|Course Type||Course Code||No. Of Credits|
Semester and Year Offered: Winter 2012
Course Coordinator and Team:Dr.Bidhan Chandra Dash
Email of course coordinator:firstname.lastname@example.org
AimScience and technology play important roles in our lives. However, understanding how science, technology, and society work together in shaping the world we inhabit is not easy. The attempt here isnot only to disentangle the multiple relationships between science, technology, and society, but also to understand how human beings perceive, relate, receive and experience the world around them through scientific knowledge and technological artefacts. Instead of treating science and technology as a matter of impact and implementation, this course will introduce a ‘new sociology’ which assumes that scientific knowledge and technological artefacts are socially shaped, not just in their usage, but also in their design and technical content. Science and technology is contested and constructed by societies, collectivity and institutions. The course will debate, whether the production and consumption of scientific knowledge is the prerogative and proprietary of a privileged few, or else society, culture and lived experiences of people play a significant role in the process? Why do we happily retreat into the world of machines? Is the modern world so taxing that human beings sometimes prefer to reconstitute it through technology? This course will attempt to unravel the multiple ways in which science and technology, individuals and institutions mutually shape one another to the benefit and sometimes detriment of society.
- To introduce the students to the studies in science and technology and the foundational literature in the discipline of science and technology
- To reorient the students to the social dynamics of scientific innovations and the social aspect of technology
- To demystify the presented narrative of technology as a major force in social transformation.
- To introduce the students to the social shaping and construction of scientific knowledge and technology.
- To equip the students with major sociological debates on science and technology.
On successful completion of this course students will be able to:
- Critically evaluate the narratives of technological change and scientific innovations.
- Understand the process of innovation and production of technology from a sociological perspective.
- Have a basic knowledge of the core literatures and empirical works in the area of science and technology.
- Have a nuanced understanding of society and technology interplay in bringing about change in society.
- Relate to the material production of technology with that of the social and cultural context.
- Develop an interdisciplinary understanding of science, scientific knowledge and technological production.
- Develop a comparative perspective to the studies of science and technology
- Make a clear cognate connection between protests and movements to social and political transformation.
Brief description of modules/ Main modules:
The course is divided into seven modules. The first two modules are theoretical approaches through which the students discuss and debate over various issues on science and technology that are flagged in the next five modules
Module-I: Science, Technology and Sociology of Knowledge
This module introduces the students to the field of Science and Technology Studies. We begin with the Popper and Kuhn debate and trace it back to the ideas of rationalization of the world propounded by Max Weber. The module ends with a reflection on the Frankfurt school critique of scientific knowledge.
Module-II: Constructivism and Actor-Network: Critique
This module introduces the students to the emerging perspective of social construction of technology and Actor-Network theory which has comprehensively questioned the commonsenescial understanding of technology as a factor of impact and implementation.
Module-III: (Re)addressing Technology, Change and Resistance
This module interrogates the dominant narrative of change brought about by scientific progress and technological innovations. It brings back society into focus of study by looking at how scientific knowledge and technological innovations are products of specific conditions of society.
Module-IV: Media in Digital Age: Culture and Politics
This module discusses the central role of media (both mass and digital media) in the creation and construction of contemporary culture, economy and society. It looks at the politics in the age of digital media.
Module-V: Technoculture and Cultural Technologie
This module attempts to understand the emergence of technoculture that explains every aspect of social and cultural life in terms of technology and contrasts it with the increasing production of cultural technology that are created to control and manage contemporary society.
Module-VI: Science Fictions and Myth Making
This module aims at providing an understanding of fiction in production and dissemination of technology and the use of the same in the myth making process that impact the culture and politics of our society.
Module-VII: Almost Human: (Re)editing of Body and Cyborg
This module discusses the emerging social issues flagged with the innovations and the possibilities thereafter in the field of biotechnology.
Assessment Details with weights:
There will be 4 assessments in this course apart from the regular class participation
- In class participation- 20%
- Field Visits and assessment- 20%
- Term Paper-30%
- Class Test-30%
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