What is STS?

What is STS?

Recently, Science and Technology Studies (STS) started to capture the attention of the academic world. You can trace back its roots all the way to the World War I and II up to the Cold War. Historians, sociologists of science, and even scientists noticed how scientific knowledge and technology change society.

Authors like Thomas Kuhn fanned the interest by writing The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The seminal book explored how social programming influenced historical and social studies of science.

It was a novel idea when the book was first published. It mean that supposed scientific truths weren’t objective facts rooted in reality but the result of socially conditioned minds.

The book inspired social scientists to explore the relationship between science, technology, and how they affect
other areas of society including law, politics, and culture.

The following list contains many great books in the field of science, technology and society for those who want to explore those intriguing concepts.

Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences
Geoffrey C. Bowker, Susan Leigh Star

Sorting Things Out isn’t easy to read but it’s a fundamental work that explores the subject under a new light. Both of the authors are communication professors at the University of California. In their book, they detail how once a classification system is set in motion it takes over society in subtle, invisible ways.

They used three main examples to illustrate their point: the International Classification of Diseases, the Nursing Interventions Classifications, the South African race classification under apartheid, and others.

The book explores the role classification plays in mega infrastructures, the relationship between classification and biography, and classification in professional settings. It further explores the effects of classification on society, politics, and economy.

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