Science studies and activism: possibilities and problems for reconstructivist agendas



Publication Details

Woodhouse, E., Hess, D., Breyman, S. & Martin, B. (2002). Science studies and activism: possibilities and problems for reconstructivist agendas. Social Studies of Science, 32 (2, April), 297-319.


Might a rapprochement be desirable and possible between the more academic and the more activist wings of STS? What can each learn from the other? A promising trajectory for this purpose may be to reinterpret and extend research in the constructivist tradition, building on recent work that appears to constitute the beginnings of a reconstructivist scholarly tradition. Some of the necessary work would be explicitly prescriptive: given that technology and society are mutually and reciprocally constructing, how should technologies be constructed, which social groups deserve inclusion in which processes, and how should closure be reached? But other issues might be taken up by scholars motivated exclusively by curiosity, or by the intention of building a subfield: what factors slow or prevent the emergence of entire subfields of technoscientific endeavour, as arguably has occurred with ‘green chemistry’, ‘alternative health’, and alternatives to weaponry-oriented national defence? Our intention is not to prescribe, but to help catalyse a next round of friendly discussion in STS about these and related matters, encouraging greater reflexivity of the field as a whole.

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