Sociology of Science and Technology
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Sociology of Science and Technology

Soci 4930 6.0, Section A. 2007-2008


Janice Newson, Course Director.
Department of Sociology,
Faculty of Arts
2096 Vari hall,
736-2100 Ext 77986

This course provides final year students with an opportunity to apply the theoretical perspectives and methodologies they have learned in previous courses to the roles that science and technology are accorded in social life. Students are exposed to a diverse sociological literature including the recent theoreticial contributions of, and debates about, social constructivism, and science and technology as culture and practice. We analyse inter-actions between and among scientific knowledge, technological change and the political, economic and socio-cultural order. We explore longstanding debates about the "objectivity" and “neutrality” of science and technology and we assess the political choices that are embodied in specific applications of technology and lines of scientific inquiry. A major aim is to examine the distinctiveness and centrality of human agency in shaping a social-cultural world that is infused with scientific knowledge and technological know-how.

As an integrative capstone course, students have the opportunity to apply their explorations of the socio-cultural aspects of science and technology to their major or minor area of study. Major course projects can focus on, for example, the implications of specific technologies for mass communications, health services, work place organisation, educational institutions, and monitoring the natural environment; the portrayal of scientific knowledge in art, literature and film; and the epistemological and ontological implications of social and cultural studies of science for social theory generally.

Final year students majoring or minoring in sociology and final year students majoring in areas such as cultural studies, education, fine arts, health studies, labour studies, law and society, mass communication, women’s studies and any of the natural sciences with some sociology background are invited to enroll.


  1. Kleinman, Daniel Lee ( 2005) Science and Technology in Society: From Biotechnology to the Internet.
  2. Reading Kit for AS/SOCI4930 Section A. . Available at the York University Bookstore.


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