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23. Science and Technology Studies: From Controversies to Posthumanist Social Theory

Sophia Roosth and Susan Silbey

Subject Sociology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405169004.2009.00024.x


Science and Technology Studies (STS) names a heterogeneous body of research, scholars, journals, professional associations, and academic programs that focus on the history, social organization and culture of science and technology. Begun in the 1960s in response to the recognizable growth in science in the contemporary world and to the educational and economic policy implications of this explosion of scientific research and development, STS also responded to issues of public responsibility that seemed to be engendered by technological innovation. In the 1960s, the Vietnam War encouraged scientists to become politically active; in 1975, the Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA set a precedent in which scientists regulated their own community, established formal norms, and supported legally enforceable guidelines for research; and in the early 1980s, public recognition of the AIDS epidemic sparked rumors of the virus's origin in laboratory mishaps. The burgeoning synergy of attention and concern in the late twentieth century produced, by the twenty-first century, a continuous concatenation between science and public policy concerns. By the time STS first emerged as an interdisciplinary conversation, significant accounts of the work of scientists, the production of scientific knowledge, and the impact of technological innovation had been produced in each of the social sciences from ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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