Servizi per la didattica
PORTALE DELLA DIDATTICA
2018/19

Science and technology studies

How can a technical object modify the way in which we interact? How do our relations change with the introduction of new technologies? Can our everyday routine prevent the diffusion of new products? What is the social impact of major infrastructural projects? Do working practices influence the way a design project is conceived and carried out? If we think about common innovations such as the substitution of the moka with coffee-capsules machines, the diffusion of the Wii console, the use of Tinder, the diffusion of various system for the separate collection of garbage or the construction of wind farms, those above are questions that we continuously raise. The course in Social Studies of Science and Technology intends to introduce students to approaches and methods enabling to look for answers to these questions in a systematic, rigorous and verifiable ways, so that these answers can be taken into account within the various phases of the design and engineering processes. The course aims at providing students with competences enabling to take into account, describe, compare and discuss the ways in which projects to which they contribute can influence social relations and, on the other hand, how social relations, through which any design or engineering project unfold, can influence a project. The course consists then in an introduction to Social Studies of Science and Technology or, more shortly, Science and Technology Studies (STS) focused on design – broadly intended – and on those methodological tools, coming from social sciences, which can be integrated within the project, in order to take into account the social complexity of what is designed. Two will be the inquiry methods on which the course will focus: ethnography and controversy mapping. The ethnographic method consists in the direct observation of people’s behaviors within their lifeworld. It will be tackled as ethnography of designing processes, as well as ethnography of the life of artifacts. Controversy mapping will be tackled as a tool in order to highlight the negotiating character of technological innovation and to describe specific situation where such negotiations took place. Topics tackled along the course will be: the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT); artifacts’ capacity to act and produce effects and the ways in which all that can be described thanks to the concepts of script and de-scription; the Theory of Social Practices; the role of users; the biography of artifacts and the domestication process they go through (Domestication Theory); the shared management of innovation processes; the tracking, analysis and mapping of design controversies; the politics of technology; innovation and the related social processes. The course will tackle such topics mainly through case studies – some introduced and discussed in class, other deepened through home reading of articles – and through home and class assignments, such as: comparison and schematization of articles; short descriptions of technical objects’ use through ethnographic observations; description of the social relations inscribed in technical objects; mapping of design controversies.

Science and technology studies

How can a technical object modify the way in which we interact? How do our relations change with the introduction of new technologies? Can our everyday routine prevent the diffusion of new products? What is the social impact of major infrastructural projects? Do working practices influence the way a design project is conceived and carried out? If we think about common innovations such as the substitution of the moka with coffee-capsules machines, the diffusion of the Wii console, the use of Tinder, the diffusion of various system for the separate collection of garbage or the construction of wind farms, those above are questions that we continuously raise. The course in Social Studies of Science and Technology intends to introduce students to approaches and methods enabling to look for answers to these questions in a systematic, rigorous and verifiable ways, so that these answers can be taken into account within the various phases of the design and engineering processes. The course aims at providing students with competences enabling to take into account, describe, compare and discuss the ways in which projects to which they contribute can influence social relations and, on the other hand, how social relations, through which any design or engineering project unfold, can influence a project. The course consists then in an introduction to Social Studies of Science and Technology or, more shortly, Science and Technology Studies (STS) focused on design – broadly intended – and on those methodological tools, coming from social sciences, which can be integrated within the project, in order to take into account the social complexity of what is designed. Two will be the inquiry methods on which the course will focus: ethnography and controversy mapping. The ethnographic method consists in the direct observation of people’s behaviors within their lifeworld. It will be tackled as ethnography of designing processes, as well as ethnography of the life of artifacts. Controversy mapping will be tackled as a tool in order to highlight the negotiating character of technological innovation and to describe specific situation where such negotiations took place. Topics tackled along the course will be: the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT); artifacts’ capacity to act and produce effects and the ways in which all that can be described thanks to the concepts of script and de-scription; the Theory of Social Practices; the role of users; the biography of artifacts and the domestication process they go through (Domestication Theory); the shared management of innovation processes; the tracking, analysis and mapping of design controversies; the politics of technology; innovation and the related social processes. The course will tackle such topics mainly through case studies – some introduced and discussed in class, other deepened through home reading of articles – and through home and class assignments, such as: comparison and schematization of articles; short descriptions of technical objects’ use through ethnographic observations; description of the social relations inscribed in technical objects; mapping of design controversies.

Science and technology studies

Students will be familiarized with notions, categories and models coming form the Social Studies of Science and Technology and with social research methods. Such familiarization does not aim to make students appropriate these notions, categories, models and methods in order to use them effectively, but in order to be able to consider them within design processes – also through the reading of scientific and specialist literature – and in order to be able to dialogue with social researcher embedded or not into the design processes.

Science and technology studies

Students will be familiarized with notions, categories and models coming form the Social Studies of Science and Technology and with social research methods. Such familiarization does not aim to make students appropriate these notions, categories, models and methods in order to use them effectively, but in order to be able to consider them within design processes – also through the reading of scientific and specialist literature – and in order to be able to dialogue with social researcher embedded or not into the design processes.

Science and technology studies

The participation to the course does not require a specific propaedeutic preparation. However, the addressed topics and the required assignments presuppose a good disposition to reading, to observation and to self-observation, together with a minimal knowledge related to text editing and to the (passive) knowledge of English for some readings, as well as to a basic knowledge of computers and their main applications.

Science and technology studies

The participation to the course does not require a specific propaedeutic preparation. However, the addressed topics and the required assignments presuppose a good disposition to reading, to observation and to self-observation, together with a minimal knowledge related to text editing and to the (passive) knowledge of English for some readings, as well as to a basic knowledge of computers and their main applications.

Science and technology studies

1. The relation society-technology (9) The first part of the course intends first of all to introduce various approaches to the theorization and analysis of the relations between technology and society. From there the first part will focus on STS approaches, especially the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) and Actor-Network Theory (ANT) and the Theory of Social Practice. 2. Ethnography: from faraway villages to labs to design studios (15) The second part of the course intends to introduce ethnography as preferred method for the acquisition of knowledge within STS, first of all presenting ethnography in general, as method derived from anthropology, then showing the relevance that it has had for the development of STS and finally showing the way ethnography has been used within the study of design processes. 3. Ethnography of artifacts, script and their description (20) The third part of the course will focus on artifacts – especially technical objects –, the way in which they act and take part to social relations and the methods used to describe these processes. Besides analyzing, through the concept of script, what technical objects make do to their users and how their configuration predispose certain social relations and prevents other ones, approaches to the biographies of objects, such as the Domestication Theory will be introduced. Domestication Theory allows understanding what happens to artifacts once they arrive into users’ households. 4. Design controversy mapping (10) The fourth part of the course intends to introduce the issue of controversies and of their mappings, also through references to digital tools used to do such mapping as, among others, IssueCrawler and CorText. 5. Rethinking Innovation (6) On the ground of the previous sections, in this latter one a reflection on the ways in which to think, describe and design innovation will be introduced.

Science and technology studies

1. The relation society-technology (9) The first part of the course intends first of all to introduce various approaches to the theorization and analysis of the relations between technology and society. From there the first part will focus on STS approaches, especially the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) and Actor-Network Theory (ANT) and the Theory of Social Practice. 2. Ethnography: from faraway villages to labs to design studios (15) The second part of the course intends to introduce ethnography as preferred method for the acquisition of knowledge within STS, first of all presenting ethnography in general, as method derived from anthropology, then showing the relevance that it has had for the development of STS and finally showing the way ethnography has been used within the study of design processes. 3. Ethnography of artifacts, script and their description (20) The third part of the course will focus on artifacts – especially technical objects –, the way in which they act and take part to social relations and the methods used to describe these processes. Besides analyzing, through the concept of script, what technical objects make do to their users and how their configuration predispose certain social relations and prevents other ones, approaches to the biographies of objects, such as the Domestication Theory will be introduced. Domestication Theory allows understanding what happens to artifacts once they arrive into users’ households. 4. Design controversy mapping (10) The fourth part of the course intends to introduce the issue of controversies and of their mappings, also through references to digital tools used to do such mapping as, among others, IssueCrawler and CorText. 5. Rethinking Innovation (6) On the ground of the previous sections, in this latter one a reflection on the ways in which to think, describe and design innovation will be introduced.

Science and technology studies

Science and technology studies

Science and technology studies

The course entails home and class assignments, such: comparison and schematization of articles; short descriptions of technical objects’ use through ethnographic observations; descriptions of the social relations inscribed in technical objects; mapping of design controversies also through the use of digital applications such as IssueCrawler, CorText, etc.

Science and technology studies

The course entails home and class assignments, such: comparison and schematization of articles; short descriptions of technical objects’ use through ethnographic observations; descriptions of the social relations inscribed in technical objects; mapping of design controversies also through the use of digital applications such as IssueCrawler, CorText, etc.

Science and technology studies

The publications that will be used and the bibliography considered will be integrated along the course. Nevertheless, it is possible to provide a preliminary list of references - Bijker, W., Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change, the Mit Press, 1995. - Latour B., Science in Action, Harvard University Press, 1987. - Mattozzi A. (a cura), Il senso degli oggetti tecnici, Meltemi, 2017 - Yaneva A., Mapping Controversies in Architecture, Ashgate, 2009 or, alternatively, Lorenzet A., Il lato controverso della tecnoscienza. Nanotecnologie, biotecnologie e grandi opere nella sfera pubblica, Il Mulino, 2013.

Science and technology studies

The publications that will be used and the bibliography considered will be integrated along the course. Nevertheless, it is possible to provide a preliminary list of references - Bijker, W., Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change, the Mit Press, 1995. - Latour B., Science in Action, Harvard University Press, 1987. - Mattozzi A. (a cura), Il senso degli oggetti tecnici, Meltemi, 2017 - Yaneva A., Mapping Controversies in Architecture, Ashgate, 2009 or, alternatively, Lorenzet A., Il lato controverso della tecnoscienza. Nanotecnologie, biotecnologie e grandi opere nella sfera pubblica, Il Mulino, 2013.

Science and technology studies

Modalità di esame: prova orale obbligatoria;

Science and technology studies

The assessment of students’ work will take place along the course through assignments and through a final oral examination.

Science and technology studies

Exam: compulsory oral exam;

Science and technology studies

The assessment of students’ work will take place along the course through assignments and through a final oral examination.



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