The workshop will focus on the politics of expertise and the co-production of sociotechnical imaginaries, expertise identities, and public policies in agriculture, as they relate to the use of fertilizers and the water management in Greece between 1945 - 2010. By applying the concept of the "co-productionist idiom," the talk will highlight the processes of appropriation of technoscientific knowledge and the dynamic processes of agricultural politics in postwar Greece. Experts functioned not only as mediators but as promoters and shapers of sociotechnical imaginaries in Greece, and that they directed specific policies to promote or control the use of fertilizers: particularly nitrogen (N) fertilizers. Until 1990, experts had the power and the authority to politically and socially legitimize the use of intensive fertilization. During this period, engineering experts promoted visions for the intensive use of water resources through dam construction, that resonated well and supported the fertilization policies. In the years since 1990,  transnational political pressures from the European Union shaped the experts’ consensus on the harmful effects of agriculture malpractice and the overuse of nitrogen fertilizers. An environmentally friendly agriculture paradigm was sought in which the dominant public discourse developed by Greek experts prioritized the rational use of fertilizers. This approach was strengthened further by the material politics of water management that engineering experts had promoted since the 1990s. 

Stathis Arapostathis is Assistant Professor in the History of Science and Technology in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science. He completed his D.Phil. in Modern History, University of Oxford. His research interests cover: the history of intellectual property in science and technology; the history of the relationship between science and technology; the history of energy infrastructures; the history and sociology of technology and the environment; and the history and sociology of expertize. He has held research positions and fellowships in Britain (Universities of Leeds, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Oxford) and the USA (Fulbright Fellow, Law School, UC at Davis). He has co-authored (with Graeme Gooday) the award-winning book Patently Contestable: Electrical Technologies and Inventor Identities on Trial in Britain (MIT Press, 2013) and recently co-edited (with Aristotle Tympas) a special issue in the journal History of Technology on the History and Historiography of Technology in Greece from 19th to 21st Century, 33 (2017). He has been published extensively in international peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes.

Respondent: Michael Gordin, History

Supported by The Christos G. and Rhoda Papaioannou Modern Greek Studies Fund

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