01 August 2012

Must Reads for a Graduate STS Seminar

Over the next week I will be putting the finishing touches on my syllabus for my fall graduate seminar. I am teaching a new class (new for me, that is) which is part of our Graduate Certificate Program in Science and Technology Policy. The course is an introduction to the social science of science -- which commonly goes under the labels science, technology and society (STS) or science and technology studies (also, STS).

Of course, I have many ideas about what I want to include (too much in fact, as I am sure my students can attest). I have also checked out the syllabus archive at the Science and Democracy Network and the syllabus archive at 4S, both wonderful resources. A core text will be Sismondo 2010 -- An Introduction to Science and Technology Studies (2nd edition).

With this post I am inviting readers to recommend what they think should be on such a syllabus. I welcome input from STS specialists as well as amateurs. What readings -- books, articles, essays, whatever -- are core to the social science of science?

Thanks!

10 comments:

  1. My number one recommendation is "Reef Madness- Charles Darwin, Alexander Agassiz and the Meaning of Coral" by David Dobbs. The book chronicles the 19th century Academic battles between Academic supporters of Louis Agassiz and Darwin and the tactics employed to crush dissenting scientific views (a mirror of today's climate wars- though the book does not go there).

    The book when discussing Alexander Agassiz (Louis's son) noted he“viewed skeptically the more strident expressions of Darwinism and creationism because he had seen the madness made when scientists took theory as dogma.”

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  2. "The Ultimate Resource" by Julian Simon. He has been proved right time after time, but gets little credit. Don't know if it is appropriate for your course, but a good introduction to his work can be found in Wired Magazine in an article entitled "Doomslayer."

    JD Ohio

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  3. Roger, I taught a similar course about ten years ago and used an earlier edition of Rosenberg's PHILOSOPHY OF SOCIAL SCIENCE and had very good results with it--students liked it and understood it (upper division undergrads and grads). There is always Ziman's classic but perhaps too dated for your use.

    Philosophy of Social Science

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  4. I think Collins & Evans work (_Rethinking Expertise_, and the original 2002 article in _SSS_) is useful, and unlikely to receive fair treatment in orthodox STS accounts.

    Also worthwhile and at the STS margins is Leah Ceccarelli (2011), Manufactured scientific controversy: Science, rhetoric, and public debate. _Rhetoric & Public Affairs,_ 14(2), 195-228.

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  5. Putting the hippies on the payroll


    Green Capitalism: Manufacturing Scarcity in an Age of Abundance, by James Heartfield


    "The rise of green capitalism is not just expressed in demands for restraining mass consumption, but also in changed attitudes towards production. A system that prioritises profit over people has little difficulty retooling its performance to engage in unproductive activities, as long as it can make money.

    Just as the corporate raiders of the 1980s saw that it was possible to make money by breaking industry up rather than building it up, so today’s green capitalists realise that it is possible to make big bucks without doing very much at all – by ‘manufacturing scarcity’.

    Here, Heartfield identifies carbon trading, ‘clean energy’, environmental land retirement and green belt housebuilding restrictions as the key examples where output is squandered in favour of (green) profits: ‘restricting output and so driving up prices is one short-term way to secure profits’ (p34).



    http://www.culturewars.org.uk/2008-03/heartfield.htm


    http://www.amazon.com/GREEN-CAPITALISM-Manufacturing-scarcity-abundance/dp/1906496102/ref=la_B004OB12EO_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1343855559&sr=1-2

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  6. A Step Further Out by Jerry Pournelle?

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  7. I second the Evans/Collins recommendation.

    Thomas
 Gieryn,
 “Boundary
 Work 
and 
the
 Demarcation
 of
 Science
 from
 Non‐Science,”
 American
 Sociological
 Review
 48:
781‐95. 
1983.


    Steven 
Epstein,
 “Drugs 
into 
Bodies,” 
Impure
Science: 
AIDS,
Activism,
 and
 the
 Politics 
of 
Knowledge 
(Berkeley: 
UC
Press),
 1996.



    Steven
 Shapin,
 “Knowing
 About
 People
 and
 Knowing
 About
 Things: 
A 
Moral
 History
 of 
Scientific
 Credibility,”
 A
 Social
 History 
of 
Truth:
 Civility 
and
 Science
 in 
Seventeenth‐Century 
England
 (Chicago:
University
 of
Chicago 
Press),
 1994.


    Theodore
 Porter,
 “US 
Army 
Engineers 
and
 the 
Rise
 of
 Cost‐Benefit
Analysis,”
 Trust 
in
 Numbers:
 The
 Pursuit 
of 
Objectivity 
in
 Science 
and
Public 
Life
 (Princeton:
Princeton
 University 
Press),
 1995.


    Thomas
 Nickles, 
“Justification 
and
 Experiment,” 
in
 David
 Gooding,
 Trevor
 Pinch,
 and 
Simon
 Schaffer,
 The
 Uses
 of 
Experiment 
(Cambridge:
Cambridge
 University 
Press),
1989.


    Geof
 Bowker
 and
 Leigh
 Star,
 “The 
Case
 of
 Race 
Classification
 and
Reclassification 
Under
 Apartheid," 
Sorting
 Things
 Out:
 Classification 
and 
Its
 Consequences
 (Cambridge:
MIT
 Press),
2000.


    These are all from Clark Miller's Human and Social Dimensions of Science & Technology core seminar, first semester syllabus... you should get a copy of the whole thing, there's lots more really good stuff on it--e.g., Heilbroner, Hughes, Charles Perrow, Sheila Jasanoff...

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  8. Even if it was the hardest thing I had to read during my maters course:
    Bruno Latour Science in Action

    For a really good class discussion:
    Collins & Evans "The Third Wave of Science Studies Studies of Expertise and Experience"
    & the 3 responses from Jasanoff, Wynne, and Arie Rip in SSS (June 2003)

    and...
    Brian Wynne, May the Sheep Graze Safely? ....
    'Expert' & 'Lay' knowledge

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