomics, 13(23), 1-13 Available here.

Toom, Victor; Granja, Rafaela; Ludwig Anika (2019), The Prüm Decisions as an Aspirational regime: Reviewing a decade of cross-border exchange and comparison of forensic DNA data, Forensic Science International: Genetics, 41(1), 50-57 Available here.

2018

Machado, Helena; Granja, Rafaela (2018), Ethics in transnational forensic DNA data exchange in the EU: Constructing boundaries and managing controversies, Science as Culture, 27(2), 242-264 Available here.

Machado, Helena; Martins, Marta; Santos, Filipe (2018), O "suspeito genético": desafios bioéticos da partilha transnacional de informação genética forense, in Ana Figueiredo Sol e Steven Gouveia (eds.), Bioética no Século XXI. Charleston, USA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing, pp. 315-336 Available here.

Machado, Helena; Queirós, Filipa; Martins, Marta; Granja, Rafaela; Matos, Sara (2018), Vigilância genética, criminalização e coletivização da suspeição, in Sílvia Gomes, Vera Duarte, Fernando Bessa Ribeiro, Luís Cunha, Ana Maria Brandão e Ana Jorge (org.), Desigualdades Sociais e Políticas Públicas: Homenagem a Manuel Carlos Silva. Braga; Edições Húmus, pp. 529-548 Available here.

Matos, Sara (2018), Biometria e privacidade: desafios bioéticos na cooperação policial e judicial na União Europeia, in Ana Figueiredo Sol e Steven Gouveia (eds.), Bioética no Século XXI. Charleston, USA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing, pp. 255-286 Available here.

Miranda, Diana; Machado, Helena (2018), Photographing prisoners: The unworthy, unpleasant and unchanging criminal body, Criminology & Criminal Justice, 19(5), 591-604 Available here.

Queirós, Filipa (2018), Retratos Biogenéticos no Combate à Criminalidade: Desafios Éticos e Sociais, in Ana Figueiredo Sol e Steven Gouveia (eds.), Bioética no Século XXI. Charleston, USA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing, pp. 287-313 Available here.

2017

Costa, Susana (2017), Visibilities, invisibilities and twilight zones at the crime scene in Portugal, New Genetics and Society, 36(4), 375-399 Available here.

Granja, Rafaela (2017), Família no entrecruzamento da genética e do controlo social: Velhas e novas racionalidades científicas, in Helena Machado (org.), Genética e Cidadania. Porto: Afrontamento, pp. 35-52 Available here.

Machado, Helena (2017), "Genótipos de difícil socialização": Crime, genética, neurociências e ethos científico, in Helena Machado (org.), Genética e Cidadania. Porto: Afrontamento, pp. 53-67 Available here.

Machado, Helena (2017), Genética e cidadania, Porto: Afrontamento Available here.

Machado, Helena (2017), Genética e cidadania no século XXI: Uma breve porém crítica revisitação, in Helena Machado (org.), Genética e Cidadania. Porto: Afrontamento, pp. 7-12 Available here.

Machado, Helena; Samorinha, Catarina; Santos, Filipe (2017), Genes maus, genes bons: Rumos da justiça personalizada e desafios à cidadania, in Helena Machado (org.), Genética e Cidadania. Porto: Afrontamento, pp. 15-34 Available here.

Martins, Marta (2017), Perspetivas cidadãs sobre participação em biobancos médicos e para investigação científica, in Helena Machado (org.), Genética e Cidadania. Porto: Afrontamento, pp. 191-206 Available here.

Martins, Marta; Machado, Helena (2017), Entre a utopia e a distopia dos biobancos: (d)esperanças, riscos e benefícios pela voz dos cidadãos, in Claudia Fonseca e Denise Jardim (org.), Promessas e incertezas da ciência: Perspectivas antropológicas sobre saúde, cuidado e controle. Porto Alegre, Brasil: Editora Sulina, pp. 201-226 Available here.

Matos, Sara (2017), Salvaguardar o futuro? Perspetivas de casais heterossexuais face à criopreservação do sangue do cordão umbilical em Portugal, in Helena Machado (org.), Genética e Cidadania. Porto: Afrontamento, pp. 207-219 Available here.

Matos, Sara; Machado, Helena; Granja, Rafaela (2017), (Crio)Preservar a vida: significados de família, parentalidade e responsabilidade, in Claudia Fonseca; Fabiola Rohden e Patrice Schuch (org.), Ciência, Medicina e Perícia nas Tecnologias de Governo. Porto Alegre, Brasil: Coleções Editoriais do CEGOV, pp. 151-171 Available here.

Santos, Filipe (2017), The transnational exchange of DNA data: Global standards and local practices, in Kai Jakobs and Knut Blind (eds.), Proceedings of the 22nd EURAS annual standardisation conference. Digitalisation: Challenge and opportunity for standardisation. Verlag Mainz: Aachen, pp. 305-322 Available here.

Santos, Filipe, & Machado, Helena (2017), Patterns of exchange of forensic DNA data in the European Union through the Prüm system, Science & Justice, 57(4), 307-313 Available here.

Santos, Filipe; Costa, Susana; Richter, Vítor (2017), O banco de dados genéticos no Brasil: Os desafios operacionais e legais de um processo de modernização, in Claudia Fonseca; Glaucia Maricato; Larissa Duarte; Lucas Besen (org.), Ciência, medicina e perícia nas tecnologias de governo. Porto Alegre: CEGOV, pp. 130-150 Available here.

2016

Amelung, Nina; Queirós, Filipa; Machado, Helena (2016), Studying ethical controversies around genetic surveillance technologies: a comparative approach to the cases of Portugal and the UK, in Atas do IX Congresso Português de Sociologia - Portugal, Território de territórios, 6 a 8 de Julho, Universidade do Algarve Available here.

Frois, Catarina; Machado, Helena (2016), Modernization and development as a motor of polity and policing, in Ben Bradford; Beatrice Jauregui; Ian Loader; Jonny Steinberg (eds.), The SAGE handbook of global policing. London: SAGE, pp. 391-405 Available here.

Ljosne, Isabelle; Mascalzoni, Deborah; Soini, Sirpa; Machado, Helena; Bentzen, Heidi; Rial-Sebbag, Emanuelle; D'Abramo, Flavio; Witt, Michal; Schamps, Geneviève; Katić, Višnja; Krajnovic, Dusica; Harris, Jennifer (2016), Feedback of individual genetic results to research participants: Is it feasible in Europe?, Biopreservation and Biobanking, Online first, 14(3), 1-8 Available here.

Machado, Helena; Santos, Filipe (2016), Culturas de objetividade, epistemologias cívicas e o suspeito transnacional. Uma proposta para mapeamentos teóricos em estudos sociais da genética forense, in Claudia Fonseca; Fabíola Rohden; Paula Machado e Heloísa Paim (org.), Antropologia da ciência e da tecnologia: Dobras reflexivas. Porto Alegre, Brasil: Editora Sulina, pp. 179-203 Available here.

Machado, Helena; Silva, Susana (2016), Voluntary participation in forensic DNA databases: Altruism, resistance, and stigma, Science, Technology & Human Values, 41(2), 322-343 Available here.

Martins, Marta; Granja, Rafaela; Machado, Helena (2016), Risco, segurança e criminalidade: o "suspeito transnacional", in Atas do IX Congresso Português de Sociologia - Portugal, Território de territórios, 6 a 8 de Julho, Universidade do Algarve Available here.

Matos, Sara; Machado, Helena; Santos, Filipe (2016), Criminalidade e geopolítica da ciência na União Europeia, in Atas do IX Congresso Português de Sociologia - Portugal, Território de territórios, 6 a 8 de Julho, Universidade do Algarve Available here.

Santos; Filipe (2016), Overview of the implementation of the Prüm Decisions, Report: Available here.

Toom, Victor; Wienroth, Matthias; M’charek, Amade; Prainsack, Barbara; Williams, Robin; Duster, Troy; Heinemann, Torsten; Kruse, Corinna; Machado, Helena; Murphy, Erin (2016), Approaching ethical, legal and social issues of emerging forensic DNA phenotyping (FDP) technologies comprehensively: Reply to ‘Forensic DNA phenotyping: Predicting human appearance from crime scene material for investigative purposes’ by Manfred Kayser, Forensic Science International: Genetics, 22, e1-e4 Available here.

2015

Machado, Helena; Silva, Susana (2015), Public perspectives on risks and benefits of forensic DNA databases: An approach to the influence of professional group, education, and age, Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 35(1-2), 16-24 Available here.

EXCHANGE Events

2021/03/18

Book Launch "Modes of Bio-Bordering: The Hidden (Dis)integration of Europe"

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Zoom platform| Braga, 18 March 2021

This open access book explores how biometric data is increasingly flowing across borders in order to limit, control and contain the mobility of selected people, namely criminalized populations. It introduces the concept of bio-bordering, using it to capture reverse patterns of bordering and ordering practices linked to transnational biometric data exchange regimes. The concept is useful to reconstruct how the territorial foundations of national state autonomy are partially reclaimed and, at the same time, partially purposefully suspended. The book focuses on the Prüm system, which facilitates the mandatory exchange of forensic DNA data amongst EU Member States. The Prüm system is an underexplored phenomenon, representing diverse instances of bio-bordering and providing a complex picture of the hidden (dis)integration of Europe. Particular legal, scientific, technical and political dimensions related to the governance and uses of biometric technologies in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom are specifically explored to demonstrate both similar and distinct patterns.

 

In the book launch, moderated by João Sarmento, the authors made a presentation of the book main topics, followed by commentaries by Claudia Aradau (King’s College London), Carole McCartney (Northumbria University) and Eric Töpfer (German Institute for Human Rights). The discussion outlined issues of accountability, transparency and the so-called Prüm next generation.

2021/01/20

"The British Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence, and Cultural Restitution" | Permanent Seminar Partnership | Communication and Cultural Diversity and Post-Colonial Studies (CECS, UM)

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Zoom platform| Braga, 20 January 2021

Guest Speaker: Dan Hicks (University of Oxford)

Dan Hicks presented a seminar focused on the restitution of museum materials to the countries from which they were stolen. He argued that it would be the beginning of a process of cultural restitution and of historical reparation. It would allow the nations that were colonies to celebrate and rewrite their cultural heritage and colonial past. Dicks reflected on these issues by reminding that “just as the border is to the nation-state, the museum is to the empire. A restitution is not a subtraction”.

 

These reflections are detailed in his book “The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence, and Cultural Restitution” (2020) stating that museums are integrated into society and tell stories that allow us to know and deal with the past. He exemplified this reflection with the history of the voracious and extractive colonialism of the Benin Bronzes – a collection of thousands of metal plates and sculptures depicting the history of the Royal Court of the Obas in Benin City, Nigeria. These stories are, in Dicks’ view,  at the center of the debate on cultural restitution, repatriation, and decolonization of museums.

 

The seminar ended with several questions from the audience. In particular: i) the possible transposition of Dan Hicks’ book reflections to museums in Portugal; ii) cultural memory confrontation between generations when it comes to reintegrating these objects on their cultural native environment; iii) the idea of entanglements despite restitution; and iv) the differences between types of objects, their value for the communities and the differences between empires.

2020/12/11

"The colonial past as a problem not closed in contemporary times. Mental decolonization as an intercultural possibility in times of resentment" | Permanent Seminar Partnership | Communication and Cultural Diversity and Post-Colonial Studies (CECS, UM)

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Zoom platform| Braga, 11 December 2020

Guest Speaker: Luís Lisboa (Anti-fascist Unitary Front) and Pedro Schacht Pereira (Department of Spanish and Portuguese, The Ohio State University)

The Permanent Seminar on Postcolonial Studies in partnership with the Exchange Project presented its new format in terms of the debate. In this sense, the two speakers, Luís Lisboa and Pedro Schacht were invited by the moderator to think about how the colonial past is still present in social, collective, cultural, and institutional dynamics.

 

The invited speakers reflected on the fact that this examination requires an exercise in terms of historical revisiting. They also debated about the role of mental decolonization and artivism as tools to disobey a given History, under the aegis of a certain timbre of the superiority of some to the detriment of the racial ostracism of others. The invited speakers referred to decolonization as power, that is, the ability to renew a language capable of remembering the colonial past in all its veracity. And in doing so, realizing that the Portuguese collective reality is hostage to that historicity that did not detach from the memory and mentalities of the country, which is Portugal.

 

The Seminar ended with several questions that were addressed to Luís Lisboa and Pedro Schacht about activism and its limits, systemic racism, and the art as a tool for mental decolonization.

2020/11/25

"A European unconscious. Racism, memory, citizenship" | Permanent Seminar Partnership | Communication and Cultural Diversity and Post-Colonial Studies (CECS, UM)

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Zoom platform| Braga, 25 November 2020

Guest Speaker: Paulo de Medeiros (Warwick University)

Professor Paulo de Medeiros gave a seminar entitled “A European unconscious. Racism, memory, citizenship” to debate questions related to racism, ethnicity, and nation. As a starting point, Paulo de Medeiros unveiled Stuart Hall’s reflections on his book “The Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity and Nation” (2017) to analyse the concept of ‘diaspora identities’, that Stuart Hall defined as a landscape where identities are in a constant interaction and dialogue between past and future. Specifically, he reflected on the idea that African diaspora is related to the American legacy of slavery, the atlantic triangulation between Europe, Africa and America. He also talked about “afropolitics” to critically reflect on this legacy in Europe, by taking to the debate questions, promises, memories, post-memories, and civic responsibility that are claiming different ways and perceptions of discussing the past. He also reflected on the social inequalities through an intersectional perspective where race plays a relevant analytical dimension to understand the roots of today racist and xenofobic reactions in the European and also American contexts, by referring to the deaths of George Floyd and Bruno Candé. He finished with a reflection about racism and fascism inspired by Toni Morrison’s book “Mouth Full of Blood” (2019).

 

The seminar ended with a debate about the future discussions of racism in Portugal and a question about the work on imperial memories and post-memories that Paulo de Medeiros is developing in the Memoirs Project.

2020/09/28

Postapartheid South African Forensic Genetics: Race, Justice and Biocarcerality

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Zoom platform| Braga, 28 September 2020

Guest Speaker: Noah Tamarkin (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa)

Noah Tamarkin gave a talk on the “Postapartheid South African Forensic Genetics: Race, Justice and Biocarcerality”. His talk started with presenting the DNA Act. This process became systematized in South Africa, in January 2015, byestablishing a national criminal DNA database and tasking the South African Police Service (SAPS) with its expansion. Noah Tamarkin’s talk considered how the law came about, how it gained traction, and the terms through which it was debated, namely taken in consideration the South African postcolonial debate on issues such as race, security and citizenship, by developing an idea of biocarcerality as a form of carcerality grounded in racialized bodies.

 

The seminar ended with questions and debate. Questions asked entailed who funded the DNA project; if companies or foreign governments were involved; the level of support for these databases amongst black Africans; the comparisonbetween DNA databases in the UK and South Africa, among others. The speaker was also invited to expand on the ethical and other challenges regarding South African DNA databases, by bringing to the debate the historical, social, political and cultural contexts of South Africa’s postcolonial context.

2020/07/09

Privacy terms and conditions for Angolan activism: the 15 + 2 case

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Zoom platform| Braga, 9 July 2020

Guest Speaker: Joana Bárbara Fonseca (Portuguese Literature Center, University of Coimbra)

Joana Fonseca took as a starting point the historical background of Angolan governance from the time of Eduardo dos Santos to the present moment. Presenting the MPLA’s (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) historical and political developments, Joana contextualized the scenario for the emergence of Angolan activism and how that activism operated. Joana anchored this political scenario with the mediatic case of the young Angolans activists who defied the regime’s mechanisms of authority. Based on interviews with those associated with these civic claims, who became known as the 15+2 case, she unfolded the engineering of Angolan state surveillance and how historically that is anchored to a logic of authority, punishment and elimination. The path of the logic of surveillance in Angola builds on the anxiety of a state to dominate and castrate a society that aims to discuss and debate social, economic and civic vulnerabilities by the population. In this context, the development of surveillance tools in Angola is noticeable. In the context of Covid-19 pandemic, Joana Fonseca stressed two surveillance projects recently created: the Integrated Centre for Public Security and the Electronic Centre for Public Security.

 

The seminar ended with relevant questions about the consistency related to the reinforcement of surveillance sustained and legitimized by the situation of Covid-19 in Angola. Overall, the issues debated were intrinsically related to social networks and how Angolan police officers use them to track suspects; differential privacy; the right to personal data protection; feminist activism; and, finally, racism and surveillance.

2020/06/22

EXCHANGE Project Symposium "Challenges to criminal justice and police and judicial cooperation: the DNA data exchange within the Prüm system"

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Zoom platform| Braga, 22 June 2020

The EXCHANGE Project Symposium that took place on June 22, 2020 aimed at sharing the major achievements of the EXCHANGE project, as input for open discussions among various stakeholders.

 

The Symposium was hosted by Isabel Estrada Carvalhais (Deputy of the European Parliament, Member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats) and benefited from institutional support of the University of Minho.

 

The Symposium gathered internationally invited speakers, such as Georg Biekötter, Political Administrator at the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union; Reinhard SchmidHead of the Central Identification Service Austria and Deputy Head of Austrian Forensic Services; Séverine SteuveCustodian of the Belgian DNA Database, National Institute for Criminalistics and Criminology; and Victor Toom, independent scholar. Participants included social science scholars, researchers within the field of forensic genetics, practitioners in forensic institutes and police forces from European countries, as well as from Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Dubai, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia.

 

The symposium was organized around two main sessions: in the first, Helena Machado, Principal Investigator of the Exchange project, summarized the Exchange Project’s main results; in the second session four speakers reflected upon the current situation of the transnational DNA data exchange and debated the ongoing challenges and the future of the Prüm system. The debate focused upon controversial technologies; false positives within the Prüm system; efficiency and efficacy of the Prüm system and data protection issues.

Video Gallery

2020/05/05

Nazi anti-Semitic racism

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Zoom platform| Braga, 5 May 2020

Guest Speaker: Irene Flunser Pimentel (Institute of Contemporary History IHC, University Nova of Lisbon)

Irene Pimentel critically addressed the different stages on the way to transform the Jewish population into a racialized and dehumanized Other. Irene Pimentel also clarified the notion of anti-Semitism, explaining that it is centrally anchored in biological issues, based on the premises of social Darwinism and eugenics. As an example, Irene Pimentel noted that Hitler considered that certain behaviors were determined by race and concluded from this that heredity would lead to decadence of the Jewish race. Thus, eugenics, were proposed as a form of social control, and occurred in two primary forms: negative – as forced sterilization or abortion – and positive – as promoting the reproduction of those considered as the “pure race”. Finally, the debate focused on three main topics:  the belief system in Germany; the role of advertising and education in the construction of these beliefs; and the specification of the Portuguese context.

2019/11/28

Documentary and Debate on “Mozambique. Lucid dreams"| Permanent Seminar Partnership | Communication and Cultural Diversity and Post-Colonial Studies (CECS, UM)

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Nogueira da Silva Museum| Braga, 28 November 2019

Sheila Khan organized a debate based on the documentary entitled “Mozambique. Lucid Dreams” produced by João Campos and Fernando Almeida. The discussion had as its main axes: on the one hand, the contemporary scenario in Mozambique around the dynamics of its History and Memory and, on the other hand, the historical and cultural relations between Mozambique and Portugal.

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2019/11/14

Workshop “Care, Critique, Correction? Engaging with Migration & Crime Control Infrastructures”

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Institute of Education, University of Minho | Braga, 14 November 2019

Guest Speaker: Nisha Kapoor;Agnes Chavez; Silvan Pollozek; Nina Amelung; Simone Tulumello; Sheila Khan (University of Warwick, UK; Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany; Interdisciplinary artist and educator; Munich Center for Technology and Society (MCTS); University of Minho, Portugal; University of Lisbon, Portugal;University of Minho, Portugal )

In this workshop, Nisha Kapoor gave a presentation about “On the racisms of Europe’s frontiers: Thinking through criminalization, border policing, and the possibilities for social justice”. She reflected on the role of racism and criminalization on the maintenance and expansion of systems of oppression and exclusion that are symbolized and projected through crime and control infrastructures. Tomás Criado talked about “Engaging with care, troubling interventions”. He introduced a notion of care which serves as a tool to make room “for the previously unaccounted”. He connected care with intervention and as well with civic and ethical responsibility that calls attention to professionals from a diverse school of agency and thoughts. Silvan Pollozek discussed “Counter-mapping in institutional ecologies of European border control”. Pollozek demonstrated how maps and mapping relating to migration politics stick closely to the nexus of place/territory and control/autonomy of migration. He proposed a counter model of multi-vocal maps which implies to overcome those conceptions of maps which exclude many other actors, agendas, issues, and claims. He presented an example of mapping working/non-working organizational practices of migration management. Nina Amelung talked about “Affected (non)publics: Transnational biometric surveillance technologies and modes of othering”. Amelung explored two examples of transnational biometric database systems set up for criminal identification and migration control purposes in the European Union: the decentralized forensic DNA data exchange system regulated under the Prüm decisions and the centralized fingerprint database system EURODAC with regards to forms of atomization and marginalization of affected publics. Agnes Chavez, an interdisciplinary artist, and educator reflected upon how art and science can be mutually beneficial to disseminate its principles to larger audiences. She emphasized the role of the creation of empathy and education in which art can be used in this context. Simone Tulumello reflected about “Police work as infrastructure, or, should be policing be fixed, re-purposed or scrapped?”. Tulumello explored what are the two major interrelated paradigms of the transformation of policing in the Western world. He highlighted the metaphor of policing-as-infrastructure and why the police as infrastructure are embedded in very complex relationships that can result in a function creep of their initial mission. Sheila Khan spoke about “Colonial Ghosts and the Emergent Ontology of Dehumanization of Human Rights”. She argued that far from acting in conformance with principles in support of values such as democracy, peace, and security, surveillance technologies undeniably demonstrate the desire to close Europe not only geographically, but above all from a humanitarian, ideological and civic perspective.

All participants were invited to consider an object that was representing a form of engagement with migration and crime control infrastructures. Documenting participants and their objects by photographing them, Marta Martins and Laura Neiva created a virtual exhibition entitled “Engagement with migration and crime control infrastructures”.

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2020/10/28

EXCHANGE Scientific Advisory Council meeting

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Amsterdam, Netherlands | 28 October 2019

In this meeting of the EXCHANGE Scientific Advisory Committee Helena Machado and Rafaela Granja presented a comprehensive overview of the project’s timeline, main results and research outputs achieved up to this point. The variety of expertise and approaches represented in the Committee gave rise to valuable feedback and suggestions to advance on-going work.

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2019/10/28

Workshop “Crime and Memory - Forensic Language as a Narrative of Memory”

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Institute of Social Sciences, University of Minho | Braga, 28 October 2019

Guest Speaker: Rui Sousa Silva; Sílvia Maeso; Luis Rios (University of Porto; University of Coimbra; The Spanish Museum of Natural Sciences, Spain.)

In this workshop, Rui Sousa Silva gave a presentation about “forensic linguistics as a contribution to the study of crime narratives”. The purpose of his presentation was to discuss the ethical challenges of scientific and policy research, using forensic linguistics as a starting point and, to understand the crime narratives of forensic sciences, specifically forensic linguistics. Silvia Maeso talked about “criminalization/dehumanization: the legal institutionalization of racism”. Through a socio-legal analysis of racism in law, Silvia discussed the issues of the innocence of law that eventually perpetuate racism. Silvia emphasized the idea that law creates the myth of universality and equality yet makes reference to unequal structural positions. Finally, Luis Rios reflected on “the Spanish civil war and the Franco dictatorship”. He argued that the combined use of information as diverse as testimony, archives, archeology, osteology, and DNA provides a complex and historically situated narrative that is crucial not only for building a strong argument from a forensic perspective but for broader social reflections about state crimes.

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2019/10/17

"The Civic and Historical Responsibility of the Census” | Permanent Seminar Partnership | Communication and Cultural Diversity and Post-Colonial Studies (CECS, UM)

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Lúcio Craveiro da Silva Library|Braga, 18 September 2019

Guest Speaker: Pedro Bacelar; Cristina Roldão; Beatriz Gomes Dias; Bruno Sena Martins (Deputy of the National Assembly;CIES-IUL - Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology;President of the Afro Descendants Association (DJASS); Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra)

Sheila Khan coordinated a debate on the civic and historical responsibility of the Census. The debate was focused on the moment in which Portuguese society experiences times of great vibration facing, albeit reluctantly, the issues of racism, social and cultural discrimination, quotas for social minorities, among other issues. The debate also evolved on the demand of active and civic empathy from all of us. This discussion was an event organized by the groups at the Permanent Seminars on Communication and Cultural Diversity and Post-Colonial Studies at the Research Center for Communication and Society at the University of Minho and EXCHANGE Project.

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2019/09/18

Recovering Difference as a Site of Resistance: The Case of Wearable Computers

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Institute of Social Sciences, University of Minho|Braga, 18 September 2019

Guest Speaker: Ana Viseu (Associate Professor at the School of Technology, Arts and Communication, Universidade Europeia, Lisbon)

Ana Viseu addressed in her talk critically the generalized belief – popularized in the media and technoscientific writing – that with data we can see things that would otherwise go unnoticed: in our bodies, activities and the world itself. Discussing a case study of the implementation of wearable technologies in the workplace, conducted in the early 2000s, she shed light on the experiences of becoming information and the movements of resistance to being seen. She showed how being seen – and being seen as information – involves a semantic and ontological shift in which identities are transformed and entities are created. She concluded that this, in turn, may help shed light on the implications of the current data and quantification movements.

2019/06/17

Lusophony as a postcolonial view: colonial rancidity or intercultural possibility? | Permanent Seminar Partnership | Communication and Cultural Diversity and Post-Colonial Studies (CECS, UM)

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Institute of Social Sciences, University of Minho|Braga, 17 June 2019

Guest Speaker: Vítor de Sousa (CECS, University of Minho)

In this seminar organized in collaboration with group of postcolonial studies, master of sociology and CECS, Vítor de Sousa gives a presentation about Lusophony arose in the reference periodization in 1950. Cármen Maciel, who mapped the interpretive field of lusophony, concluded that the word only appears in reference works from 1972. It is in 1969, however, that it is written for the first time in a manual on ‘portugalidade’, by António Ferronha, in which he associates it with the idea of ​​a unique language and an ideology, without which there would be no promise of continuity between Portugal and its then overseas provinces. Vítor de Sousa argues that, unlike ‘portugalidade’, which is markedly colonial, the word being even coined between the 1950s and 1960s of the twentieth century, in the midst of the Estado Novo, Lusofonia is a postcolonial concept. That is why linking one term to the other is a counter-claim, due to its association with the slogan “Portugal from Minho to Timor”. Lusophony, however, has some cleavages. Moisés de Lemos Martins enumerates four misunderstandings that can explain this state of things: a) to look at Lusofonia from the Portuguese centrality through the reconstruction of the narratives of the old empire; b) by the luso-tropicalism route; c) and the idea of ​​sweet colonization; and, d) through the narrative of a story of resentment. Failure to consider the differences between colonial histories and colonization processes can lead to imposing on one people the postcolonial narrative of another, which means, according to Ana Paula Ferreira that colonialism may be speaking in the name of a post-colonialism, decentralized and non-hegemonic. This constitutes the appropriation of a critical, historically decontextualized meta-language, which poses considerable theoretical risks, namely that of perpetuating the colonial relationship to be abolished at another level.

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2019/06/11

Can DNA ancestry testing debunk racist ideologies?

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Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto (ISPUP)|Porto, 11 June 2019

Guest Speaker: Sarah Abel (Department of Anthropology, University of Iceland)

This seminar resulted from a co-organization between the EXCHANGE project and the Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto (ISPUP). Sarah Abel framed the emergence and consolidation of a direct-to-consumer DNA ancestry-testing companies and, based on such context, discussed the effectiveness of such tests as tools for debunking racial ideologies. Drawing on various public polemics in US and Brazil the author discussed how genetic ancestry data have been portrayed in relation to historical conceptions of race, of politics of belonging and, finally, of the imaginaries on cultural identities. On the one hand, such products are hailed variously both as a tool for identity construction, especially for groups who have experienced a collective ancestral trauma, and as a means of debunking racist myths by demonstrating that genetically ‘everyone is mixed’. On the other hand, such tests are also being used by some white supremacist groups to facilitate the appropriation and racialisation of indigenous identities by claiming notions of ‘racial purity’. The author thereby suggested that the relationship between identity and biological ancestry is not fixed, but in constant negotiation. Thus, such claims interlink questions of scientific objectivity, as well as ideological and ethical arguments.

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2019/06/06

Workshop: The ‘good society’ in the genomic body? Ethics and politics of emerging technologies for human identification

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Newcastle University, London, UK|June 6-7

The workshop entitled “The ‘good society’ in the genomic body? Ethics and politics of emerging technologies for human identification” was co-hosted by the EXCHANGE project. It resulted from a collaboration of Helena Machado, Principle Investigator of the EXCHANGE project, together with Matthias Wienroth, Newcastle University. Together they are guest editors for a special issue initiative. During the workshop, invited scholars discussed contributions targeting readers in Science and Technology Studies, Social-legal Studies, Criminology, Policing Studies, and Forensic Genetics. Papers explored the introduction of rapid DNA technologies and the regulation of biometric technologies in the United Kingdom, debates on universal databases, the rise and implications of direct-to-consumer genetic ancestry-testing industry, and the notion of subversive bodies in a postcolonial context.

Nina Amelung and Helena Machado presented their paper “When imaginaries of security innovations in forensic genetics meet imaginaries of insecure societies: the case of the “extended DNA analysis” in Germany”. The paper discusses the co-evolving imaginaries of innovation in the regulatory debate and within the epistemic community of forensic geneticists accompanying the emerging technologies of forensic DNA phenotyping and the prediction of biogeographic ancestry in Germany. The authors address how imaginaries of security innovations come hand in hand with imaginaries of societal malaises of insecure societies which they aim to cure.

Rafaela Granja, from the EXCHANGE team, participated as an invited discussant for all the papers.

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2019/05/30

Memory, Silences, Power: The colonial war and the mirrors of history | Permanent Seminar Partnership | Communication and Cultural Diversity and Post-Colonial Studies (CECS, UM)

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Institute of Social Sciences, University of Minho, Braga|30 May 2019

Guest Speaker: Miguel Cardina (CES,University of Coimbra)

The first meeting organized in collaboration with group of postcolonial Studies, master of sociology and CECS was held at University of Minho, Social Sciences Institute. Miguel Cardina, as the invited speaker, gave a presentation on Memory, Silences, Power: The Colonial War and the Mirrors of History. The talk focused on the dynamics of memory and forgetting the colonial wars and its impacts on Portuguese society as one of the most painful and traumatic national events. Sheila Khan as the group’s coordinator moderated the following fruitful debate which addressed the political, social and cultural present situation in Portugal. The discussion emphasized issues entangled with its geopolitical position between Africa and Europe. The seminar attracted a highly diverse audience ranging from master and doctoral students, over researchers and professors to teachers from high schools in Braga.

2019/05/27

Rethinking 'Stealing the fire, 2.0 style’: Furthering our engagement with counter-security technologies in 21st century

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Institute of Education, University of Minho|Braga, 27 May 2019

Guest Speaker: Sanja Milivojevic (La Trobe University, Melbourne)

Sanja Milivojevic addressed in her presentation responses to policing global mobility within digital space and the use of technology in mobility control. Her focus lied on how the ‘digital’ transforms borders from below and how technology can serve as not only mobility enabler, but also a tool for de-securitization and re-humanization of illegalized non-citizens. In the discussion the issue of inequality was raised regarding skills and digital literacy which enable some and disable other migrants to apply “counter-security-technologies”. Furthermore, the role of public perceptions on migrants’ situations was critically discussed, and public misconceptions about the mobile phone as the only belonging of value. It means to migrants an archive of memories, a navigation tool and the communication device to be in touch with families. Yet, it comes with ambiguities: it can be used to produce counter narratives of migrations giving voice to migrants themselves on the one hand, but it also can become the device which is used for surveillance of migrants on the other hand.

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2019/04/24

MEMOIRS: Children of empires and european postmemories

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Institute of Education, University of Minho, Braga|24 April 2019

Guest Speaker: Margarida Calafate Ribeiro; Fátima Rodrigues (CES-University of Coimbra)

Margarida Calafate Ribeiro and Fátima Rodrigues reflected on challenges posed by the project MEMOIRS – Children of Empires and European Postmemories. This seminar focussed on the conceptualization and fieldwork of the project as well as the main methodological challenges. In general terms, our guests addressed the following questions: What are the codes of representation for post-memory? What is the repertoire of representations? What are the frequencies and territorial distributions in which they occur? The project studies three particular cultural contexts: France, Belgium and Portugal. The presentation ended with a debate which focussed on methodological sampling issues and on issues related to the ethics of reconstructing memories and the importance of historical voids and silences.

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2019/02/06

(De)Othering. Deconstructing risk and otherness in media scapes: Lampedusa

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Institute of Social Sciences, University of Minho|Braga, 6 February 2019

Guest Speaker: Gaia Giuliani (University of Coimbra, CES)

Gaia Giuliani, the Principal Investigator of the FCT funded project “(De)Othering. Deconstructing Risk and Otherness: hegemonic scripts and counter-narratives on migrants/refugees and ‘internal Others’ in Portuguese and European mediascapes”, provided a background about the project focusing on mediascapes, the construction of otherness (migrants, refugees and “internal others”) in the context of borders and its societal impacts. Within these dynamic relations, the idea of the “other”, changes, depending on the position from which it is observed. Gaia argued that mediascapes or media scripts represent the “other” as either “bodies at risk” or “bodies of risk”. She applies intersectionality as a concept to unpack the power relations constituted in gender, race, age, sexuality and religion. In sum, she explored the visual and written media representations of Lampedusa as a ‘proscenium’, where a number of power relations, imaginaries, and stories (individual and collective) are continuously rehearsed and modified.

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2018/11/12

International Conference: Contemporary challenges to forensic genetics in society

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School of Law, University of Minho|Braga, 12-14 November 2018

The 3-days international conference “Contemporary Challenges to Forensic Genetics in Society” centered around the following questions: What are the contemporary challenges of forensic genetics to society? What are possible responses to such challenges?

The conference gathered internationally invited speakers from 10 different countries, including practitioners from forensic genetics and police forces; legal scholars; social scientists; ethicists; and members of oversight bodies to participate in an interdisciplinary discussion.

The event was joined by international experts, students and practitioners from different areas – criminal investigation, law and justice, sociology, criminology and legal medicine – and provided a unique opportunity for all participants to reflect upon current and future challenges of forensic genetics in Europe and beyond. Presentations and discussions addressed a variety of challenges, ranging from those of technical and technological character, over challenges of operational, regulatory and legal nature to ethical, communication and interdisciplinary collaboration challenges.

Throughout presentations and subsequent discussions various proposals emerged on how to deal with communication and collaboration challenges within such a diverse community. Among them, we outline the following: limit expert authority to your field of expertise in order to differentiate ‘common sense’ and ‘opinions’ from a specific area of expertise; create humble and inclusive dialogue engaging with stakeholders’ diverse views to enable reflexivity beyond own limited view; include diverse stakeholders’ interests and needs to facilitate reflections about problematic and unintended consequences of forensic genetics; aim at candid, sincere and honest interdisciplinary dialogue; be aware of conflictive positions and acknowledge disagreement as enhancing understanding and empathy of different positions; respect the translation work across disciplines and backgrounds which requires patience and extra effort to understand each other; increase interdisciplinary collaborations, but remain aware of their limitations. Although demanding the multi-perspective engagement contributes to socially accountable negotiations of the role of forensic genetics in society and the balance between freedom and security which is at stake.

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2018/10/17

Bug bounties and CTFs: a new approach to combating cybercrime

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University of Minho, Braga|17 October 2018

Guest Speaker: André Baptista (University of Porto)

André Baptista focused in his presentation on the demand that institutions need to obtain more privacy and security. Taking this argument into account, he observed that institutions, either private or governmental, with the aim to resolve problems and vulnerabilities often resort to the “hacker”. With this regard, he claimed that in fact there is an enormous and significant social awareness on this issue, based on the fact that technological evolution makes us to become more vulnerable to a huge diversity of technological threats. The paramount question to expand on his debate was: how to do hacking ethically? The ethical question generates many discussions about the different impacts of the activity. Nonetheless, institutions are increasingly more interested in focusing on privacy and security issues. Yet, for many reasons – political, economic and diplomatic – institutions feel pushed to create a kind of digital world which is far beyond common sense understanding. The seminar concluded with a debate that raised a number of very interesting issues, namely: How can ethics for this type of practice be promoted? How thin is is the line that separates a hacker with “positive” goals from a hacker with “negative” goals? In addition, the debate reflected on how these practices currently influence the construction of surveillance mechanisms and systems.

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2018/10/12

The display of cinegetics knowledge-power: the violence of security practices in the management of threats

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André Baptista focused in his presentation on the demand that institutions need to obtain more privacy and security. Taking this argument into account, he observed that institutions, either private or governmental, with the aim to resolve problems and vulnerabilities often resort to the "hacker". With this regard, he claimed that in fact there is an enormous and significant social awareness on this issue, based on the fact that technological evolution makes us to become more vulnerable to a huge diversity of technological threats. The paramount question to expand on his debate was: how to do hacking ethically? The ethical question generates many discussions about the different impacts of the activity. Nonetheless, institutions are increasingly more interested in focusing on privacy and security issues. Yet, for many reasons - political, economic and diplomatic – institutions feel pushed to create a kind of digital world which is far beyond common sense understanding. The seminar concluded with a debate that raised a number of very interesting issues, namely: How can ethics for this type of practice be promoted? How thin is is the line that separates a hacker with “positive” goals from a hacker with “negative” goals? In addition, the debate reflected on how these practices currently influence the construction of surveillance mechanisms and systems.

Guest Speaker: Ignacio Mendiola (University of the Basque Country, Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea)

In this seminar, Ignacio Mendiola, addressed the idea of ​​state power relations and violence. The main goal of the presentation was to explore a certain form of power through which threats are fought and which will be analyzed from the metaphor of hunting. According to Ignacio, the device of power, hunting, from the point of view of security, implies the implosion of borders and these as a space of politics. It creates the need to watch over the “other”, the “enemy”. In this sense, we are increasingly becoming vigilant, as co-participants of the same surveillance system. Nevertheless, the current technologies are developed from the need to take care of the other and a key element is to detect the threats, the clues, even in the context of Big Data. The debate (re)raises some questions related to the social construction of “prey” and “victim” and the notion that in each context the definition of “prey” and “victim” varies. However, the action is the same – “hunting” the enemy – and this is accomplished by those who hold the power.

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2018/09/26

Workshop: How can science and technology studies help to reflect on the political crisis associated with refugees and asylum seekers?

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Center for Social Studies (CES), University of Coimbra|Coimbra, 26-28 September 2018

In this workshop focus was on the ongoing political crisis associated with refugees/ asylum seekers/ forced migrants as an object of study. The guiding question was how Science and Technology Studies (STS) approaches may contribute to understanding the sociotechnical and epistemic aspects of forced migration and displacement, (re)integration, resettlement and related debates and practices. Based on the practice-oriented empirical commitments and conceptual repertoires of the field, various developments and configurations have lent themselves to fascinating STS studies. Paper presentations made use of the theories and problematisations of STS and addressed the following issues: border and state surveillance technologies: management of refugees’ mobility; objects, infrastructures and spaces: how classifications and standards envisage smooth protocols while producing human suffering; digital technologies among asylum-seekers and transportation networks: moral and political capacitation; sociotechnical controversies around systems and formulae being devised for asylum-seeker allocation throughout Europe; local formats of doing politics at the margins of democracy (e.g. refugee-organised actions in informal camps or detention centres), issues of exclusion and orders of visibility: critically explore the positioning of refugees not recognized as humans of their own right in sociotechnical assemblages.

Special highlights of the workshop were two key note speeches. Martina Tazzioli, Swansea University, UK, addressed in her key note speech “Can data speak? Financial-humanitarianism and the antinomies between autonomy and freedom”. Christina Boswell, University of Edinburg, UK, gave a key note speech on “The Invention of Illegal Immigration: Constructing Immigration Control as a Social Problem in the UK”. Coupled with the workshop, a science café under the title: “Science and Technology: Empowering refugees and migrants in Portugal?” took place. Mounir Affaki (Syrian Student, Plataforma Global para Estudantes Sírios), Cyntia de Paula (Casa do Brasil de Lisboa) and Susana Gouveia (Cruz Vermelha Portuguesa) discussed together with other participants the particular situations in Portugal.

EXCHANGE team member Nina Amelung presented a paper on “De-politicization and re-politicization of policy instruments in asylum policies of the EU: EURODAC and the epistemic construction of political order” in which she addressed the policy instrument of EURODAC as an example to reconstruct how different expert groups and expertise contribute to the development and establishment of the instrument over time. The analysis emphasized the unintended side effects of European asylum policies which come with expertise and technocracy based policy instruments when they establish particular imaginations, ways of knowing and also technocratic practices which “neutralize” and de-politicize policy areas and make it more difficult to contest policy instruments. She concluded with three propositions of how to study re-politicization dynamics of such instruments.

 

The workshop was organized by Nina Amelung (EXCHANGE project, CECS, University of Minho) and Gaia Giuliani ((DE)OTHERING), Cristiano Gianolla, Joana Sousa Ribeiro and Olga Solovova (Inter Thematic group on Migration (ITM, CES-UC). The workshop was supported by the EXCHANGE project, the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST), the Center for Social Studies (CES), Coimbra, the De-Othering project funded through FCT and the Teatro Académico Gil Vicente.

 

2018/08/29

Collating publics in collections of human biological material and data

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Thematic panel within 4S 2018,Transnational STS|Sydney International Convention Centre, Australia, 29 August - 1 September 2018

Nina Amelung co-convened the panel “Collating publics in collections of human biological material and data” together with Erik Aarden, University of Vienna, and Torsten Heinemann, RWTH Aachen, at 4S Sydney. In two sessions 7 papers addressed the relation of data, biological material and publics in the contexts of health research and practice, forensic genetics, migration control as well as neurosciences. In this panel Nina presented the paper “Infrastructuring data-publics: Implications of design and governance of transnational biometric database systems” which highlights the impact of biometric sciences and technologies on the one hand and of design and governance aspects of IT database infrastructures on implicated data-publics.

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2018/07/28

Publics shaped and enacted by surveillance and border biotechnologies: Encountering ´phantom publics`, ´non-publics` and `counter publics´

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Thematic panel within EASST 2018, Meetings - Making science, technology and society together|Lancaster University, UK, 25-28 July 2018

In Europe, policy decisions dictated by executive powers after 9/11 have enabled new national and transnational surveillance, border and post-crisis management technologies to take shape in the name of controlled migration and preventing and reacting to crime and terror. What publics are shaped and enacted by these technologies and how can we study them by mobilizing the conceptual and methodological repertoire of STS?

The modus operandi of pre-emptive security measures builds on decisions calling upon what Gunnarsdóttir and Rommetveit termed “phantom publics” instead of testing such decisions’ grounding. How can publics nevertheless engage to hold the management of technologies accountable?

An alternative take addresses categories deriving from the social sorting of technologies. Differentiating between trusted and distrusted travelers, low-risk and high-risk groups, documented and undocumented migrants have been regarded as dynamic and contested concepts. Dijstelbloem and Broeders have introduced the notion of “non-publics” to point to heterogeneous publics with ambiguous access to exercise their rights. How can shifted attention from pre-given classifications to ontological modifications of categories provide a perspective on the empowering and disempowering effects on publics?

A third perspective focusses on “counter publics”. Enacting for instance “subversive mobilities” or “temporary autonomous zones” by destabilizing or subverting routines and scripts of technologies allows actors to claim rights and space that have either not yet been formally granted or cannot be exercised. How can actions with the potential to circumvent borders and surveillance create invigorated possibilities for renegotiating their performative power?

Organization: Nina Amelung (University of Minho), Vasilis Galis (IT University of Copenhagen )

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2018/07/27

Genetic technologies: Intersecting criminal investigation, disaster victim identification and commercial uses

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Thematic panel within EASST 2018, Meetings - Making science, technology and society together|Lancaster University, UK, 25-28 July 2018.

Genetic technologies are playing a pivotal role about identity, how someone may look or where someone originate from. Such applications have been deployed in inter alia practices of disaster victim identification, criminal investigation and in commercial genealogy testing. Despite the similarity of deployed genetic technologies in these three domains, so far, their implications have been framed differently.

The current academic debate on the use of genetic technologies in the field of criminal identification tends to emphasize the risks of disproportionate citizens’ surveillance, and threats to privacy and presumption of innocence. The uses of genetic technologies in disaster victim identification tends to be associated with a humanitarian rationale and a form of respecting and honouring victims and their families’ rights to ‘know the truth’. Lastly, commercial genealogy testing has been framed within a ‘economy of hope’ that allegedly allows to ‘find your roots’.

In this panel we welcome contributions that draw on diverse case studies to critically engage with the mutable social, political and commercial meanings attributed to genetic technologies in these three domains of practice. Our aims are twofold: first, to scrutinize the development, stabilization and politicization of genetic technologies in particular case scenarios; secondly, to critically discuss the values and infrastructures they carry.

How is expertise constructed and assembled in daily practices?
What are the moral economies and commercial interests played out?
How and what can we learn by juxtaposing the practices?
What is made (in)visible?
How is power embedded in those practices?

Organization: Rafaela Granja (University of Minho), Victor Toom (Goethe University)

Link here

2018/07/14

Debate: EXCHANGE meets Joana Gorjão Henriques

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Restaurante do Molhe, Av. do Brasil, Praia do Molhe | Porto, 14 july 2018

Guest Speaker: Joana Gorjão Henriques (Público)

Joana Gorjão Henriques is a journalist and writer. Her last book talks about how the Portuguese treat the Other, highlighting their contradictions, as the title, “Racism in the Country of White Customs”, reveals. Are we as human, tolerant, and special as we seemingly tend to believe? And do new technologies of control and surveillance, like DNA, put at the service of a supposed transnational common good, contribute to a (re)consolidation of old stigmas; or on the contrary for their erosion? This debate opened the door to a better understanding of how racism and xenophobia settle in, manifest themselves and persist. It further discussed sharp links between these phenomena and the automated sharing of DNA data, fingerprints and vehicle registration data between EU Member States, instituted under the motto of combating crime, terrorism and illegal immigration.

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2018/07/09

EXCHANGE Summer internships

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University of Minho,Braga|9-11 July 2018

In the first edition of the Exchange Summer Internships, students interested in the subjects of crime, surveillance, genetic technologies and human rights were invited for a close interaction with the Exchange team at the project offices.

Students had the opportunity not only to explore highly topical issues related to crime control and human rights with the Exchange team, but also to deepen their knowledge about scientific research in Sociology and get to know an European research project from the inside.

 

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2018/06/25

EXCHANGE Summer School “Surveillance technologies, criminality, and human Rights”

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University of Minho,Braga|25-28 June 2018

The EXCHANGE Team organized, under the scientific coordination of Helena Machado, a summer school dedicated to the topics of Surveillance Technologies, Criminality, and Human Rights.

The programme included lectures by invited speakers in topics such as rationales of counterterrorism, visual surveillance in border control, governance of DNA technologies, construction of suspicion through transnational exchange of DNA data and modernization through technology. All participants also presented their on-going work which was subjected to a group discussion. Topics ranged from interoperability of EU databases, expansion of DNA databases, notions of privacy and data protection in the surveillance society and transnational crimes towards border control, facial composite drawing, forensic DNA phenotyping, migrant rights, and new media in the context of prisons. The programme also included a world café around the topics of the summer school, a creative writing course and several social activities. This summer school provided the opportunity to engage experts and early carrer researchers from different areas – sociology, law and anthropology – and at different stages of professional careers in fruitful debates.

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2018/06/06

Cancers, stories, and objects of resistant women: the oncological disease between society, art(s) and science(s)

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Institute of Social Sciences|Braga, 6 June 2018

Guest Speaker: Susana de Noronha (Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra)

In this session Susana de Noronha presented a research series about women, cancer narratives, art and material culture, conducted between 2005 and 2017. A first part born out of a work with twenty-four international art projects on feminine experiences of breast cancer. This research explored art projects and material objects as constitutive parts of cancer experience itself, embedded in the way cancer is lived and understood. A second part redefined material culture as a portion of cancer, looking at the medical, personal and domestic objects that take form and gain relevance in one hundred and fifty artistic projects made by or together with women. In a third project, the researcher studied the cancer stories of eight Portuguese women from her relational circle, reinventing social science, scientific illustration and ethnographic design. From these investigations, Susana outlines what she frames as “another ontology”, a “third half” where spaces, objects, people, experiences and knowledge form an undivided sum.

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2018/05/29

Seminar: Media content analysis

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Institute of Education|Braga, 29 May 2018

Guest Speaker: Carla Cerqueira (Communication and Society Research Centre, University of Minho)

In this session Carla Cerqueira gave a presentation entitled “Media content analysis: a path with several rails” and explored the methodological challenges of using content analysis as a technique for analysing data collected from the press (texts and images). She discussed possible strategies for choosing the materials of analysis, as well as the application of content analysis to the data collected. The debate further addressed the potential benefits of using qualitative analysis software and a reflection on the differences and similarities between content and discourse analysis.

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2018/04/11

Workshop: Surveillance Society, Privacy, and Human Rights

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University of Minho|Braga, 11-16 April 2018

Session 1 – Introduction to surveillance studies

The opening session of the workshop was conducted by Helena Machado and aimed to instigate critical debate on the following sets of questions:

What sorts of surveillance can we talk about? What are its cultural, political and socioeconomic implications?

Which human rights are potentially constrained by surveillance? How can societies conciliate protection of data and public security?

 

Session 2 – Privacy and data protection

Sara Matos and Sheila Khan guided the discussion about privacy and data protection. During the workshop specific issues were discussed such as: a) What does privacy mean? b) What challenges do the new data protection regulation in the European Union pose? c) What are the risks created by Big Data?  It was also critically debated the ethical limits of the use of Big Data, and the notions of digital freedom and digital humanism.

 

Session 3 – The challenges to sociological research

Emilia Araújo presented the most important challenges that sociological research is now facing, considering the new regulations on data protection, as well as in science production processes. Based on several case analyses, the session revised some of the seminal and well stablished methodological and ethical procedures in social sciences, giving account of its importance in present day research contexts. The session also highlighted the need to rethink part of these procedures, making clearer what are the more adequate practices related to data protection for designing and developing academic research projects.

 

Session 4 – Surveillance society: present and future

Rafaela Granja and Marta Martins organized a debate around two questions: How do new technologies reshape “old” surveillance procedures? Which configurations of stigmatization might derive from new technologies? The debate focused on a critical approach to the implications of judicial and police transnational cooperation and on new forms of generating criminal suspects on the basis of DNA evidence. The workshop ended with the viewing of a film, followed by a discussion focused on the implications of the expansion of surveillance in everyday life.

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2017/11/07

Academic Citizenship and the Worthy Place of the Other in Research

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Institute for Social Studies,University of Minho|7 November 2017

Guest Speaker: Sheila Khan (Post-doc researcher at CICS.NOVA.Uminho)

In this seminar, Sheila Khan presented the idea of “academic citizenship” which emphasizes the need of researchers being reflexive about their own familial, social and emotional situatedness and historical context. Khan strengthened her proposal by exploring the concepts of memory and post-memory. She argued for being reflexive on one’s own historical roots shaping individual and collective memories and narratives. Furthermore, she emphasized that in times of increasing nationalism and populism, researcher’s responsibilities are even greater to keep an open and unprejudiced view on “the other”.  These days racism appears in more confusing and fragmented ways. For that reason solidarity and humanity, together with critical thought, needs to be core of academic citizenship. The debate addressed issues related to tensions between getting research funding and making free choices on research topics, the distinction between the choice of topics and the attitude applied on it; and researcher’s achievements when mediating between the roles of investigators and citizens.

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2017/07/05

CES Summer School: Crime and control,Criminal investigation, youth education centres and prisons

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Centre for Social Studies, Coimbra, Portugal|5 – 9 July 2017

Rafaela Granja, Filipe Santos and Susana Costa organised, under the scientific coordination of Helena Machado, a CES summer school dedicated to understanding some of the dynamics of the criminal justice system. The programme combined theoretical reflections with an emphasis on practical engagements of the participants. The organisers were joined by Vera Duarte, Sílvia Gomes and Paula Sobral, who also contributed with a diversity of theoretical perspectives and empirical insights. The programme included diverse lectures on topics like criminal investigation and crime scene work with DNA technologies in court in Portugal, the transnational cooperation in fighting crime in Europe, and experiences in the execution of juvenile tutelary measures and prison sentences. The practical sessions of the programme contained a workshop on the construction of criminal narratives based on crime scene reports and a mock trial drawn from a fictional criminal case. In addition to these activities the summer school included a visit to the Coimbra Penitentiary Establishment and a guided visit to the photography exhibit “Radical exclusions. A feminine prison world” organized by  Claudia Carvalho.

This three-day summer school provided the opportunity to engage experts, students and practitioners from different areas – sociology, criminology, law, biology, and medicine – in a fruitful debate about how different mechanisms of social control challenge configurations of citizenship.

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2017/03/21

Fragility of Portuguese law in the international transfer of DNA data: Implications of the Prüm Treaty and Prüm Decisions

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Centre for Social Studies|Coimbra, 21 March 2017

Guest Speaker: Henrique Curado (Polytechnic Institute of Porto - School of Health Sciences | Department of Management and Administration in Health, Portugal)

The seminar with Henrique Curado offered an occasion to reflect on the weaknesses of the Portuguese and Spanish law with regard to the international exchange of DNA data, namely through the Prüm Decisions (2008). Henrique Curado outlined some differences between Portuguese and Spanish legislations. For example, while the latter provides a typology with the offenses based on which biological samples should be collected, the former gives no such specification. Curado mentioned that in both countries the purpose of the DNA databases is identification which means connecting a suspect to a crime scene. However, it is necessary to prove that this particular person was the one who committed the crime. Nevertheless, he argues that for some types of crimes it is easy to find the culprit through other type of proofs and mechanisms, for example fingerprints. Additionally, he stated that the insertion of easily identifiable persons in the database does not make sense. According to his opinion, the collection of DNA should be restricted to specific situations: cases of serious crimes (prison sentences over 5 years), cases of recidivism and in cases when a criminological profile is evident. Regarding the issue of protection of personal data, whether at national or international level, the question that arose was: Can citizens themselves feel protected? Curado argued that what Prüm Decisions (2008) determine in terms of data protection is not sufficient. Citizens do not know how, where and when the information circulates between different Member States. Full transparency is undermined in this exchange, noting that there are real possibilities of suppression of rights, freedoms and guarantees of citizens. In order to prevent the misuse of personal data from citizens Member States should guarantee that a third country involved in data exchange can ensure minimal standards of privacy. The debate raised issues related to the so-called CSI effect. There was consensus that it should be fundamental for the justice system to understand the relevance of a DNA proof equal with other evidence. Unfortunately, such differentiated understandings and conceptions of DNA evidence are not taught in law schools.

2018/03/06

Workshop: "Meeth2Science"

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Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto, Porto| 6 March 2018 and 11 July 2017

Co-organization with ENGAGED team (Bionetworking and citizenship on gamete donation), “Short interdisciplinary meetings to discuss methodological and ethical issues in research”

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2017/02/20

EXCHANGE Think Tank Day: ethical implications of NGS in the criminal justice system

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Bristol Hotel, Frankfurt am Main|Germany, 20 February 2017

The one-day event was hosted by the EXCHANGE project in collaboration with Barbara Prainsack in her role as a member of the UK National DNA Database (NDNAD) Ethics Group (EG). The Think Tank Day (TTD) event addressed Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), also known as Massive Parallel Sequencing (MPS), and the complexities surrounding the application of NGS technologies and the ethical issues which may arise with their implementation. As a Think Tank Day, the event aimed to explore these issues from the perspective of the social and forensic sciences. The day program was organized along the presentation of real-life or hypothetical cases of NGS in forensics that contained unresolved ethical questions or posed interesting challenges. In particular, guest speakers and participants were invited to contribute with reflections on the risks and benefits of using different NGS-based technologies in specific contexts, and the risks and benefits of not using them; the balance between individual and collective rights and interests; transparency and public trust; public understanding and debate; and future monitoring.

 

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2016/10/27

Webinar: Transnational criminal suspects in the European Union. Challenges to citizenship

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27 October 2016

Helena Machado was invited by the Young Researchers Working Group of the Portuguese Association of Science Communication  (SOPCOM) to talk about work in the EXCHANGE project. Some of the questions posed by the participants were: Who are the suspect populations targeted by the EU security agenda? Which methods can social sciences use to address this particular topic? What is more fascinating and challenging in your work? What are the implication on citizenship emerging from maximum surveillance societies?

2016/10/11

Criminal brains: Forensic uses of neuroscience and its social implications

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Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra|11 October 2016

Guest Speaker: Torsten Heinemann (University of Hamburg|University of California, Berkeley)

In recent years, neuroscientists have made fundamental progress in the study of human behavior and mental processes. This progress has not been limited to basic research, and neuroscientific knowledge is increasingly applied in everyday life. This research is expected to help identify individuals at risk of committing violent crimes even before they actually do so. It therefore promises to revolutionize crime prevention, prosecution and intervention programmed in the near future.

Torsten Heinemann talk provided an overview on forensic neuroscience with a focus on the neurobiology of criminal behavior. He argued that neuroscientific research reaffirms and reproduce categories of social inequality such as race, class, and gender that is aims to overcome.

2016/08/31

Technologies of criminalisation: On the convergence of forensic and surveillance technologies

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Thematic panel within 4S/EASST 2016, Science and technology by other means|Barcelona, Spain, 31 August - 3 September 2016

Guest Speaker: Amade M’charek and Helena Machado (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands;University of Minho, Portugal)

This panel explores the convergence between forensics and surveillance. Papers will focus on the traffic of technologies of crime-solving (forensics) and technologies for managing the population (surveillance), allowing for a conversation between STS and Surveillance studies.

Technologies such as fingerprinting and DNA profiling are increasingly part of border management regimes, and can simultaneously be mobilized to investigate crime. Surveillance practices based on large data collection and data mining have become part and parcel of crime solving. We invite contributions that draw on material and empirical cases to help unpack the normativities and technologies and tactics across the fields of surveillance and forensics.

What happens when the logic of population management converges with that of crime solving? How does this affect the categories of people that these technologies are aimed at? Can we, given the pervasiveness of ‘crime’ as a matter of concern in science and society, speak of a criminalization of everyday life? These are urgent questions in the contemporary situation in Europe, with its contested border management regimes and its dealings with refugees and immigrants. But they are equally important in more mundane practices of oversight, where large datasets about populations can become part of crime solving or processes of incriminating certain categories of people.

Rather than assuming that technologies do the same kind of job everywhere we take inspiration from STS to open up the black boxes of forensic and surveillance technologies to examine the kind of interferences that come about once these technologies are put to use.

2016/07/08

The database of genetic profiles for criminal prosecution in Brazil

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Centre for Social Studies,University of Coimbra|8 July 2016

Guest Speaker: Rodrigo Grazinoli Garrido (Institute for Research and Expertise in Forensic Genetics, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

 

The focus of this seminar was the process of implementation, and an overview of three years of operation, of the Brazilian Integrated Network of DNA Profiles Databases. While emphasising the crucial involvement of the FBI in the implementation of CODIS and the support and training of the Brazilian forensic geneticists, Dr. Garrido also discussed the legislative issues surrounding the creation of the legal basis for operation of DNA profiling in Brazil. In this context, the lack of rigid criteria and guidelines provided by Law 12.654/2012 has been supplemented by resolutions by the Management Board of the Database Network. Echoing the implementation of the Prüm system in the European Union, Brazil’s criminal rates and socio-economic inequalities have impacted so far on the lack of convergence and harmonisation among its Federal States. Furthermore, it was also discussed how there are still a number of legal and bioethical concerns surrounding the collection, storage and use of genetic data, which adds to some degree of public misinformation in Brazil about the potential uses of forensic DNA data.

2016/06/22

Clash of the genomes: Populations as brands in personalised medicine research

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Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra|22 June 2016

Guest Speaker: Aaro M. Tupasela (University of Copenhagen)

 

Sociologically, studies of the biomedical collection and use of human tissue sample collections have developed into its own distinct rubric under both the sociology of science and technology studies (STS) and medical sociology. In these research traditions, Aaro’s presentation focused on 1) how various actors (researchers and policy-makers) are seeking to lay claim over genetic resources through the generation of different forms of authenticity and origin; 2) how populations are increasingly becoming forms of brands in which particular characteristics are associated with them for the purposes of classifying and differentiating them from others; 3) how different countries exercise policies of inclusion (and exclusion) in an attempt to define group identity.

The discussion focused on similarities and differences between biobanks and forensic DNA databases. It reflected on 1) the different notions of the state as guardians of genomic information (Rabinow) and the challenges of transnational data exchange in this context; 2) how national identity is configured and plays out in national DNA databases and biobanks; and 3) how the purpose of managing populations drives searching the genome for diseases or the “grouping” of genetic clusters associated with propensity to violence.

2016/05/03

EXCHANGE 2016 annual conference: Current and future challenges of forensic genetics in society

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Centre for Social Studies, Coimbra|3 May 2016

The first annual conference of the EXCHANGE project gathered internationally renowned speakers from the forensic and the social sciences to participate in an interdisciplinary dialogue on the uses of DNA technologies for forensic purposes.The one-day event was joined by experts, students and practitioners from different areas – criminal investigation, law and justice, sociology, legal medicine – and provided a unique opportunity for all attendants to approach the many ethical, legal, technical and societal implications nourishing the current debate, with an emphasis on empirical cases.Presentations covered such diverse topics related with forensic science as: race, operational and policy issues, ethical and regulatory aspects of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and interpretation of DNA evidence. Other presentations dealt with the methodological and practical aspects of forensic technologies, laboratory work and database management, with a specific focus on the Dutch and Portuguese DNA databases.

2016/05/02

EXCHANGE Scientific Advisory Council meeting

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Centre for Social Studies, Coimbra|2 May 2016

The first meeting of the EXCHANGE Scientific Advisory Committee aimed at providing a comprehensive overview of the project’s topics, challenges and research perspectives, and to engage in a constructive debate on the possible research development and difficulties arising from the fieldwork. The variety of expertise and approaches represented in the Committee allowed a thorough exploration of the project’s potentialities and aims.

2016/02/15

Writing up fieldwork: Writing creatively in an academic context

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Centre for Social Studies Coimbra, 15-19 February 2016

Guest Speaker: Amal Chatterjee

The EXCHANGE project aims to engage with innovative modes of communicating research findings. In order to promote this, the EXCHANGE team organised a one-week course, held by Amal Chatterjee, writer, editor and lecturer of fiction at the University of Oxford. The course encouraged researchers to explore creative writing tools vis-à-vis traditional forms of academic writing. Participants were confronted with alternative possibilities to write to academic audiences through unconventional approaches that allow to ‘follow’ forensic DNA in its travelling.

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2016/01/28

Semiotics

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Centre for Social Studies|Coimbra, 28 January 2016

Guest Speaker: Moisés Martins (Centre for the Study of Communication and Society, University of Minho)

EXCHANGE investigates the meanings attributed to DNA technologies and the processes through which such meanings are created and consolidated in the forensic genetics field. To further develop knowledge and skills on semiotics, a seminar was organised with invited speaker Moisés Martins, professor of Sociology of Communication and Culture and of Social Semiotics. The seminar introduced the participants to the principles of semantic systems, semiotics, technologic production and sensorial memory. A practical exercise that exemplifies the processes of construction of meaning through signs was developed.

2016/01/14

Workshop: Creative writing for academics

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Centre for Social Studies|Coimbra, 14 January 2016

Guest Speaker: Alison Neilson (Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra)

One of the challenges related with academic research lies in the capacity to report research results in a way which is capable of communicating them across different disciplines and publics, and to provoke innovative thinking about existing assumptions. EXCHANGE wishes to explore writing processes that allow to respond to these challenges. This seminar by CES researcher Alison Neilson was organised to stimulate alternative forms of academic writing, with a focus on artistic and creative inspiration. The dangers, the conditions, the processes, and the reasons and places for this kind of writing were assessed during the workshop. The team was also invited to participate in a meditative creative exercise that fostered the exploration of emotions in academic research and the articulation of personal and professional trajectories.

2015/12/09

Sharing experiences of ethnographic fieldwork

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Centre for Social Studies, Coimbra|9 December 2015

Guest Speaker: Susana Silva (Public Health Institute, University of Porto)

A central position in EXCHANGE’s methodological toolkit is occupied by ethnographic observation, which implies a series of practical and ethical challenges. In order to promote discussion of these issues, invited speaker Susana Silva shared her experience of team work in the context of ethnographic field observation at the Department of Health and Society – Social Epidemiology of the University of Porto. Among the topics discussed in the seminar were issues of team organization and working methods, qualitative methods in public health research, challenges of participant observation, issues of protocol and approaches to sensitive research topics.

2015/11/02

Basic DNA course

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Centre for Social Studies, Coimbra|2-5 November 2015

Guest Speaker: Kees van der Beek (Netherlands Forensic Institute)

EXCHANGE aims at bridging between different disciplines by creating opportunities for discussion and mutual learning. As a starting point of this fruitful dialogue, Dr. Kees van der Beek, custodian of the Dutch DNA database and member of the EXCHANGE Scientific Advisory Committee, was invited to hold a course on “Basic DNA”. The course was jointly attended by the EXCHANGE researchers and six forensic scientists from the Portuguese Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (INMLCF). Among the covered topics related to DNA data management in forensic science, such issues as databasing, familial searching, determination of externally visible traits, dealing with false-positive matches, and frontier DNA technologies were addressed. Following the course, participants were given a guided visit to the laboratories of the Department of Forensic Genetics and Biology and to the facilities of the Portuguese DNA database.

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Papers in conferences

2021/06/18

Forensic genetic technologies in post-socialist societies: Collective memories and recreations of the past

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VII STS ITALIA CONFERENCE | Dis/Entangling Technoscience. Vulnerability, Responsibility and Justice | June 17-19 2021 | University of Trieste

This paper is dedicated to forensic genetics technologies and genetic surveillance in European post-communist countries, a theme that has remained largely unexplored by social scientists. On the basis of interviews with forensic scientists in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and Romania,  Helena explored memories of collective past, namely the legacy of totalitarian communist regimes. She argued that visions and expectations for the role of genetic surveillance in the governance of crime are shaped by and concomitant with, unstable European values, which in turn are not separable from either European politics or convoluted transitions from authoritarian regimes to democracy.

2021/03/31

Big Data applied to criminal investigations: Expectations of professionals of police cooperation in the European Union

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XI Portuguese Congress of Sociology | ISCTE & Institute for Social Sciences, University of Lisbon | 29-31 March 2021

In this presentation, Laura Neiva presented a paper co-authored with Rafaela Granja and Helena Machado focused on the expectations of professionals of police cooperation in the European Union about Big Data applied to criminal investigations. Based upon a set of interviews with these professionals, this presentation revealed a flexible repertoire of interpretation concerning the potential value of Big Data in criminal investigations and its associated potential risks and benefits. The perceived benefits relate to Big Data’s potential to advance investigation of cold cases and to strengthen interoperability of multiple datasets in ways that produce forensic intelligence. On the other hand, perceived risks concerned the difficulties associated with dealing with large sets of data, the potential for enforcing discrimination, and threatening privacy and human rights.

 

The session ended with questions on the potential of Big Data in criminal investigation and its capabilities of generating evidence; and the neutralization of Big Data’s ethical and social issues.

2021/02/25

DNA evidence in court: challenges to science communication

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University of Cambridge’s | Institute of Continuing Education | United Kingdom | 25 February 2021

Helena Machado have an invited talk to students of the postgraduate degree in science communication at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education, about the hurdles and complexities of communicating DNA evidence in court. Using an STS approach, it was debated the role of scientists in framing expectations about the capacities and limitations of DNA evidence in supporting criminal investigation. Besides “traditional” DNA evidence, it was discussed the additional challenges merging from new genetic technologies such as “Rapid DNA”, “DNA photofit” and uses of recreational DNA databases to track criminal suspects.

2021/02/19

Big Data in criminal investigations: sociological reflections and orientations for the future

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II Doctoral Journeys in Sociology | University of Minho, Braga, Portugal | 18-19 February 2021

Laura Neiva and Helena Machado participated in the II Doctoral Journeys in Sociology.

 

Laura Neiva presented the paper “Big Data in criminal investigations: sociological reflections and orientations for the future”, co-authored with Helena Machado. She explored, through the lens of the concept of “sociotechnical imaginaries” the EU regulation impacting use of Big Data, namely the General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679) and the Directive EU (2016/680). In particular, Laura explored the following questions: i) What are the political, social, and ethical commitments revealed in EU legislation?; ii) How notions of public good and citizenship emerge?; and iii) How potentially contradictory principles between security and civic liberties are combined in legislation? Laura reflected on the governance processes  reflected on formally determined procedures in policies and procedures that control how data are managed and accessed, by whom, how and for what.  She concluded with suggestions for the future regulation of Big Data in criminal investigation context. Namely, the need for designing responsible governance strategies that result from deliberations with different stakeholders and guided by principles of transparency and citizen engagement.

2020/12/10

Big Data as a new police surveillance technology – new capabilities and new challenges

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X Journeys in Criminology | Fernando Pessoa University, Porto, Portugal | 9-10 December 2020

 

Laura Neiva’s presentation focused on the social, ethical, and legal challenges associated with uses of Big Data in police surveillance. She discussed Big Data as a new surveillance technology in contemporary control societies, expected to improve police capabilities such as  accessing to different types of data from other sources,  and the possibility of combining different data sets to produce correlations that guide police actions.

Laura emphasized three main concerns related to Big Data: implications on social inequalities and the criminalization of certain population groups; the absence of legal and regulatory guidance for Big Data’s application in criminal investigations; and the challenges posed to privacy and data protection.

Afterward, the debate addressed: the predictive capabilities of these technologies and their social consequences; and the potential organizational changes in police departments in order to integrate Big Data into daily workflow.

2020/12/02

Genetic surveillance: The use of family genetic data in criminal investigations

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Permanent Seminar for the Research and Community | Communication and Society Research Centre (CECS) | Institute for Social Sciences, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal | 2 December 2020

Rafaela Granja participated in the Permanent Seminar for the Research and Community.

 

In the last decades, the collection, analysis, processing, and use of genetic data has grown massively, leading to the establishment of large DNA databases in both the forensic and health domains. More recently, there has also been a significant increase of recreational DNA databases with commercial purposes. Such databases are used by citizens to voluntarily upload genetic data to know more about their health, ancestry and/or search for relatives. The latter are being used for criminal investigation purposes, thereby blurring the boundaries between previously distinct kinds of genetic collection and genetic practice. Such is made possible by a technology named familial searches that detects genetic relatedness in order to identify criminal suspects.

 

Rafaela Granja explored how long-range familial searches conducted in recreational DNA databases reframe the trajectory of forensic genetics. Arguing that the advent and consolidation of long-range familial searches in recreational DNA databases represent the fourth wave of forensic genetics, the author detail its implications, namely, the expansion of affected populations, the participatory turn, and the co-production of biovalue.

2020/12/02

Big Data in Forensic Genetics: Promise and Disappointment

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Master in Forensic Genetics | Faculty of Sciences of University of Porto, Portugal | 2 December 2020

Helena talked about how the forensic geneticists manage the tension between highly optimistic and hyped visions of the future of Big Data in their  field of expertise, combining fears and concerns related to the exigencies of criminal case work tainted by uncertainty. Most of the literature about “hypo-disappointment” dynamics assumes that the expected cycle of expectations if the following: widespread diffusion of new technologies is often preceded by hypes, that is periods of a strong rise and subsequent fall in collective expectations, which are usually followed by disappointment. However, it is needed a more nuanced approach to the concept of hypo-disappointment. There are heterogenous, flexible forms of both hypo and disappointment views, where modest and uncertain futures together with “low expectations” and “pessimism” play a role. The expectations-constructing work function as “recalibration” for two main interrelated aims where technical, organizational and social aspects of innovation are tightly intertwined: By one side, for protecting the space of the work of forensic geneticists. By the other side,  for enabling the forensic geneticists’ engagement in modes of “anticipatory governance”.

2020/10/09

Social and political vulnerabilities in surveillance societies

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Opening Session Academic Year 2020/2021 | Sociology PhD Programme | Institute for Social Sciences, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal | 9 October 2020

Helena Machado addressed the concept of “genetic surveillance” in contemporary societies, and talked on how the trends of expansion of accumulation of genetic data of citizens is increasing social and political inequalities. In western liberal democracies, most prominently in North America and Europe, innovations and developments in forensic genetics have been regularly accompanied by public controversies instigated by civic organisations and occasionally triggered out by the media.   At the heart of the public debate highlighted by civic organisations and citizens stand concerns relating to excessive state control over citizens’ sensitive data, risks to genetic privacy, as well threats to other civic rights such as presumption of innocence, autonomy and liberty. Other problematic questions relate to lack or fragile oversight of control of  the activities of the State handling genetic and other sensitive data from citizens,  as well as concerns of which agencies have access to such data and for what purposes. Social sciences perspectives are particularly needed to monitor pushes towards increasing of stigmatization and criminalization of specific ethnic-racial populations and vulnerable groups. Sociology can play a major role in critical reflection on how forensic genetics innovations are constructed to serve particular politics of belonging or of exclusion, by imagining specific publics as benefitting from the technologies in the name of law and security, and other publics as potentially being harmed by targeted re-inscription of suspicion.

2020/05/26

Forensic Genetics in post-socialist societies

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Master in Forensic Genetics | Faculty of Sciences of University of Porto, Portugal | 26 May 2020

This keynote lecture by Helena Machado to master students of the Master in Forensic Genetics (University of Porto) explored  the views of forensic geneticists working  in laboratories based in CEE countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and Romania). Some of the questions guiding this presentation were the following: What are the expectations of forensic geneticists towards genetic surveillance in CEE countries? In which ways the past experience of repressive and violent surveillance (not necessarily with sophisticated technologies) generate implications for understanding the present and the future of forensic genetic technologies in these particular social contexts?

 

Considering how these countries experienced endemic authoritarian surveillance practices for decades, the point of departure for analysis is the assumption that the widespread abuse of surveillance information, the distrust of public institutions, and a culture of corruption present in most CEE countries might play a crucial role in understanding  the expectations placed upon the implementation of forensic genetic technologies in the activities of the criminal justice systems. The Exchange project is, however, actively engaged  within critical reflexivity for avoiding to avoid falling into the temptation to study the presence of forensic genetics technologies in the criminal justice system in Eastern European countries as from the (imperfect) realization of universal theories and laws of development generated from ‘modern societies’ of the global North.

2020/01/30

The Prüm Decisions: a comparative perspective on the situations of Portugal and the United Kingdom // Transnational criminal cases: media, forensic experts and performativity of suspicion

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I Doctoral Journeys in Sociology | University of Minho, Braga, Portugal | 30-31 January 2020

Sara Matos and Marta Martins participated in the first Doctoral Journeys in Sociology.

 

Sara Matos presented the paper “The Prüm Decisions: a comparative perspective between Portugal and the United Kingdom”. She explored two national contexts, namely, Portugal and the United Kingdom, regarding their implementation of the Prüm system. In particular, she analyzed the tensions between the need to use technological tools to combat transnational crime and the challenges of using such tools presents for these two countries. She concluded that there are different ways of appropriating to the Prüm system, and the modes of implementations of this system taken at the national level are justified in the political discourse, in the technical-legal adjustments and the dominant ethical narratives in each national context.

 

Marta Martins’s presentation, entitled “Transnational criminal cases: media, forensic experts and performativity of suspicion” addressed how the media reports high-profile criminal cases involving the use of DNA technologies. In sum, she emphasized that it is essential to highlight how the media assumes an important and influential role in the materialization and public understanding of the role of forensic science in criminal investigation. Media does so by producing a social imaginary that translates into the (re)configuration of a so-called ‘CSI effect’ at the transnational level. Furthermore, the presentation explored processes of investigation in the PhD process and challenges in the methodological approach related to media narratives. She concluded by providing selected proposals facilitating the processes of collecting data, analysing and writing.

2019/12/05

Ethics, security and human rights in the big data era - social expectations in criminal investigation in the European Union

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Conference artificial intelligence and big data - everyday life, human rights, democracy | University of Lisbon, Portugal | 5-6 December 2019

Laura Neiva presented in this communication the social expectations of actors involved in the implementation and operation of the network for the exchange of forensic DNA data, forensic geneticists and stakeholders from different fields (ethics and regulation, criminal investigation, university research, private companies and non-governmental organizations) about ethics, security and human rights in the big data era. Big data presents complex ethical and legal challenges, in particular concerning safeguarding the protection of personal data and the guarantees of fundamental freedoms and human rights. She reflected on the results of a qualitative research based on the analysis of interviews conducted with professionals mentioned above. The professionals interviewed emphasized the difficulty in finding a balance between ensuring security and protecting human rights. Although they consider that this is an advantageous technique, they warn of the need to create clear legal limits on access, handling, and analysis of data, as well as having transparent definitions of the purposes of its use. Interviewees’ narratives emphasized concerns related to the right to privacy, the protection of personal data and the guarantees of building a more democratic, cohesive and secure society. Afterwards, the debate focused on the business model of the data, and if the data is sold from one company to another and how this hinders the criminal justice system. A different issue evolved around the apparent neutrality of the technology: Is the technology neutral or why does it produce social impacts? Finally, the debate referred to the provocations deriving from contested technology, which also stimulate critical postures that citizens adopt around the issues of big data. Making such critical issues mattering was assessed as a beneficial development that citizens contribute to.

2019/10/14

Technologies, infrastructures and migration: A conceptual proposal on material citizenship politics

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The Universe(s) of Refugees: Rethinking Forced Migration International Conference| NOVA-FCSH, and Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal |14-15 October 2019

Nina Amelung presented together with her co-author Joana Sousa Ribeiro a paper entitled “Technologies, infrastructures and migration: A conceptual proposal on material citizenship politics“ which has been jointly written with Cristiano Gianolla and Olga Solovova. The authors examined the politics of citizenship as it is enacted in increasingly sophisticated border management and migration control infrastructures. Drawing from the analytical repertoire of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and critical citizenship studies, they explored the exclusionary logic applied to forced migrants, who are either positioned as causing problems to the polity or made invisible. They elaborated on how material politics of citizenship may play out on migrants’ citizenship rights and overall citizenship politics if we pay attention to the ways in which materiality and knowledge practices help to create matters of concern regarding citizenship issues, and how political subjects and material objects are constructed and enacted through sociotechnical controversies. The communication began with reviewing literature at the intersection of citizenship, migration and refugee studies and STS, and in particular related to current debates underway within Critical Citizenship Studies that focus on the multiple enactments and acts of citizenship. It continued by introducing and expanding the concept of material citizenship politics with a focus on three different sites of relevance: information management in migration control regimes, border and state surveillance technologies, and particular modes of material citizenship politics. The authors concluded by discussing potentialities and limits of this conceptual proposal and argue for its utility to reclaim normalised and naturalised matters as highly political.

2019/09/18

Portraits of ‘women who kill’ in crime news: the Amanda Knox case // Big data as a new way to prevent and combat crime - views of security professionals in the EU // Prüm Decisions: stakeholders’ perspectives from the United Kingdom and Portugal // Collectivizing suspicion: the use of forensic DNA phenotyping technologies in criminal investigations

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19th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology ConverGENT: Convergent roads, bridges and new pathways in criminology| Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium | 18-21 September 2019

Marta Martins, Laura Neiva, Sara Matos and, Filipa Queirós participated in the 19th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology.

 

Marta’s presentation, co-authored with Helena Machado and Sheila Khan, entitled “Portraits of ‘women who kill’ in crime news: the Amanda Knox case”, argued that women who commit murder are portrayed in media as a mystic entity because of their alleged singularity and deviance. She explored that the press, with its style, treatment, and tenor, tends to (re)create, sensationalized and stereotyped portraits of women´s criminal behavior as: ‘monsters’, ‘crazy’ and ‘masculine’. Additionally, different notions of “otherness” are reproduced: the foreigner and the sexual predator woman.

 

Laura´s communication, “big data as a new way to prevent and combat crime – views of security professionals in the EU”, co-authored with Helena Machado, explored the expectations from the different security professionals about the potential applications of big data in criminal investigation. This communication showed the results of a qualitative research carried out based on 48 interviews with staff from so-called National Contact Points facilitating the forensic DNA data exchange in international police collaboration across Member States. In the end, the paper presented different expectations about the role of big data as a tool to support the early phase of criminal investigation.

 

Filipa’s communication, entitled “Collectivizing suspicion: the use of forensic DNA phenotyping technologies in criminal investigations”, co-authored with Rafaela Granja and Helena Machado explored how the use of this innovation technology may reaffirm new forms of constructing suspicion through resorting to biological categories of race, and accentuating discrimination and racialization of criminalized populations. Building on the perspectives of professionals working in forensic laboratories and the members of police forces the focus of the communication was at the views on the development and potential application of forensic DNA phenotyping technology. Furthermore, the communication explored the links between the rhetoric of scientific infallibility and a model of suspicion based on the distinction of populations by population categories.

 

Sara Matos’ communication, entitled “Prüm Decisions: stakeholders’ perspectives from the United Kingdom and Portugal”, co-authored with Helena Machado, explored the different national approaches to the implementation of the Prüm Decisions. Based on interviews conducted with stakeholders, in the communication she explored the tensions between the need to use technological tools for policing transnational crimes and the challenges to privacy and data protection.

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2019/09/12

Refuting eurocentric narratives of (in)securities. the duty to de-colonize the Other// Governing expectations of forensic innovations in society: the case of the "extended DNA analysis" in Germany//Big data and criminal investigation: ethical and operational aspects through the lens of sociology of expectations

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Data Power: Global in/securities | University of Bremen, Bremen | Germany 12-13 September 2019

Sheila Khan presented the paper “Refuting eurocentric narratives of (in)securities. the duty to de-colonize the Other. On her paper she presented the following argument: many of our cultural repertoires emerge in spaces that are thought of as immaculate and non-corruptible by our prejudices, stereotypes that sustain our visions from the world of human experiences. Knowledge and the production of knowledge are inextricably linked to our geopolitical, social and cultural contexts, which in turn determine the criteria for the study and interpretation of the problems of the human and global world. Subjects such as security, surveillance, DNA technologies, crime, citizenship, refugee, migrant, assume a meaning inextricably linked to national and global political circumstances. In this sense, the Other is constructed and envisioned from a highly distorted and politicized perspective. Many of the distortions go through a Eurocentric stance that focuses on a colonial version of seeing the Other as less capable, less developed, and enormously prone to put our Western societies in jeopardy. In her paper, she tries to think about a de-coloniality of knowledge in the social sciences. In order to materialize this intention, the paper focusses upon the meaning of the Other through crime and human rights perceptions in the Netherlands based on interviews made with different professionals in the context of forensic DNA analysis.

 

Nina Amelung´s presentation, co-authored with Helena Machado, and entitled “Governing expectations of forensic innovations in society: the case of the “extended DNA analysis” in Germany” portrayed the ongoing process of introducing forensic DNA phenotyping (FDP) in Germany which has been coined “extended DNA analysis”. Its particular focus was on the multiple promises and expectations about risks and promises raised in the regulatory debate aiming to legalize the emergent technologies. Based on interviews with forensic geneticists, results show that policy maker’s expectations about omnipotent capacities of FDP are countered by adjusting and managing expectations. The epistemic community of forensic genetics aims to establish reliable and trustworthy claims regarding the current accuracy of the science and technology at stake. Furthermore, they aim to differentiate the utility in criminal investigation by specifying the type of crime cases the technology may contribute to solve and make moderate claims about the readiness of the forensic field to implement the technology.

 

Laura Neiva´s communication, “Big data and criminal investigation: ethical and operational aspects through the lens of sociology of expectations”, co-authored with Helena Machado, explored the expectations from the different security professionals about the potential applications of big data in criminal investigation. The communication discussed how Big Data is defined, how it was developed and where it is applied for criminal investigation purposes. Afterwards, the communication focused on two main questions: what are the expectations from the different professionals about the potential applications of big data, in particular their perceptions of potential benefits and risks? What expectations are collectively shared and specific among different professional categories? This communication showed the results of a qualitative research carried out, through 126 interviews with staff from National Contact Points, forensic geneticists,  police officers, lawyers and actors involved in the implementation and operation of the network for the exchange of DNA data in the European Union.

 

2019/09/10

The 'transnational CSI effect': what different symbolic forms can DNA technology take? //Privacy and data protection within surveillance society: the Prüm System//The construction of criminal suspicion entangled with forensic DNA phenotyping technology//Technologies, infrastructures and migration: a conceptual proposal on material citizenship politics

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IV Conference Directions of the Sociology of Knowledge, Science and Technology in Portugal | Biomedical Science Institute Abel Salazar, University of Porto, Portugal | 10-11 September 2019

Filipa Queirós, Marta Martins, Sara Matos and, Nina Amelung participated in the IV Conference Directions of the Sociology of Knowledge, Science and Technology in Portugal.

Filipa’s communication entitled “The construction of criminal suspicion entangled with forensic DNA phenotyping technology” focused on the perspectives of professionals working in forensic laboratories and members of police forces on the development and potential application of forensic DNA phenotyping technology. She explored the links between the rhetoric of scientific infallibility and a model of suspicion based on the distinction of populations by population categories.

 

Marta’s presentation, co-authored with Helena Machado and Sheila Khan, entitled “The ‘transnational CSI effect’: what different symbolic forms can DNA technology take?”. They explored how CSI series and, in turn, the media, nurture and (re)produce social representations of forensic science, through a mapping of discourses of different professionals.  They concluded based on the data presented three typologies of ‘transnational CSI effect’ which emerged with effects on potential criminals, the police, and the public.

 

Sara Matos presented the paper entitled “Privacy and data protection within surveillance society: the Prüm System”. The paper addressed the sociotechnical imaginaries of privacy and data protection regarding the Prüm system. Particularly, she explored how follow-up criteria and the expansive or restrictive exchange of information reveal different modes of implementation of this system. She concluded arguing that these processes are a challenge to the notion of a unified Europe in police and judicial cooperation.

 

Nina Amelung presented a paper entitled “Technologies, infrastructures and migration: a conceptual proposal on material citizenship politics” and co-authored with Cristiano Gianolla, Olga Solovova and Joana Ribeiro Sousa. The presentation portrayed a conceptual approach on ‘acts of citizenship’ deriving from socio-material entanglements and how materials actively mediate and facilitate encounters through which political claims can be made. Furthermore, the presentation elaborated how material politics of citizenship play out even further if we pay attention to the ways in which materiality and knowledge practices help create matters of concern regarding citizenship issues, and how political subjects and material objects are constructed and enacted through sociotechnical controversies.

2019/09/09

Ethical, social and legal issues of familial searching: new and old debates

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28th Congress of the International Society of Forensic Genetics | Prague, The Czech Republic | 9-13 September 2019

Rafaela Granja presented this paper, co-authored with Helena Machado, to a wide community of forensic geneticists. In the paper, the authors reviewed existing literature on the topic of familial searching in forensic DNA databases in the domain of social sciences. They also reflected upon how existing discussions over genetic privacy, information disclosure and reproduction of social inequalities are reframed by long range familial searches conducted in commercial recreational genealogy databases. Issues such as genetic privacy, trust, uncontrolled access by the police to citizens’ genetic data and expansion of affected populations were explored. Rafaela Granja was also a co-author of the paper “Developing priorities for discussion and oversight of the rapidly evolving field of genetic genealogy” presented by Christopher Phillips and co-authored by Mark Jobling, Denise Syndercombe-Court, Debbie Kennett, Runa Daniel, Erin Murphy and Peter Schneider. In this paper the lack of technical and ethical oversight of forensic genealogy and preliminary recommendations for the field of genetic genealogy were discussed.

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2019/09/04

Governance of expectations on forensic gentetics innovations: the case of forensic DNA phenotyping in Europe

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Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science, 4S, Innovations, Interruptions, Regenerations | New Orleans, USA | 4-9 September 2019

Helena Machado presented a paper co-authored with Nina Amelung entitled “Governance of forensic genetics innovations through expectations: the case of forensic DNA phenotyping in Europe”. This paper aimed to address and to understand better the following topics related to forensic DNA phenotyping (FDP): how FDP and their socio-legal frameworks are co-produced, shaping technology expectations, social identities, and legal institutions; how imagined and actual uses of FDP are entangled with assertions about social order, affirmation of common values and civil rights, and promises about security and justice; and how views about FDP evolve out of particular social and political contexts, and shape and situate the way FDP as an emergent technologies evolves and/or stabilizes. Therefore, the authors used a cross-national perspective, addressing the particular cases of Germany, the Netherlands, and Poland.

2019/07/05

Views of security professionals in the EU about the potential capabilities of big data in crime control

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ECPR Standing Groups on Organised Crime | University of Sofia, Bulgaria | 5-6 July 2019

Laura Neiva presented in this communication the views of security professionals in the EU about the potential capabilities of big data in crime control. She referred to Big Data as data sets collected, analyzed, converted into algorithms, categorized and identified through an index to inform and guide criminal policies and actions. Big Data intensifies surveillance associated with information technology and networks, anchored in computerized databases and artificial intelligence software that may serve public safety objectives. In criminal investigation, Big Data is used as a preventive tool that guides police strategies and criminal justice decisions, being considered a promising mechanism in the surveillance and prediction of risk in the fight against organized and cross-border crime. Her presentation focussed on the case of applications of big data in the field of criminal investigation and addressed the tensions between the expectations around the outputs generated by Big Data and the concrete views of professionals working in police and judiciary cooperation in the EU. Laura presented the results of a qualitative research including 48 interviews with professionals involved in the implementation and operation of the Prüm network for the exchange of forensic DNA data in the European Union. The results show different expectations about the role of Big Data as a tool to support the early phase of criminal investigation, as well as concerns related to privacy and data protection. These professionals recognize the usefulness of the technique, its preventive and predictive potentialities, and provide examples of potential applications in their work. In addition, security professionals also consider possible obstacles that may arise from the implementation of a new criminal investigation technique, and argue for the need to continue to resort to traditional means of combating crime. In general, security professionals support the expansion of  Big Data, but they advise to be cautious and recognize the need to be aware of the ethical and human rights challenges.

2019/07/04

Racial Crimes: Giving crime and racism a memory from a portuguese postcolonial perspective

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International Conference | 7th Biannual Conference of the Afroeuropeans Network: “Afroeuropeans: Black In/Visibilities Contested” | Lisbon, Portugal | 4-6 July 2019

Sheila Khan and Helena Machado presented a paper entitled “Racial Crimes| Giving Crima and Racism a Memory from a Portiuguese Postcolonial Perspective” aimed at thinking of crime in contemporary Portuguese society as a tool to analyze the state of social, cultural, political and historical maturity of this country. Moreover, the authors also discussed the reasons for the absence of a civic, judicial, police and academic debate on the existence of racial crimes in Portugal, and intended to understand the absence of this debate in Portuguese society. In this sense, crime was debated based on: a) colonial and postcolonial memory; b) racism and c) the historical construction of the ‘Other’ as ex-colonized, African and immigrant.

2019/06/25

Press narratives about ‘suspect communities’: the criminal case of Maria L

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Lisbon – International Conference on Social Science & Humanities (ICSSH) | Lusófona University, Portugal | 25-26 June 2019

Alícia Wiedemann attended the International Conference on Social Science & Humanities. She presented her paper “Press narratives about ‘suspect communities’: the criminal case of Maria L.” co-authored with Rafaela Granja and Helena Machado. In this paper, she approached how the criminal media narratives, especially of the sensationalist press, contribute to the social construction of criminality. Discourses marked by drama and stereotypes not only produce representations of threats but also social imaginaries about who portrays dangerousness. Thus, it is argued that such emphasis contributes to the reinforcement of social fears, while stimulating actions aimed to improve security through classification, control and exclusion of the ‘social evils’. Based on the content analysis of fifty news retrieved from a German tabloid newspaper, Alícia explored the high-profile criminal case of Maria L., victim of a sexual murder, which happened in 2016 in Freiburg Germany. With this communication, she intended to think about the role of media on spreading particular notions about crime and criminals; which groups are characterized as risky; and the resulting social and institutional impacts that often undermine human rights.

2019/06/12

Implicated-data publics: Being collectively affected by transnational biometric databases used for crime and migration control

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Nordic STS conference| Tampere, Finland|12-14 June 2019

Nina Amelung presented her paper “Implicated-data publics: Being collectively affected by transnational biometric databases used for crime and migration control“ in the session “Infrastructuring migration: doing STS within/about mobility” co-hosted by Fredy Mora Gamez, Vasilis Galis and Vasiliki Makrygianni.

In her paper Nina proposes the sensitizing concept of ‘implicated data-publics’ to facilitate the analytical exploration of the collective of data-subjects which are structurally atomized and non-transparent regarding their capacity of claiming rights and the actual practices of claim making. Since we witness the growth of transnational biometric database systems which derive from attempts of surveilling populations in order to control crime and migration this paper deals with the implications of growing database infrastructures for affected publics. It is in particular interested in the implications of biometric technologies and the design and governance of databases on framing and regulating data-publics. The concept is probed on two examples of transnational biometric database systems set up for criminal identification and migration control purposes in the European Union: the decentralized forensic DNA data exchange system regulated under the Prüm decisions and the centralized fingerprint database system EURODAC. The paper explores 1) how biometric technologies (fingerprint and DNA) come with different public knowing about them; 2) how centralized and decentralized architectures of database systems produce different vulnerabilities of data-subjects and impact on shaping data-publics’ capacities for producing public scrutiny.

2019/05/03

Big Data – (new) technological paradigms that facilitate the production of (dis)information? Ethical and operational issues

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5th Congress Literacy, Media and Citizenship|University of Aveiro, Portugal|3-4 May 2019

Laura Neiva presented in this communication the ethical and operational issues related to Big Data. She referred to Big Data as a technique that aggregates a huge data set and which works with an infinite amount of information analyzed at a ferocious speed and in real time. As a cultural, technological and academic phenomenon it results from the interaction of three elements: technology (maximized computational power and algorithmic precision), analysis (identification of patterns via a set of data) and mythology (the large data sets offer greater forms of intelligence and knowledge). This technology panoply raises questions about the reliability of the data obtained and the conclusions drawn from the data analysis. It comes with repercussions on politics of citizenship, weakening ethical social integrity. Big Data can be a rationalizing force with the potential to increase efficiency and improve prediction accuracy. However, it has the potential to deepen existing patterns of inequality and can replicate privacy breaches. Based on the views of professionals of transnational and judicial cooperation in the European Union regarding technological developments, Laura presented the operational and ethical issues mentioned by these professionals, contributing to the contemporary debate. The ethical and operational issues reval  challenges that arise in the defense of human rights, procedural risks of the technique and its  scientific fragility. The presentation ended with a debate about the disinformation of the data – how aggregation of a large number of data could lead to problematic conclusions.

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2019/03/29

Memories of the Future

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The Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London, United Kingdom|29-30 March 2019

Sheila Khan presented a communication at International Conference “Memories of the Future”. In this paper, she argued that individuals often lose the notion of how perceptions about crimes perpetuated affect the reactions of societies wherein crimes occur, by bringing to the surface fears, traumas, past memories that have never found their place of mourning and reconciliation with a past marked by a colonial human experience. This process of remembrance of the past often goes through behaviors that discriminates the Other, and constructs narratives on crimes in which the Other is a scapegoat to avoid facing the colonial ghosts of the past. Sheila has observed that in Portugal, a postcolonial and European nation, the crimes that supposedly involve subjects of African descent provoke in the public and in the police forces behaviors and responses of great racial and discriminatory tension, because the mourning of a colonial past still has to be done. With this communication, Sheila intended to think about how crime is also the place to think the memory and the awakening of memories that, although silent, have the capacity to contaminate the social and cultural gaze of our present time.

2019/03/11

The Other Sounds and Voices of Post-Colonialism: The Beauty of Post-Memories in Portugal

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University Paris Diderot - Nice Sophia Antipolis, Paris, France|11 March 2019

Sheila Khan presented a Seminar with regards to the new novel the Angolan writer Dajimilia Pereira, Luanda Lisboa Paraíso,(2018) in which the writer shows us the portrait of a post-empire and post-colonial Portugal ignorant and unknown of its experiences and human inheritances of the great colonial imaginary. Presenting as a fictional reading, however, Sheila has argued that this novel compels us to think post-memory responsibility as a civic and ethical tool that allows us to convene, interrogate and critically think the responsibility of a thought committed to a courageous reflection on the silences which Portuguese post-colonialism feeds and protects. Finally, it was observed that the post-memory studies in the Portuguese context of research allow us to show spaces of commitment where art and social activism begin to open windows of dialogue and a critical view committed to a duty of memory.

2019/03/11

Infrastructuring data-publics: Implications of design and governance of transnational biometric database systems

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Weizenbaum Institute for Networked Society, Berlin|11 March 2019

Nina Amelung was invited to stay as visiting scholar at the Weizenbaum Institute for Networked Society. As part of her stay she gave a talk addressing the growth of transnational biometric database systems which derive from attempts of surveilling populations in order to crime and migration. Her presentation dealt with the implications of growing database infrastructures – in particular their design and governance, but also their organic unfolding within environments – on understanding and regulating data-publics. She asked: How do we know about and understand data-publics constituted through transnational biometric surveillance technologies and what are limits of knowing? How do the IT governance systems and the organizational work design of database infrastructures play out on how data-subjects are entitled to and have access to exercise rights? She explored such questions along two examples of transnational biometric database systems set up for criminal identification and migration control purposes in the European Union: the decentralized forensic DNA data exchange system regulated under the Prüm decisions and the centralized fingerprint database system EURODAC. She discussed the impact of database systems on constituting data-publics and enabling or disabling data-subjects.

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2019/01/23

Ethics in forensic genetics: towards a pragmatic approach

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Public Lecture|Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, Portugal |23 January 2019

By invitation of the Direction Board of the Masters in Forensic Genetics of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, Helena Machado gave a public lecture about the “old” and “new” challenges of the role of forensic genetics in delivering meaningful outputs to the criminal justice system. A particular focus were the ethical implications of forensic DNA phenotyping, familial searching, uses of “recreational” genetic databases, massive paralell sequencing, and rapid DNA technologies. Helena proposed some practical, concrete and “pragmatic” guidelines for addressing ethical challenges in the particular field of the nexus between innovation in forensic genetics, the increasing role of the private sector in delivering forensic services, and the dynamics of the justice system.

2019/01/11

Ethical, societal and policy challenges of forensic genetic data

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Workshop Genetics and Forensics| European Society of Human Genetics| Amsterdam, 11 January 2019

By invitation of the Public and Professional Policy Committee of the European Society of Human Genetics (PPPC-ESHG) Helena Machado gave a talk entitled “Ethical, societal and policy challenges of forensic genetic data”. The aim of this talk was to develop interdisciplinary debate about the following aspects: contentious issues and (trends in) scholarly work done in the field of social studies of forensic genetics; possible regulation and ethical oversight for access to medical and research biobanks, including ancestry databases, for forensic purposes; sharing and connecting genetic data; public information and engagement. The debate addressed what might and should be expected of PPPC-ESHG representing a genetic professional viewpoint, and priorities for coming years.

2018/12/14

Workshop “Forensic genetics and society”

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Abel Salazar Institute of Biomedical Sciences| University of Porto, Portugal |14 December 2018

Helena Machado gave a workshop on “Forensic genetics and society” to students of the Master Course in Legal Medicine. It was presented the main ethical and social challenges associated to human identification in the justice system, namely for civil purposes (eg paternity suits) and criminal goals. The debate around the ethical and social challenges was contextualized in the framework of a maximum surveillance society. Topics of discussion were the following:  DNA profiling and DNA databasing; forensic phenotyping; familial searching; and police access to medical and recreational genetic databases.

2018/11/14

The Prüm system: challenges to the EU area of freedom, security and justice

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International Conference: Contemporary Challenges to Forensic Genetics in Society| School of Law, University of Minho| Braga, 12-14 November 2018

Helena Machado presented the main goals of the Exchange project, referring to the context of the EU area of freedom, security and justice. She discussed the contemporary challenges to forensic genetics in the Portuguese case, namely the restrictive nature of legislation and the difficulties in the development of a national forensic DNA database. Helena focused on the diversity of regulation in the EU related to DNA databases and the strain posed by differentiated levels of development between North and South Europe.

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2018/10/11

Police epistemic culture and boundary work in the case of transnational DNA data exchange in the EU//Views of forensic geneticists on the ethical boundaries of forensic DNA phenotyping: enacting boundary work

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Genetic identities and identification: Social issues surrounding non-medical DNA testing | EHESS, Amphithéâtre Furet, Paris, France  | 11 - 12 October 2018

Helena Machado and Rafaela Granja attended the conference “Genetic identities and identification: Social issues surrounding non-medical DNA testing”

Helena Machado presented the paper “Police epistemic culture and boundary work in the case of transnational DNA data exchange in the EU”, co-authored with Rafaela Granja. This talk was about how forensic DNA data is given meaning within a police epistemic culture. The context for this discussion is the EU Prüm system of transnational exchange of DNA data within police and judiciary cooperation. Some of the questions addressed in this presentation were: Which meanings do professionals of police international cooperation give to the role hold by forensic DNA evidence in transnational criminal investigation? How do these views relate to forms of distinction in relation to other professionals involved in transnational cooperation? How are these views implicated within, and reflect, socio- political attitudes to crime and policing?

Rafaela Granja presented the paper “Views of forensic geneticists on the ethical boundaries of forensic DNA phenotyping: enacting boundary work”, co-authored with Helena Machado. Drawing on interviews with forensic geneticists based in different European Union countries, the authors explored in this presentation the forms whereby such professionals perform the ethical boundaries of forensic DNA phenotyping (FDP) and how such performance shapes and is shaped by a scientific ethos. The narratives of forensic geneticists entail, on the one hand, the acknowledgement of the potential risks that FDP technologies might potentiate. On the other hand, they negotiate such potential risks by performing the ethical boundaries of FDP in three main forms, namely: establishing borderlines to the kind of information that might be used; restricting the use of forensic DNA phenotyping to specific criminal cases; and delineating differences between the use of FDP in the investigative and probative phase of criminal investigation.

 

Videos / Interviews

2019/10/10

Interview, 90 seconds of science

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Helena Machado was invited to speak about EXCHANGE project at “90 segundos de ciência”, 10 October 2019.

Available here.

2019/05/15

Interview, Porto Canal

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Helena Machado was invited to speak in Portuguese TV channel ‘Porto Canal’ about EXCHANGE project, 15 May 2019.

Available here.

2019/05/06

Interview, Público newspaper

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Helena Machado was invited to speak in Portuguese newspaper ‘Público’ about EXCHANGE project, 6 May 2019.

Available here.

2018/12/19

Radio Antena 1 - Genetics of crime

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Helena Machado was invited to speak on the radio program ‘Ponto de partida’, of Radio Antena 1, Gaia, Porto, Portugal, 19 November 2018.

Available here.

2018/11/12

Interview, International Conference: Contemporary Challenges to Forensic Genetics in Society

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Helena Machado was invited to speak to the Communication and Society Research Centre (CECS),​​ University of Minho, Braga, Portugal, 12-14 November 2018.

Available here.

2016/11/18

Interview EUROFORGEN-NoE project, Rafaela Granja

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Rafaela Granja was invited as external speaker to the EUROFORGEN-NoE project’s  in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 18 November 2016.

Available here.

2016/06/22

Interview EUROFORGEN-NoE project, Helena Machado

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Helena Machado was invited as external speaker to the EUROFORGEN-NoE project’s dissemination conference which took place in Venice, 22-23 June 2016.

Available here.

Science for Society

2019/04/17

Group of Postcolonial Studies

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Institute of Social Sciences, University of Minho|Braga, 17 April 2019

On April 17, the first meeting of the Group of Postcolonial Studies was held at University of Minho, Social Sciences Institute. Sheila Khan as the group’s coordinator moderated the session. A presentation was made on the dynamics of the group in terms of its work and commitment to the critical reflection on the merits of postcolonial thought in the time and space of contemporary societies with colonial experience and, it should be mentioned, colonized voices and stories. In this sense, rather than reducing postcolonial thought to a closed narrative in theories and concepts, this group seeks to make the postcolonial an ethnographic experience by calling itself people who can bring the postcolonial ‘in the street’: a postcolonial of daily life, epidermal, cultural, political and of memory.A documentary by the Angolan director, Kiluange Liberdade, was presented with the theme “Outros Bairros” (1999), and followed by a lively and active debate which Sheila Khan moderated. The discussion stimulated the thought of how postcolonialism is this salutary and conscious relationship of the warm and close relationship between past and present.

2018/11/12

Creative methodologies for research

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Institute of Social Sciences, University of Minho|Braga, 12-14 November 2018

Guest Speaker: Susana de Noronha (University of Coimbra, CES)

The workshops of creative methodologies for research integrate the activities of the Permanent Seminar ‘science with and for society’. They are intended to be spaces for sharing the ways of fostering connections between various areas of knowledge with and for society. They are developed within the framework of the activities of several CECS researchers and the EXCHANGE project.

2018/01/01

EXCHANGE at School: Crime, genetics and criminal investigation

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EXCHANGE researchers are keen to present their research beyond the ‘specialist’ public. As part of the mission of engaging science with society, the “crime, genetics and criminal investigation” presentations organized by the EXCHANGE team are being held in various secondary schools of Northern and Central Portugal. Researchers invite students to debate the implications of the uses of forensic DNA technologies, the social and ethical implications of DNA databases, and the challenges associated with DNA data exchange among EU Member States. Until September 2017, the initiative to disseminate the EXCHANGE´s research among high school students was conducted under the program ‘CES goes to school’ by the Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra.

2017/11/22

Film Cycle 2017/2018

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Institute of Social Sciences, University of Minho|22 November 2017

Film: The Circle – Privacy, surveillance, social control and new media