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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Advanced Theory in Science and Technology Studies (PGSP11371)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgrad (School of Social and Political Studies) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course gives postgraduate students the opportunity to pursue a more sophisticated understanding of key theoretical perspectives in science and technology studies (STS). Focusing on a wide range of thinkers and writings, Advanced Theory in STS challenges students to master the details of vital STS theory, and to consider ways of taking that theory in new, innovative directions.

Broadly, Advanced Theory in STS is designed for students interested in unpacking the ideas and arguments that underlie STS's understanding of science and technology. It is also of benefit to students who hope to further hone their critical thinking skills and expand their range of theoretical tools. Although focused on theoretical topics, the class attempts to demonstrate how theory and empirical research work collaboratively. Thus the class is also of relevance to those who hope to produce sophisticated, empirically-grounded research.

This course can be taken as a standalone by students outside of STIS, but it is designed to examine ideas introduced in semester one courses in greater detail. As such, attendance of 'Science, Knowledge and Expertise' and 'Understanding Technology' is recommended (but not required).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?No
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  16
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course, student will:

* have a comprehensive understanding of the intellectual foundations of the Strong Programme in the sociology of scientific knowledge, as well as the Strong Programme's key work.
* understand the Performative Theory of Social Institutions, including its notions of 'bootstrapped induction' and 'finitism.'
* be competent in Foucault's performative theory of subjectivity and understand how it relates to science and technology.
* be familiar with ontological issues concerning technological artefacts, as well as the role played by scientific and technological knowledge in crafting our understanding of things.
* be familiar with current developments in the study of technology, including the Biography of Artefacts approach.
* have developed their abilities to convey complex ideas through written and oral means (particularly through essay writing and seminar presentations).
Assessment Information
Assessment will be on the basis of a 4,000 word essay.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus 1 Experience and underdetermination: Hume and Quine
2 The Strong Programme in the sociology of scientific knowledge
3 The Performative Theory of Social Institutions
4 Finitism
5 Actor-Network Theory
6 Subjectification
7 Objects and ontology
8 The Biography of Artefacts
9 Rethinking 'design'
10 Science, engineering and epistemic species
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Quine, W.V.O. (1975). "On empirically equivalent systems of the world." Erkenntnis, 9: 313-328.

Bloor, D. (1976). Knowledge and social imagery. Chicago: Chicago UP, Chapters 1 and 2 (pp. 3-45).

Barnes, B. (1983). "Social life as bootstrapped induction." Sociology, 17(4): 524-545.

Bloor, D. (1997b). Wittgenstein, rules and institutions. London: Routledge, Chapters 2 and 3 (pp. 9-42).

Latour, B. (1992). "One more turn after the social turn..." In E. McMullin (Ed.), The social dimension of science (pp. 272-294). Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

Schyfter, P. (2009). "The bootstrapped artefact: A collectivist account of technological ontology, functions, and normativity." Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 40: 102-111.

Foucault, M. (1982). "The subject and power." Critical Inquiry, 8(4): 777-795.

Hacking, I. (1999a). "Making up people." In M. Biagioli (Ed.), The science studies reader (pp. 161-171). London: Routledge.

Latour, B. (2009). "A cautious Prometheus? A few steps toward a philosophy of design (with special attention to Peter Sloterdijk)." In F. Hackney (Ed.), Networks of design (pp. 2-10). Boca Raton, FL: Universal.

Vincenti, W. (1990). What engineers know and how they know it. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, Chapter 5 (pp. 137-169).
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Pablo Schyfter
Tel: (07880 874828)
Course secretaryMiss Jodie Fleming
Tel: (0131 6)51 5066
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