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Arne Maibaum

Graduate Student of the 2nd cohort


Research Project

Prizes, Challenges and Cups

Technological competitions as reflexive innovation environments

"While innovation has shaped modern society from its very inception, it is currently gaining new dimensions: Innovation is becoming increasingly reflexive, heterogeneously distributed, and ubiquitous."

Technological competitions are a typical expression of this phenomenon. They form networks between governmental institutions, philanthropic sponsors, industrial enterprise and various scientific disciplines. Innovations occur in this de-border area between scientific research and the interests of the sponsors, between epistemic interest and 'tinkering'. While their core remains constant participants are interchangeable, nonetheless the process of creating the new remains continuous. The competition is both, site of positive freedom of creativity and expression of the precarious science system, which is offering the participants neither patents nor permanent jobs; Site of astounding technological progress and simultaneously suffering from a lack of continuity and documentation, receiving its rationalization and validation only retrospectively. While exploiting the chaos and the contingency of a 'non-laboratory', the competition provides strategic manufacturing of the new by channeling these purposely and systematically onto a specific objective.
The central question remains: How can the various stakeholders referring to the existing patterns of actions and justification produce the new reflexively and coordinated? The hypothesis is that the competitions take over these functions.

What are technological competitions now exactly? In the absence of a better name these include all occasions where technological artifacts compete against each other to be measured or prove its fineness. They go by the term ‘Prize' which refers directly (monetary) reward, or ‘Cup’ and ‘Challenge ', which gives greater weight to the competitive nature of the concept, but is used synonymously.


Engelschalt, Julia & Maibaum, Arne (Hrsg.) (2015): “Auf der Suche nach den Tatsachen: Proceedings der 1. Tagung des Nachwuchsnetzwerks ‘INSIST’. Berlin SSOAR: nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-454743

Maibaum/Treske (2013): "Blackout - Und morgen sitzen wir im Dunkeln" In: Hitzler/Zürn/Trautwein (Hrsg.): Planspiele - Erleben, was kommt. ZMS-Schriftenreihe, Band 5.

Maibaum/Derpmann (2013): "Spiel und Simulation als Arenen der Technik-entwicklung", in: Compagna/Derpmann (Hrsg.) Soziologische Perspektiven auf Digitale Spiele. Virtuelle Handlungsräume und neue Formen sozialer Wirklichkeit, Konstanz: UVK.

Maibaum, Arne (2012): "Spiel und Wettkampf in der Technikentwicklung" in: Compagna/Shire (2012) (Hrsg.) Working Papers techniksoziologische Studien no. 03/2012.

Compagna/Derpmann/Maibaum et. al. (2008): "Soziologische Perspektiven auf Digital-Game und -Gaming", in: Compagna/Shire (2008) (Hrsg.) Working Papers techniksoziologische Studien no. 04/2008.



"Coping with Social Contingency and Complexity in Social Robotics" (with Andreas Bischof). Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S). Denver (USA), 11/2015.


since 04/ 2015
DFG Graduate School “Innovation Society Today: The Reflexive Creation of Novelty” (TU Berlin)
09/2012 - 03/2015
TU Dortmund (Technology Studies, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences) research assistant (BMBF-Projekt Achtsamkeitstraining für Organisationen zur Prävention und Bewältigung von Krisen -AKTOR)
04/2008 - 09/2011

University Duisburg-Essen: student assistant, Projekt Work and Tutor for Dr. Diego Compagna and Prof. Dr. Ingo Schulz-Schaeffer
10/2004 - 03/2012
Studies in Social Science at University Duisburg-Essen, Major Sociology, Minor Psychology

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Auxiliary Functions

Hergesell, Maibaum (Eds.): Genese und Folgen der Pflegerobotik