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Frederik Vejlin

PhD Student, Postdoc

Frederik Vejlin


I am a sociocultural anthropologist interested in how science and technology shape the tools and concepts we use to understand ourselves and imagine the future societies we wish to create (or occasionally hope to prevent). I work at the intersections of anthropology and STS (Science and Technology Studies), with a regional focus on Japan. I primarily use ethnographic and qualitative methods to study technoscientific and experimental practices, but I am also enthusiastic about interdisciplinary entanglements and mixed methods approaches.

In my doctoral dissertation, Artificial Sociality: The Art and Science of Social Robotics in Japanese Laboratories, I report on anthropological research conducted with social robots and roboticists in Japan since 2017. Empirically, the dissertation builds on a combination of ethnographic fieldwork in robotics laboratories, interviews with roboticists in Japan, and analysis of their published scientific work as well as documentaries and other forms of dissemination that showcase their research to the public. Conceptually, it contributes to contemporary discussions of sociality and experimentation in social anthropology and STS to investigate the processes of designing, developing, and experimenting with robots that technologically simulate human sociality.

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