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SP10260: Science, technology and society

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2013/4
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Further information on credits Credits: 6
Further information on unit levels Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Further information on teaching periods Period: Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment: ES100
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment: Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
The aims of this unit are to introduce students to:
1.) Major historical events involving the sciences and how those events produce both technological innovation and social change. The Unit will simultaneously examine how societal changes also impact the sciences and technological production. From the Ancient World through the Twenty-First Century.
2.) Key theoretical perspectives which examine the relationships between science, technology, and society. These perspectives will cover both historical shifts and current practices.
3.) The interrelated epistemological relationships between sociology, the sciences, the STEM subjects (as a categorical concept), and concepts of society and technology.
4.) The Aims of this Unit also complement concepts and material in SP10043/44 Introductory Sociology, SP20112 Theoretical Issues 1: Structure and Agency and Other Dualisms in Social Theory, SP20069 Philosophy of the Social Sciences, and SP20062 Qualitative Social Research Methods and SP20160 Quantitative Data Analysis.

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of the unit the students should be able to:
1.) Critically understand and engage the historiographical and epistemological relationships between science, society, and technology.
2.) Understand and analyze how human knowledge is produced and put into practice by constituents within the STEM subjects and the Social Sciences.
3.) Critique how both popular and disciplinary definitions of science, technology and society produce ideas, objects, myths, and innovation in human history.
4.) Reflect on the ethical uses and abuses of knowledge as reflected by interdisciplinary studies of science, technology, and society
5.) Recognize how the Sociology of Science, the History of Science and Technology, and Social Policy complement, as well as challenge each other.

1.) To explore theoretical concepts related to science, technology, and society
2.) To source and scrutinize science, technology and society texts
3.) To develop analytic skills in critiquing science, technology and society
4.) To synthesise information from a number of sources to create a coherent argument
5.) To think creatively and analytically
6.) To develop and then communicate complex arguments
7.) To develop and improve written communication skills
8.) To reflect upon individual uses of technology in both scientific and societal discourse
9.) to use ICT to illustrate arguments.

1.) Keyword definitions of science, technology, and society.
2.) Uses of scientific and technological discourse in laws and practices governing the social sphere.
3.) How elected and appointed government officials use scientific and technological language to define social problems.
4.) How elected and appointed government officials use scientific and technological language to explain a solution for social problems.
5.) Scientific and Societal responses to Technological disasters and failures.
6.) Interdisciplinary texts: historical, contemporary and speculative. (Key authors: Donna Haraway, Catherine Waldby, Raymond Williams, Michel Foucault, Steven Shapin, Pierre Bourdieu, Bruno Latour)
7.) Analysing popular culture representations of science, technology and society in order to understand how key concepts are used and abused.
8.) Public understandings of scientific debates in broader national discourse, i.e., energy production, climate change, human tissue ownership.
9.) Social and Technical Innovations in understanding how the relationships between science, technology and society function.
10.) Religious debates about the origins of scientific knowledge and its presence in popular discourse.
11.) Sample Reading List: Donna Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women; Catherine Waldby, Tissue Economies; Steven Shapin, The Scientific Revolution; Judith Butler, Undoing Gender; Miichel de Certeau, History: Science and Fiction; Catherine Liu, Copying Machines; Norbert Wiener, The Human Use of Human Beings.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

SP10260 is Optional on the following programmes:

Programmes in Natural Sciences
  • UXXX-AFB01 : BSc (hons) Natural Sciences (Full-time) - Year 1
  • UXXX-AKB02 : BSc (hons) Natural Sciences with Industrial Placement (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 1
  • UXXX-AAB02 : BSc (hons) Natural Sciences with Study Year Abroad (Full-time with Study Year Abroad) - Year 1
Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • UHSP-AFB14 : BSc (hons) Applied Social Studies (Full-time) - Year 1
  • UHSP-AFB16 : BSc (hons) Social Policy (Full-time) - Year 1
  • UHSP-AKB16 : BSc (hons) Social Policy (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 1
  • UHSP-AFB05 : BSc (hons) Social Sciences (Full-time) - Year 1
  • UHSP-AKB05 : BSc (hons) Social Sciences (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 1
  • UHSP-AFB04 : BSc (hons) Sociology (Full-time) - Year 1
  • UHSP-AKB04 : BSc (hons) Sociology (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 1
  • UHSP-AFB10 : BSc (hons) Sociology and Social Policy (Full-time) - Year 1
  • UHSP-AKB10 : BSc (hons) Sociology and Social Policy (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 1

* This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2013/4 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2014/15 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2013/14.
* Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.
* Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.