Technological innovation and scientific progress have been our essential societal elements. Indeed, as Winner notes (1986, p.7), “society […] committed itself to forge ahead full bore with scientific and technological advance.” Yet, despite this societal commitment toward scientific progress and technological innovations, for a long-time, society was only limitedly engaged in a self-reflective process that asked itself what the consequences of this commitment were and are. However, observing societal development and history, it is evident that scientific achievements and technological advancements have fundamentally affected and even changed how societies develop. In this course, we seek to understand how scientific knowledge and (new) technologies are developed, formulated, and achieved, and foremost we seek to understand the complex relationship between science, technology, and societies.
By seeking to understand this, students will get introduced to and acquainted with the academic discipline of Science and Technology Studies (STS). This course serves as a modest foray into Science and Technology Studies’ academic discipline. It should enable students to understand better the underlying technologies and the value of Science and Technology Studies (STS) while hopefully raising interest in these subjects and this academic discipline.
The course is split into three parts. The first focuses on the broader discipline and provides an introduction to the field, as well as the most important theoretical frameworks and discussions within STS. The focus is here on understanding and interpreting science and technology as academic disciplines. The second part seeks to understand the relationship between science, technology, and societies. In the late 1980ties, the STS discipline started to focus more on the role, and impact of science and foremost (new) technologies on societies, while assessing the role and influence of societies on the progression of scientific knowledge and technologies. This section focuses on this and will discuss the social value and importance of the social construction of science and technology. The third and final section has a clear praxis-oriented focus. As Sismondo (2010, viii) notes, “Case studies are the bread and butter of STS. Almost all insights in the field grow out of them, and researchers and students still turn to articles based on cases to learn central ideas and to puzzle through problems”. Thus, to understand and connect the broader theoretical frameworks of STS and the discussion on the social construct of STS, to the praxis, we will examine six case studies. The focus here will be on the role, impact, and consequences of information and communication technologies (ICT), how these technologies created, changed, and shaped (new) political and economic dynamics, and how these dynamics simultaneously shaped technological development.

offering time

Fall 22


Social Studies


Tobias Burgers



Course code


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