Science and Technology, better known in the English-speaking world by the name of science and technology studies (STS or TS & S), denotes an interdisciplinary social science research that has developed during the years 1960-1970.
STS studies how social, political, or cultural factors are involved in scientific research and technological innovation, and how in turn these affect society, politics, and culture. The program is currently applied in twenty universities around the world, providing the opportunity to pursue undergraduate studies in some institutions and Master’s and PhD in the field of STS.
The main components of STS have been developed independently starting from the 1960s, although the Genesis and development of a scientific fact (1935) by Ludwik Fleck is regarded as a precursor of the science and technology studies.
Meanwhile, the influence of work on social constructivism and the sociology of science by Karl Mannheim have also contributed to the implementation of the STS program, which follows the confluence of several fields of study relevant to various disciplines (history, philosophy, social sciences).
There thousands free sample research paper topics on Science and Technology on the Internet, which can be of great help for the beginners.
From these research proposals, they can learn that the principle fields of study are:
- Science Studies: the trend that most often represents the sociology of scientific knowledge; it analyzes scientific controversies and their socio-technical context at the core of their processes. This trend differs from the sociology of science initiated by Robert K. Merton refusing to conceive of science as an autonomous area (compared to the interests, passions or political), which statements would be universal. Instead, the thinkers of the “strong program” such as David Bloor and Barry Barnes, as well as Harry Collins with his “empirical program of relativism” consider science as human constructions as well as any other social practice. They also defend a principle of symmetry, which constrains the analyst to remain impartial and to consider equally success and failure, win and loss.
- History of Technology: is interested in technology from a socio-historical perspective. From the 1960s, some historians have questioned the “technological determinism,” a school of thought that postulates the passivity of the public in response to scientific and technological development. This perspective was soon abandoned and rejected as belonging to a positivist approach by a new generation historians, which began to develop a contextual approach to technology, taking particular interest in the history of medicine.
- Philosophy of Science / History of Science: in 1962, Thomas Samuel Kuhn published his famous book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, where he argued that the program changes in scientific theories are due to underlying intellectual paradigms and historical variables. This approach has resulted in the creation of programs incorporating this thesis in several universities like the University of California and Berkeley who contributed to the rapprochement between historians and philosophers of science.
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