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date: 22 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents science and technology studies (STS) as a new island in a preexisting disciplinary archipelago. As a field, STS combines two strands of work dealing, respectively, with the nature and practices of science and technology (S&T) and the relationships between science, technology, and society. As such, STS research focuses on distinctive objects of inquiry and employs novel discourses and methods. The field confronts three significant barriers to achieving greater intellectual coherence, and institutional recognition. First, it must persuade skeptical scientists and university administrators of the need for a critical perspective on S&T. Second, it must demonstrate that traditional disciplines do not adequately analyze S&T. Third, it has to overcome STS scholars’ reluctance to create intellectual boundaries and membership criteria that appear to exclude innovative work. A generation of scholars with graduate degrees in STS are helping to meet these challenges.

Keywords: STS, science and technology studies, epistemology, discipline, social construction, relativism, scientific practice, boundary work.

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