A Place for Science and Technology Studies
Observation, Intervention, and Collaboration
232 pp., 6 x 9 in, 10 b&w illus.
- Published: January 9, 2024
- Publisher: The MIT Press
An exploration of science and technology studies in eight different places, and the possibilities that arise for observation, intervention, and collaboration.
Where does science and technology studies (STS) belong? In A Place for Science and Technology Studies, Jane Calvert takes readers through eight different rooms—the laboratory, the conference room, the classroom, the coffee room, the art studio, the bioethics building, the policy room, and the ivory tower—investigating the possibilities and limitations of each for STS research.
Drawing from over a decade of work in synthetic biology, Calvert explores three different orientations for STS—observation, intervention, and collaboration—to ask whether there is a place for STS, which, as an undisciplined field, often finds itself on the periphery of traditional institutions or dependent on more generously funded STEM disciplines. Using examples of failures and successes and tackling enduring concerns about the relations between social scientific researchers and their fields of study, Calvert argues for an approach to STS that is collaborative yet allows for autonomy.
“Jane Calvert's very compelling immersion within the worlds of synthetic biology is among the most accomplished exemplars of contemporary ethnography. 'Rooms' are its most appealing site strategy, brilliantly imaginative and mundane.”
George E. Marcus, author of Ethnography Through Thick and Thin
“A Place for Science and Technology Studies is a candid look at the complexities of STS scholarship in the high-stakes world of contemporary science. A valuable discussion of the possibilities and politics of the increasingly important field of STS.”
Stephen Hilgartner, Frederic J. Whiton Professor of Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University
“This remarkably inviting and engaging book will quickly become essential reading in methods classes in science and technology studies and the social sciences more broadly.”
Jenny Reardon, author of The Postgenomic Condition