Working Outline


Table of Contents



  • Introduction
  • Policy and Activism in Science, Technology and Society


  • Introduction
  • Filling the pews in the Low Church, STS and the Internet

Boundary Work & STS

  • Introduction
  • STS and the Lines between Science and Other Disciplines
  • Applications of Demarcation and Boundary Work in STS – Is Medicine Science?

STS from the Margins

  • Introduction
  • Critical approaches to STS: Feminist Science Studies
  • The Sociological Imagination and Postcolonialism: Multicultural Issues Science and Technology

Applying STS

  • Introduction
  • High Church vs. Low Church: Applying STS
  • An Ethnography of the Polycom


Introduction – Ariel Ludwig

Introduction to the social history project – Our Introduction to Science and Technology Studies (STS) course required a collaborative social history of STS. The objectives of this assignment were to 1) “trace, document, examine, analyze and offer mindful judgments regarding the development of Science and Technology Studies (STS);” 2) examine and analyze the dynamic relationships among culture, history and society in accounts of disciplinary formation;” 3) “offer mindful judgments regarding the effect of how we tell the story of STS.”
Our Definition of Social History – A history written by a collective of STS students from a variety of backgrounds. Each article will contribute to the overall trajectories of STS, while being framed within the interests of individuals entering the field. Social history in this context includes the ways in which STS has interacted with and responded to society and theoretical frameworks. Each topic will include reference to at least one theoretical construct and its relationship and engagement with the social.

Description of participants – Ours is a diverse class spread across two sites, Blacksburg and Northern Virginia. The students in Blacksburg are full-time masters or doctoral students from diverse educational backgrounds ranging from biology to cultural students. The students attending the Northern Virginia campus primarily work full-time, primarily in governmental systems (e.g. NASA). Given the variety of backgrounds and competing time constraints this project

Provide a brief introduction for each section

Conclusion – identify larger trends and takeaways from this project.

Policy – Section Introduction

Policy and Activism in STS – by Katelyn Kuhl

Policy and Activism within Three Major STS Frameworks
Critique of Social Construction of Technology
Winner’s activist STS career
Winner’s “Upon Opening the Black Box and Finding it Empty: Social Constructivism and the Philosophy of Technology.”
“Do Not Despair”: Bijker responds to critique of SCOT
Bijker and the development of SCOT
Bijker’s “Do Not Despair: There Is life after Constructivism.”: responding to critiques of SCOT and Winner’s “Upon Opening…” article
Actor Network Theory: possible activism outcomes of an ANT account
Recent STS Ideas and Models of how to Engage with Policy
New methods of engagement: Daniel Sarewitz and the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes (CSPO)
Overview of CSPO
Sarewitz’s "Does Science Policy Matter?"
The Honest Broker Debate: Pielke v. Jasanoff
A debate on how scientists should engage with policy makers
Pielke’s The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics
Jasanoff’s critique
Public Intellectuals: Model provided in Bijker’s “Pre-Presidential Address, The Need for Public Intellectuals: A Space for STS.”
A Virginia Tech Professor weighs in:
Dr. Hirsh policy background
Hirsh’s “Historians of Technology in the Real World: Reflections On the Pursuit of Policy-Oriented History.”

Bijker, Wiebe E. “Do Not Despair: There Is life after Constructivism.” Science, Technology, & Human Values, no. 1 (Winter, 1993): 113-138.
Bijker, Weibe E. “Pre-Presidential Address, The Need for Public Intellectuals: A Space for STS.” Science, Technology, and Human Values 28, no. 4 (Autumn 2003): 443-50.
Hirsh, Richard F. “Historians of Technology in the Real World: Reflections On the Pursuit of Policy-Oriented History.” Technology and Culture 52, no. 1 (January 2011): 6-20.
Jasanoff, Sheila. Review of The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics, by Roger A. Pielke Jr. American Scientist 96, no. 3 (May-June 2008): 240-43.
Latour, Bruno. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2007.
Pielke Jr., Roger A. The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Sarewitz, Daniel. "Does Science Policy Matter?" Issues in Science and Technology 23, no. 4 (Summer 2007).
Winner, Langdon. “Upon Opening the Black Box and Finding it Empty: Social Constructivism and the Philosophy of Technology.” Science, Technology, & Human Values, no. 3 (Summer 1993): 362-378.

III. History – Brief Section Introduction

Filling the pews in the Low Church, STS and the Internet - by Richard Hilberer

Introduction – The Internet as tool for the Modern Public Sphere
STS Scholarship in the areas of internet governance, hacktivism and the public sphere
Overview of the history of internet activism
Evolution of Social theory of the networked society

Internet Activism –
Early Hacktivism
Networked Society
Evolution of Social Theory and the Networked Society – This section will provide an overview of theory and transition into policy
Theoretical basis
The evolution of theory and influencing policy

Conclusion –
The society, democracy, and the internet
The Young Turks in the Low Church – Taking Theory to the policy makers

The Boundaries of STS – Section Introduction

STS and the Lines between Science and Other Disciplines – By Elijah Salters

Identify the relationship between science and Other Social Groups
The Power and social class of Science
Should STS view Boyle’s exclusive experimentation as scientist sharing information within their community or a scientist pursuit for power?
Who empower scientist over society?
Historical Reports of Science Accuracy and Success.
Understanding the social fear for empowering Scientist.
Sociological view Reflecting the “Inaccurate” and “Unsuccessful” Experimentation Reports.
Experimentation as the New Clergy
“big church” vs “little church”
Social view of Scientific Experimentation
Hobbes view “Public Knowledge” versus Boyles view for “Experimentation”
In reviewing Pasteur’s lab experiment
Checks and Balances of Critiquing Science and STS
Establishing a STS Methodology for Observing Scientist and Labs
STS broad characteristic statements: “Needless to say, scientists adjust their" research goals to suit the selections made, and they adjust their selections to suit new circumstances created by their research.” Knorr-Certina, page 126
Repeatability – Establish a STS Methodology under similar Guidance as Science.
Laboratory Door Barriers
Knowledge of “macro” and “micro” observations. As observers, should STS observe laboratories and scientist on both macro and micro levels?
Establish a common Denominator within the STS community
Unified the Voice.
Should STS scholars establish a methodology of “Best Practices” (this maybe outside the scope of the Social History Assignment?)
Critique of Historical Sciences
Equating “Science Networks” as Science Social Group
Represent Scientist as part of Society.
Declassifying Science – Equating the social groups Science, STS scholars and other non-sciences.
STS views based on scientist terminology.
Science as social group similar to other non-science fields
Establish science as a similar field and social group as athletics, teachers, government officials, social sciences, and philosophers.
Good and Bad science
STS Role of Consulting: Science and Other Social Groups
STS Role as a mediator of Sociology and Historical Science.
STS as a moderator between science and other social groups.
Non bias observation based on STS personal profession.
Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, authors. Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.
Donald Mackenzie, Nuclear Missile Testing and the Social Construction of Accuracy.” In the Science Studies Reader, edit by M. Biagioli. New York: Routledge, 342-357, 1999.
Ian Hacking, Review: “Artificial Phenomena.” Review of Leviathan and the Air Pump: Hobbes , Boyle and the Experimental Life by Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer.” British Journal for the History of Science 24, no 2. 235-241,(June 1991).
Latour- Give Me a Laboratory and I will Raise the World. In the Science Observed, 147-170,1983
Knorr-Cetina, Karin.”7 Laboratory Studies: The Culture Approach to the Study of Science.” In the Handbook of Science and Technology Studied Edit by Sheila Jasanoff, Gerald E. Markle, James C. Peterson and Trevor Pinch,pages 140-166, thousand Oaks, Ca: SAGE, 1995.

Applications of Demarcation and Boundary Work in STS – Is Medicine Science? – Anita Mbogoni

Brief STS Literature Review
Discussion of demarcation (Popper) and boundary work (Gieryn), and how these are used to determine which fields are and are not scientific, both theoretically and in practice
Mention of Merton’s normative structure, and question of whether this ideology applied to doctors, in addition to scientists
Discussion of medicine as a science
Examination of how medicine fits the criteria of demarcation discussed in the Popper, and how boundary work defines medicine as a science, or not, in practice
Is medical education the same as medical practice? Medical education is largely scientific; does this translate into the reality of medical practice – doctor/patient interactions, patient interactions with the medical/healthcare system in general, etc.?
Is medicine an applied science?
If medicine is not a science, what is it?
Discussion of medicine as an art, rather than a medicine
Discussion of medicine as simultaneously an art and a science
Will draw from Panda and Sunders for both aforementioned arguments, and connect these back to Popper’s demarcation and Gieryn’s boundary work


Gieryn, Thomas F. "Boundary-Work and the Demarcation of Science from Non-Science: Strains and Interests in Professional Ideologies of Scientists." American Sociological Review 48, no. 6 (1983): 781-95. Accessed September 29, 2015.

Merton, Robert. “The Normative Structure of Science.” In The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations, 267-278. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973.

Panda, Sadhu. "Medicine: Science or Art?" Mens Sana Monographs 4, no. 1 (2006): 127-38. Accessed September 29, 2015.

Popper, Karl R. "Science as Falsification." In Readings in the Philosophy of Science, edited by

Theodore Schick, 9-13. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company, 2000. Accessed September 29, 2015.

Saunders, John. "The Practice of Clinical Medicine as an Art and as a Science." Western Journal of Medicine 26, no. 1 (2000): 18-22. Accessed September 29, 2015.

STS from the Margins – Section Introduction

Critical approaches to STS: Feminist Science Studies - by Jonathan Banda

1. The challenge of feminism to STS
A. The exclusion of women from science and technology
B. Responses within the sociology of scientific knowledge to the charge of particularism
C. Bleier, Ruth, editor, Feminist Approaches to Science (1986)
2. Gendered aspects of science and technology
A. Donna Haraway’s Primate Visions (1989)
B. Adele Clarke and Virginia Olesen, editors. Revisioning Women, Health and Healing: Feminist, Cultural and Technoscience Perspectives (1999)
3. Feminist epistemology
A. Sandra Harding’s The Science Question in Feminism (1986)
B. Evelyn Fox Keller and Helen E. Longino, editors. Feminism and Science (1996)
4. Current developments
A. Mainstream STS relation to feminist science studies
B. Actor-network theory and feminism
C. Recent influential works and themes from feminist science studies
a. New Materialism
b. Karen Barad's Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning (2007)

The Sociological Imagination and Postcolonialism: Multicultural Issues Science and Technology

The sociological imagination in science and technology issues

The relationship between micro and macro level in the Sociological Imagination

Understandings of social and historical forces in individual events

Individual problems in Science and Technology

Rationales individual events through science and technology

The social and historical forces at work in STS

Looking at some scientists’ biographies

Postcolonial issues in science and technology

Sandra Harding’s postcolonialism

Warwick Anderson’s postcolonial technoscience

Understandings of “third world” problems from the non-western context

The relationship between the sociological imagination and postcolonial issues in science and technology

How “western issues” become scientific and technological issues

Gurminder Bhambra’s rethinking modernity: postcolonialism and sociological imagination
Highlight some implications

Anderson, Warwick, Introduction: Postcolonial Technoscience Social Studies of Science, Vol. 32, No. 5/6. (Oct. - Dec., 2002), pp. 643-658.
Bhambra, K Gurminder. Rethinking Modernity: Postcolonialism and the Sociological Imagination, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007
Harding, Sandra, Is Science Multicultural? : Postcolonialisms, Feminisms, and Epistemologies. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1998
Mills, C Wright, the Sociological Imagination, London: Oxford University Press; 40th anniversary edition, 2000

Applying STS – Section Introduction

1. High Church Theory: The Role of Users in Social Construction of Technology (SCOT)

a. SCOT advocates Bijker/Hughes/Pinch bring users into focus of technology formation / meaning
1) SCOT text: core methodologies for STS students
2) SCOT case studies, applying the approach through examples

b. Critic Langdon Winner examined SCOT and philosophy of technology and identified issues
1) the social as static; defining the “social” in context
2) criticisms pave way for approaches such as Actor-Network Theory (Latour, Callon)

Section references:

Bijker, Wiebe E., Thomas P. Hughes, and Trevor Pinch, editors. The social construction of technological systems: New directions in the sociology and history of technology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012.

Winner, Langdon. "Upon Opening The Black Box and Finding It Empty: Social Constructivism and the Philosophy Of Technology." Science, Technology, and Human Values, 1993, 362-378.

2. Low Church Solutions: Technology Risk and Potential Solutions from the Users, by the Users, for the Users
a. Perrow describes the risks of living with specific technologies
1) tightly coupled systems, un-testable, with significant potential bad outcomes
2) rapid chain reactions mean that accidents are not anomalies; they are normal

b. Callon/Lascoumes/Barthe describe complexity of rapid tech advances, leading to complexities
1) Challenges, create difficult-to-understand controversies (global warming)
2) Complexities also bring opportunities (tech democracy, citizen participation)

c. Eric Von Hippel shifts locus of innovation from institutions to individual actions
1) Opportunities to share across boundaries: Open Source Software

Section references:

Perrow, Charles. Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies. New York: Basic Books, 1984.

Callon, Michel, Pierre Lascoumes, and Yannick Barthe. Acting in an Uncertain World: An Essay On Technical Democracy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009.

Von Hippel, Eric A. Democratizing innovation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005.

An Ethnography of the Polycom – by Amanda Phillips

A Very Brief Review of Literature

The opening paragraph will look at the works of scholars who have contributed to the field of the Ethnography of Science/Technology.

Including but not limited to: Latour, Gusterson, Traweek, Knorr-Cetina, and Dow-Schull.

Guiding questions: What do ethnographies teach us about scientific/technical communities?
How did our (STS 5424) technical community influence/constrain/impart upon the production of our social history project.

Looking Ethnographically at the Polycom

The Polycom is the technology that connects our two classrooms and made the advent of the social history project possible.

Rather than trying to attempt a whole ethnography of the class, which seems haphazard with the constraint on word limits, choosing one technology to look at ethnographically offers a way of looking briefly and specifically at an object's presence in a larger social community.

By analyzing simultaneously its ‘thingness’ ie. technological qualities as well as its impact on the learning environment, it is my hope to get a better sense of the larger sphere in which the social history took place

Guiding questions: How did the technological intervention of the polycom impact social interaction and cohesion in relation to the larger formation of the social history project.

General Conclusions/ Thinking Socially about Social Histories

Still unsure about the form that this paragraph will take as it will be dependent on the work submitted by others to generate a conclusion.

Will look here at what themes were picked by the course, and what potentially was excluded in this account.

Perhaps thinking over why certain exclusions were made.

Additionally, this conclusion will raise questions about how can this project be thought about as a product of a certain form of a knowledge community.

Is there anything that can be gained not just from looking at the information people gathered, but also the social forms that knowledge inhabited during the undertaking of this project?

Conclusion - Summarize previous contributions and their findings and provide closing remarks.

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