Towards the Participation of Social Sciences and Humanities in the Practical Realms of Technology

By Susana Nascimento and Alexandre Pólvora.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

The acts of making something are usually unfamiliar to social and human researchers, who are more accustomed to an observant position regarding the technical moments of conception and construction. From the standpoint of the social sciences and humanities, this paper argues for a different approach to technological realms. Our goal is to move increasingly from detached studies to more interactive encounters, mainly through a commitment to working directly with researchers and practitioners from engineering, design, architecture and other technical fields. We argue that, although multiple analyses have been attentive to technological phenomenons and its empirical ramifications, there still lingers an overall passivity towards the possibilities of transforming them through synergistic research and development platforms. The external character of social and human sciences contacts with technology can be changed via interdisciplinary efforts, ranging from conceptual exchanges to methodological interferences in construction stages. By presenting joint experiences, we aim at a clearer picture of actual and potential benefits from dialogues between social, human and technical disciplines. At the end, our goal is for social sciences and humanities to produce not only interdisciplinary spaces of interaction, regarding the technological spheres of invention, production, distribution, or use and consumption planning, but also to transform these same spheres, from internal concepts and processes to the concrete artefacts by which they are accountable for.

Keywords: Interdisciplinarity, Science and Technology Studies, Social Sciences and Humanities, Engineering, Design and Architecture, Technological Processes, Active Engagements

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp.61-72. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 759.124KB).

Susana Nascimento

Postdoctoral Researcher at CIES-IUL at ISCTE-IUL / Lisbon University Institute, and Associate Researcher at CETCOPRA at University Paris 1 / Panthéon-Sorbonne., CIES-IUL/Center for Research and Studies in Sociology, ISCTE-IUL/Lisbon University Institute, Lisboa, Portugal

Postdoctoral Researcher at CIES-IUL of ISCTE-IUL since January 2010 with research grant awarded by FCT-MEC, and also Associate Researcher at CETCOPRA of University Paris 1 since December 2009. Management Committee Member and Portuguese coordinator in CIES of COST Action IS1007 “Investigating Cultural Sustainability”. Ph.D. in Philosophy at University Paris 1, and also Ph.D. in Sociology at ISCTE-IUL In (2009), supported by scholarship grants awarded by FCT-MEC and Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. Visiting Scholar at the Department of Science and Technology Studies of RPI/Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2006. DEA-Master in Philosophy: Forms of Rationality/Anthropology and Sociology from University Paris 1 (2004). B.A. (Hons) in Sociology in 2001 and Postgraduate Studies Diploma in Communication, Culture and Information Technologies in 2002, both from ISCTE-IUL. Current research interests are situated in the area of Science and Technology Studies, with a focus on sociological, philosophical and anthropological issues, particularly on Public Engagement with Science and Technology, Participatory and Community-based research, Environmental and Social Sustainability, Local Energy Planning, and Science and Technology policy-making.

Alexandre Pólvora

Researcher at CETCOPRA / Centre d’Etude des Techniques des Connaissances et des Pratiques of University Paris 1/ Panthéon-Sorbonne, CETCOPRA/Centre d’Etude des Techniques des Connaissances et des Pratiques, University Paris 1/Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris, France

Researcher at CETCOPRA of University Paris 1/Panthéon-Sorbonne, and Committee Member of COST Action IS1007 “Investigating Cultural Sustainability” at CIES-IUL at ISCTE-IUL. Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy at the Philosophy UFR of University Paris 1, and in Sociology at the School of Sociology and Public Policies of ISCTE-IUL, supported by grants of Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian and Philosophy UFR of University Paris 1. Visiting scholar at the Department of STS/Science and Technology Studies of RPI/Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2006. DEA-Master in Philosophy (Anthropology and Sociology) from University Paris 1 (2005), and BA (Hons) in Sociology from ISCTE-IUL (2004). Work fields and research interests are primarily in Science, Technology and Society and Social Studies of Everyday Life, with specializations in Philosophy of Technology; Phenomenological Sociology; Modern Material Cultures; Waste and Recycling; Environmental and Social Sustainability; Practical Interdisciplinarity Between Social and Technological Sciences; Participatory and Community-Based Frameworks for Technological Development; Open Science and Technology Models; Grounded Theories, Ethnography and Epistemology of Qualitative Methods.

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