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Archive for July, 2010

Technology Studies Needs Both Priests and Missionaries

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

(or: Your technology may be political, but who cares?)

I am a longtime admirer and participant in the intellectual crossroads known as Science and Technology Studies (STS). I first read Langdon Winner‘s “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” and he changed my life.  In my first job I had the chance to organize a conference around my own research interests, and my choice for the keynote was Steve Woolgar (“Laboratory Life,” “The Machine at Work,” “Science, The Very Idea,” “Virtual Society?”).

My intellectual links to STS were formed in  graduate school but I continue my involvement in an STS program now as a faculty member.  I really enjoyed the last 4S conference, where I presented some of my recent work, and I’d like to think it was well received.  I say all this to introduce this post because I want to emphasize that I feel like an STS insider.

In the last few weeks I’ve had a conversation like the one I’ll describe below with three other STS insiders, so I thought I’d share it.  Tell me if I’m crazy.

[Click to enlarge — original photo by lawprier on flickr]

If you’ve read any STS, you know by now that STS scholars typically make arguments of the form: “What you thought was technical is actually political!” Read the rest of this entry »

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