We expect that when we fall ill and see a doctor, our treatment will be based on the best scientific evidence. We are inspired by the comet landing achieved by the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission. We call on our governments to listen to what the science is telling us about climate change or species extinction.
Information and communication technologies are such a ubiquitous part of our lives that it is hard to imagine work, friendships, leisure, shopping or our most intimate relationships without them. Most of us have at least heard of someone who broke up with their partner by sending a text message from their mobile phone!
For many of us, our mobile or tablet computer feels like an extension of our body and a core part of our identity, without which we feel naked and lost. The media regularly calls on us to consider matters of concern for our societies that involve science and technology: Are the new technologies of surveillance including drones eroding our privacy and freedom? How should human stem cell research be regulated? Rapid technological change seems to be continuously transforming our lives and our social relationships.
Written by Dr Anni Dugdale, this chapter in Sociologic investigates the main approaches that can be used to understand and make sense of the complex relationships between science, technology and society.
Most of us have absorbed very simplistic theories or lenses through which we view the interaction between science, technology and society. The argument of this chapter is that we need to understand the dynamics between science and technology on the one hand, and society, culture and human behaviour on the other.
Sociology offers us more sophisticated ways to imagine and think about science, technology and society. While the book draws on a range of theories and models to do this, here are some additional resources to help you understand the many complexities of science and technology in society: