Stefan Laube, Jan Schank, Thomas Scheffer,
"Constitutive Invisibility. Exploring the Work of Staff Advisers in Political Position-making"
, in Social Studies of Science, Vol. 50, Nummer 2, Sage, Seite(n) 292-316, 3-2020
Constitutive Invisibility. Exploring the Work of Staff Advisers in Political Position-making
Sprache des Titels:
Although it is broadly acknowledged that democratic politics should operate through the public competition of binding positions, the careful development of these positions is commonly neglected. Providing ethnographic analysis of the work of staff advisers in parliamentary groups, the paper explores the invisible work invested into these competing positions. We argue that the invisibilization of work serves to accomplish a central tenet of democratic political discourse: the demonstration of resonance between constituents and elected politicians. The latter may be assisted by ? but must not depend on ? non-elected staff. Against this ?sacred? premise of representative democracy, the paper shows that and how political positions are based on invisible work and the work of invisibilizing. Building on laboratory and workplace studies, we specify the shape and function of invisibility by contrasting studies on invisible work in the natural sciences, in case law, and in party politics. In these instances, invisible work serves different discursive objects-in-formation: scientific facts, legal cases, and binding positions. Understanding invisible work, thus, leads us to consider different constitutive relevancies. In turn, these serve to specify established concepts in STS, such as ?controversy,? to better distinguish the day-to-day conduct of natural science from that of politics or law.