Science, Power and the Construction of Facts: Introduction to Science and Technology Studies Part 2
Full course description
Science is the system of knowledge production through which truths are constructed, and as a consequence is an incredibly powerful institution that requires critical examination. At the same time, significant contemporary movements of “alternative facts” (Conway 2017) and “post-truth politics” are underway (Roberts, 2010). What is the relationship between these two phenomena, and how is power enacted through the establishment of “facts”? In order to understand the power Science enacts in its production of “facts” this course looks to the social, cultural, historical, political, and economic contexts through which science is practiced and scientific knowledge is circulated through society. With this focus on science, this course act as the follow-up of the Living in a Technological Culture course.
In this second introduction in Science and Technology Studies (STS) we will take a closer look at the production and dissimination of technoscience outputs, and will study science in action in its immediate environment as well as in its role and position in society. To do so we zoom in on processes in which credible facts are established and published and its collaborative character. Furthermore, this course also pays attention to the integrity of science and in particular its grey areas. Beside the immediate context in which scientific facts are established (i.e. the lab), the course also takes into account the wider socio-economic context in which science operates. This involves not only the commercialization of science, but also the way its promises and expectations are related to our hopes and fears. Finally, you will gain insights into the way the cultural-historical contexts affects not only the interpretation of facts but also of what ‘science’ is, and the conditions for its knowledge production. In this way, we unveil the Western identity of the hegemonic conceptualization of science and discuss its relation to social power structures.
It is along these lines that we enter the world of science. Based on discussions and analyses of these topics the course aims to make you reflect critically on ‘common sense’ views of the making and use of scientific claims. Besides tutorial meetings, the course also involves lectures, discussion meetings, video analysis, and an interview with a researcher.
By the end of this course students should be able:
- To describe the contemporary challenges and dynamics of knowledge production in the sciences.
- To identify the complexities of how scientific knowledge is distributed and communicated in society
- To critically analyze ‘common sense’ views of the making and use of scientific claims.
HUM2046 Living in a Technological Culture: Introduction to Science and Technology Studies
- The compulsary readings will be provided via CANVAS