The Turn to Technology in Social Studies of Science

Science, Technology and Human Values 16 (1):20-50 (1991)
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Abstract

This article examines how the special theoretical significance of the sociology of scientific knowledge is affected by attempts to apply relativist-constructivism to technology. The article shows that the failure to confront key analytic ambivalences in the practice of SSK has compromised its original strategic significance. In particular, the construal of SSK as an explanatory formula diminishes its potential for profoundly reconceptualizing epistemic issues. A consideration of critiques of technological determinism, and of some empirical studies, reveals similar analytic ambivalences in the social study of technology. The injunction to consider "technology as text" is critically examined. It is concluded that a reflexive interpretation of this slogan is necessary to recover some of the epistemological significance lost in the constructivist move from SSK to SST.

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