Teaching the Social Construction of Technology: Time to Revise or Time to Forget?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


A wealth of classical texts has been produced in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). This literature plays an important role in teaching. Apart from being used to educate new generations of academicians, teaching is also a way in which members of a scientific community engage with the theoretical foundations of their field. While acknowledging the value of the STS heritage, a range of issues have arisen due to the nature of the classical texts. Many of these texts were written in the 1980s and include claims that may be viewed in a different light today. Those teaching the classical STS literature not only need to take early reviews into account but also recent findings that are relevant to the issues at stake. In this paper, I discuss Pinch and Bijker’s “Social Construction of Technology” (SCOT) and point out weaknesses in this highly regarded work. The findings of contemporary cycle research challenge the empirical foundation upon which Pinch and Bijker developed the conceptual claims of SCOT. Against this backdrop, the goal of writing this paper was to encourage a critical reading of Pinch and Bijker’s classical work and propose a way in which the “Social Construction of Technology” can be taught in an informed way.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the STS Conference Graz 2019
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Issues in Science, Technology, and Society Studies
EditorsGünter Getzinger, Michaela Jahrbacher
PublisherVerlag der Technischen Universität Graz
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-85125-668-0
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2019
Event18th Annual STS Conference Graz 2019: Critical Issues in Science, Technology and Society Studies - Hotel "Das Weitzer", Graz, Austria
Duration: 6 May 20197 May 2019

Publication series

NameScience, Technology and Society
ISSN (Electronic)2663-9440


Conference18th Annual STS Conference Graz 2019
Internet address


  • Teaching STS
  • STS
  • Core Literature
  • SCOT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Fields of Expertise

  • Sonstiges


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