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SOCL906: The Social Life of Science and Technology: Theories and Debates

Department: Sociology NCF Level: FHEQ/QCF/NQF7//RQF7
Study Level: Postgraduate (Masters level) Credit Points: 20
Start Date: 08-10-2018 End Date: 22-03-2019
Available for Online Enrolment?: Y Enrolment Restriction: Fully available to all students
Module Convenor: Dr DV Singleton

Syllabus Rules and Pre-requisites

Curriculum Design: Outline Syllabus

  • Lectures cover the following:


    -        Introduction to science and technology studies ? its context and history

    -        Technology studies ? social construction of technology and actor-network theory

    -        Feminist, cultural and post-colonial studies of science and technology

    -        Situated knowledges and the politics of science and technology studies

    -        Transfer of technologies

    -        Managing multiplicity

    -        Cyborg visions

    -       Science, technology and publics

    -       Ethical issues and practices

  • 80% Essay(s)
  • 20% Written assessment

Assessment: Details of Assessment

  • 1. Formative assessment will be submitted in week 6 of the module in the format of a wiki entry on a key concept in STS. This will be 1000 words (20% of total mark) and feedback will be provided before the end of the module so as to help inform their essay writing. Students will give an oral presentation on their wiki entry to the class for peer feedback prior to submission.

    2. Summative assessment will take the form of a 4000 essay (80% of total mark) from a list of question options, submitted in the first week of the term following the end of the module. Feedback will be given within four weeks after submission.

Educational Aims: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • 1. The major theoretical approaches for understanding and explaining scientific knowledge and technological change;

    2. The implications of these approaches for the analysis, including the political analysis, of science and technology

    3. The implications of these approaches for the status of explanation, and the character of explanations appropriate to the social analysis of science and technology.

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • This series of lectures and seminars introduces students to the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) as we explore the workings of science and technology.  In addition to offering an account of the historical development of STS, the course will examine some of the underlying epistemological and methodological issues that currently characterise the field.  Drawing upon case studies of empirical work we will explore how scientific facts and technological objects are constructed and how they inter-relate with social and cultural contexts, including policy, the public and the media.  Specific contexts of practice that we will consider include information technologies, disability and assistive technologies, medical technologies, management technologies and domestic technologies.


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