Introduction in Society, Science and Technology Studies
Full course description
The basic characteristic of the ESST programme is an insistence on the necessity to think about social, cultural, historical, political and economic circumstances in order to understand the evolution of science and technology. The development of science is often seen as, in essence, an autonomous process - a process of gradual accumulation of knowledge, driven by purely internal imperatives, such as the search for truth. In the same vein, technology has been largely considered as a process of applied science, a kind of “lesser cousin”, which simply follows from previous scientific advance. The field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) challenges this perspective. The first module in the ESST programme introduces students to the field of STS, and lays the foundation for new ways of understanding. Students get acquainted with a number of perspectives that integrate scientific and technological development with its wider contexts, and that show how science and technology both shape and are shaped by powerful social, economic, cultural, and political forces. This is true for the past as well as the present and the future, and hence students will both grasp how things have happened and how they may be shaped to create a better world tomorrow.
After this module, students are able to explain the diﬀerences between Technological determinism, Social determinism, and STS-approaches (including social constructivism, co-construction of science, technology, and society). In addition, students are able to explain the methodologies of Social Construction of Technology, Actor-Network Theory, and Large Technical Systems.
Furthermore, this module trains students to do independent library searches, to argue a standpoint, and to apply theories fruitfully to a case of choice.
- Bijker, W.E., Hughes T.P., & Pinch T. (2012). The Social Construction of Technological Systems. New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology, Cambridge MA.: MIT Press.
Sismondo, Sergio. 2010. An Introduction to Science and Technology Studies. 2nd ed. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.