Welcome to the Untitled Science Studies Blog!
…erm… hopefully it will soon have a somewhat more inspiring title.
This brief introductory post, like that title, is not going to be terribly substantial, but should lay out the subject matter of this blog, its purpose and what I hope to accomplish with it.
First, a bit about myself. My name is Cameron Roberts. I have just started a PhD in Science and Technology Studies at Manchester Business School. Before that, I was a masters student studying Science, Technology, and International Development at the University of Edinburgh, and in my undergraduate years I studied Philosophy and the History of Science and Technology at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In every stage of my education, I have focused on issues concerning the equity and sustainability of transportation from a historical perspective. My current PhD dissertation concerns the role played by socio-cultural factors in shaping the policy and infrastructure that contributes to what we now know as “car culture”.
This is not my first blog. I have a political and philosophical blog which I continue to maintain. this blog, however, will have a very different purpose from that one. The idea for this blog came from a series of conversations with my fellow Masters students in Science and Technology Studies at the University of Edinburgh. We were all amazed at what the field of STS had managed to accomplish in its short life-span, and equally amazed at how little awareness there was of that success outside of the ivory tower. We decided that this needs to change. More specifically, we decided that the popularization of science and technology studies would be a major responsibility of the next generation of STS scholars, which will hopefully include us. The intention of this blog is to make a tiny baby step towards the fulfilment of that responsibility.
It is probably useful at this point to explain something about what exactly I mean when I talk about science and technology studies. Those of us who study it are generally not scientists or engineers, though there are exceptions to that rule. Instead, we are a community of historians, sociologists, philosophers, economists, political theorists, and others who talk about how science and technology interact with society at large. This is a very important question. It touches on issues like the political, economic and technical challenge of getting people to adopt low-carbon technologies, the feminist implications of evolutionary psychology, and the role of workplace technology in mediating labour relations. The implications of these questions have considerable political importance, and go right to the heart of our society as it currently exists.
The purposes of this blog are three-fold. Firstly, we aim to make the debates and conclusions of science and technology studies available to a wider audience. Secondly, this blog is an experiment: we want to see how effectively the complex academic debates and conclusions of our field can be shared with a popular audience. Lastly, this blog is a sounding board-a way for us to think through our own research by writing about it informally. If all goes according to plan, we will eventually have a small community of regular and guest posters commenting on the politics, economics, sociology, and philosophy of all aspects of science, technology and medicine.
It’s an ambitious goal, but I figure it’s worth a shot. And a distraction from a PhD thesis is always a welcome thing.
More to come.