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A Companion to the Philosophy of Technology by Vincent F. Hendricks, Stig Andur Pedersen, Jan Kyrre Berg Olsen Friis

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The Origin and Development of the Social Construction of Technology

The social construction of technology (SCOT) grew out of the combination of three distinct bodies of work: the science–technology–society (STS) movement, the sociology of scientific knowledge and the history of technology. The first started in the 1970s, mainly in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Its goal was to enrich the curricula of both universities and secondary schools by studying issues such as scientists’ social responsibilities, the risks of nuclear energy, the proliferation of nuclear arms, and environmental pollution. The movement was quite successful, especially in science and engineering faculties, and some of the STS courses became part of the degree requirements. The sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) emerged in the late 1970s in the United Kingdom on the basis of work in the sociology of knowledge, the philosophy of science and the sociology of science. The central methodological tenets of the strong programme (especially its symmetry principle) seemed equally applicable to technology. In the history of technology, especially in the US, an increasing number of scholars began to raise more theoretical and sociologically inspired questions (influential were Constant [1980], Hughes [1983] and Cowan [1983]). Path-breaking advocacy for this body of work in the history of technology provided the reader edited by MacKenzie and Wajcman (1985). Researchers from ...

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