Wiebe Bijker’s Reflections on Science, Technology and Democracy (and a Plea for Bold Modesty)

bijker_ideasenieCan STS offer a response to “alternative facts” without falling back into naive positivism? Can STS help to make science accountable to society and make it work—make it function in our democracies and let it produce scientific knowledge? In his valedictory lecture, Wiebe Bijker looks back upon three decades of STS research in general, and upon engaging STS with questions of democratization and development in particular. He starts from the question how to study technological cultures and ends with the question how to construct them. The argument moves from the social construction of technology to constructing socio-technical worlds. Finally, when trying to understand this construction work, the analysis zooms in on the constructing worlds: on the institutions in which this construction work takes place.

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