Introduction: How the Sociology of Science and Technology Addresses Science and Society Relations

  • Ana DelicadoEmail author


The sociology of science and technology is paying growing attention to how the scientific field connects with other spheres of society. Increasingly pushed to leave their “ivory tower”, to become accountable to taxpayers, to generate useful, marketable products, to take responsibility for negative impacts, to engage with the concerns of citizens and stakeholders and regain their trust, scientists are thus incentivised to establish ties with non-academic actors. This chapter provides a brief overview of how the sociology of science and technology has been addressing the issue of science and society relations. It then summarises the chapters included in this book.



The editors are grateful to the European Sociological Association for funding the SSTNET 2016 workshop and the language revision of the book, and to the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon for hosting the workshop. The author also wishes to thank Fabienne Crettaz Von Roten and Katarina Prpić for their useful comments to this Introduction. We are also grateful for the useful comments of reviewers.


  1. Allum, N., Sturgis, P., Tabourazi, D., & Brunton-Smith, I. (2008). Science knowledge and attitudes across cultures: a meta-analysis. Public Understanding of Science, 17, 35–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bäckstrand, K. (2003). Civic science for sustainability: Reframing the role of experts, policy-makers and citizens in environmental governance. Global Environmental Politics, 3(4), 24–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bauer, M. (2008). Survey research and the public understanding of science. In M. Bucchi & B. Trench (Eds.), Handbook of public communication of science and technology (pp. 111–130). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Bauer, M. W. (2015). Atoms, bytes and genes: Public resistance and techno-scientific responses. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bauer, M. W., Petkova, K., & Boyhadjieva, P. (2000). Public knowledge of and attitudes to science: Alternative measures that may end the “science war”. Science, Technology and Human Values, 25(1), 30–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bauer, M. W., Allum, N., & Miller, S. (2007). What can we learn from 25 years of PUS survey research? Liberating and expanding the agenda. Public Understanding of Science, 16(1), 79–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beck, U. (1992). Risk society: Towards a new modernity. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  8. Beck, G., & Kropp, C. (2011). Infrastructures of risk: A mapping approach towards controversies on risks. Journal of Risk Research, 14(1), 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bickerstaff, K., Lorenzoni, I., Pidgeon, N. F., Poortinga, W., & Simmons, P. (2008). Reframing nuclear power in the UK energy debate: Nuclear power, climate change mitigation and radioactive waste. Public Understanding of Science, 17(2), 145–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bloor, D. (1976). Knowledge and social imagery. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  11. Blume, S. S. (1974). Towards a political sociology of science. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  12. Bornmann, L. (2013). What is societal impact of research and how can it be assessed? A literature survey. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 64(2), 217–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bourdieu, P. (1975). La spécificité du champ scientifique et les conditions sociales du progrès de la raison. Sociologie et Societés, 7(June 2011), 91–118.Google Scholar
  14. Brossard, D., & Scheufele, D. A. (2013). Science, new media, and the public. Science, 339(6115), 40–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Brown, P. (2006). “A lab of our own”: Environmental causation of breast cancer and challenges to the dominant epidemiological paradigm. Science, Technology and Human Values, 31(5), 499–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bucchi, M. (2008). Of deficits, deviations and dialogues: Theories of public communication of science. In M. Bucchi & B. Trench (Eds.), Handbook of public communication of science and technology (pp. 57–76). London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Burgess, H. K., DeBey, L. B., Froehlich, H. E., Schmidt, N., Theobald, E. J., Ettinger, A. K., & Parrish, J. K. (2017). The science of citizen science: Exploring barriers to use as a primary research tool. Biological Conservation, 208, 113–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Callon, M. (1984). Some elements of a sociology of translation: Domestication of the scallops and the fishermen of St Brieuc Bay. The Sociological Review, 32(1_suppl), 196–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Callon, M. (1999). The role of lay people in the production and dissemination of scientific knowledge. Science, Technology and Society, 4(1), 81–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cohn, J. P. (2008). Citizen science: Can volunteers do real research? BioScience, 58(3), 192–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cornwell, M. L., & Campbell, L. M. (2012). Co-producing conservation and knowledge: Citizen-based sea turtle monitoring in North Carolina, USA. Social Studies of Science, 42(1), 101–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Crall, A. W., Jordan, R., Holfelder, K., Newman, G. J., Graham, J., & Waller, D. M. (2013). The impacts of an invasive species citizen science training program on participant attitudes, behavior, and science literacy. Public Understanding of Science, 22(6), 745–764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Curtis, V. (2015). Motivation to participate in an online citizen science game: A study of Foldit. Science Communication, 37(6), 723–746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Decker, M., & Ladikas, M. (Eds.). (2004). Bridges between science, society and policy. Technology assessment – methods and impacts. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  25. Durant, J. (1996). Science museums or just museums of science? In S. Pearce (Ed.), Exploring science in museums (pp. 148–161). The Athlon Press: London.Google Scholar
  26. Edge, D. (1995). Reinventing the wheel. In S. Jasanoff, G. E. Marle, J. C. Peterson, & T. Pinch (Eds.), Handbook of science and technology studies (pp. 3–23). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  27. Edwards, R. (2014). The ‘citizens’ in citizen science projects: Educational and conceptual issues. International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 4(4), 376–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Felt, U., Fochler, M., Mager, A., & Winkler, P. (2008). Visions and versions of governing biomedicine: Narratives on power structures, decision-making and public participation in the field of biomedical technology in the Austrian context. Social Studies of Science, 38(2), 233–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Felt, U., Fouché, R., Miller, C. A., & Smith-Doerr, L. (2016). Introduction to the fourth edition of the handbook of science and technology studies. In U. Felt et al. (Eds.), Handbook of science and technology studies (pp. 1–26). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  30. Fiedeler, U. (2008). Technology assessment of nanotechnology: Problems and methods in assessing emerging technologies. In E. Fisher, C. Selin, & J. M. Wetmore (Eds.), Yearbook of nanotechnology in society: Presenting futures (pp. 241–263). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Frickel, S., & Moore, K. (2006). Prospects and challenges for a new political sociology of science. In S. Frickel & K. Moore (Eds.), The new political sociology of science: Institutions, networks and power (pp. 3–31). Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  32. Funtowicz, S., & Ravetz, J. (1993). Science for the post-normal age. Futures, 25(7), 739–755.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gibbons, M., Limoges, C., Nowotny, H., Schwartzman, S., Scott, P., & Trow, M. (1994). The new production of knowledge: The dynamics of science and research in contemporary societies. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  34. Gieryn, T. F. (1983). Boundary-work and the demarcation of science from non-science: Strains and interests in professional ideologies of scientists. American Sociological Review, 48, 781–795.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Glerup, C., & Horst, M. (2014). Mapping ‘social responsibility’ in science. Journal of Responsible Innovation, 1(1), 31–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Gregory, J., & Lock, S. J. (2008). The evolution of ‘public understanding of science’: Public engagement as a tool of science policy in the UK. Sociology Compass, 4, 1252–1265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Grunwald, A. (2011). Responsible innovation: Bringing together technology assessment, applied ethics, and STS research. Enterprise and Work Innovation Studies, 7, IET, pp. 9–31.Google Scholar
  38. Guston, D. H., & Sarewitz, D. (2002). Real-time technology assessment. Technology in Society, 24(1–2), 93–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hagstrom, W. O. (1965). The scientific community. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  40. Hegger, D., Van Zeijl-Rozema, A., & Dieperink, C. (2012). Towards successful joint knowledge production for global change and sustainability: Lessons from six Dutch adaptation projects. In A. E. J. Wals & P. B. Corcoran (Eds.), Learning for sustainability in times of accelerating change (pp. 149–166). Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hetland, P. (2011). Science 2.0: Bridging science and the public. Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy, 6, 326–339.Google Scholar
  42. Hulme, M. (2009). Why we disagree about climate change: Understanding controversy, inaction and opportunity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Irwin, A. (2015). Citizen science and scientific citizenship: Same words different meanings? In B. Schiele, J. Le Marec, & P. Baranger (Eds.), Science communication today: Current strategies and means of action (pp. 29–38). Paris: CNRS.Google Scholar
  44. Irwin, A., & Michael, M. (2003). Social theory and public knowledge. Maidenhead: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Irwin, A., & Wynne, B. (1996). Misunderstanding science? The public reconstruction of science and technology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Jasanoff, S. (1990). The fifth branch: Science advisers as policymakers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Jasanoff, S. (2003). Technologies of humility: Citizen participation in governing science. Minerva, 41(3), 223–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Jasanoff, S. (2010). Testing time for climate science. Science, 328, 695–696.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Jensen, E., & Buckley, N. (2014). Why people attend science festivals: Interests, motivations and self-reported benefits of public engagement with research. Public Understanding of Science, 23, 557–573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Jordan, R. C., Gray, S., Howe, D. V., Brooks, W. R., & Ehrenfeld, J. G. (2011). Knowledge gain and behavioral change in citizen-science programs. Conservation Biology, 25(6), 1148–1154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Kirby, D. (2014). Science and technology in film: Themes and representations. In M. Bucchi & B. Trench (Eds.), Handbook of public communication of science and technology (2nd ed., pp. 27–40). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  52. Knorr-Cetina, K. (2009). Epistemic cultures: How the sciences make knowledge. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Knot, M., & Luiten, H. (2006). User involvement in the development of sustainable product-service systems: The case of the personal mobility system “Mitka”. In P. P. Verbeek & A. Slob (Eds.), User behaviour and technology development (pp. 263–276). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Latour, B., & Woolgar, S. (1986). Laboratory life: The construction of scientific facts. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Lehmkuhl, M., Karamanidou, C., Mörä, T., Petkova, K., Trench, B., & AVSA-Team 2. (2012). Scheduling science on television: A comparative analysis of the representations of science in 11 European countries. Public Understanding of Science, 21(8), 1002–1018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Lidskog, R., & Sundqvist, G. (2012). Sociology of risk. In S. Roeser, R. Hillerbrand, P. Sandin, & M. Peterson (Eds.), Handbook of risk theory (pp. 75–105). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  57. Lovbrand, E., Pielke, R., & Beck, S. (2010). A democracy paradox in studies of science and technology. Science, Technology and Human Values, 36(4), 474–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Marris, C., Joly, P. B., & Rip, A. (2008). Interactive technology assessment in the real world: Dual dynamics in an iTA exercise on genetically modified vines. Science, Technology, and Human Values, 33(1), 77–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Martin, B. R., Nightingale, P., & Yegros-Yegros, A. (2012). Science and technology studies: Exploring the knowledge base. Research Policy, 41, 1182–1204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Mejlgaard, N., & Stares, S. (2009). Participation and competence as joint components in a cross-national analysis of scientific citizenship. Public Understanding of Science, 19(5), 545–561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Merton, R. K. (1973). The sociology of science: Theoretical and empirical investigations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  62. Miller, J. D. (1998). The measurement of scientific literacy. Public Understanding of Science, 7, 203–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Miller, D. (1999). Risk, science and policy: Definitional struggles, information management, the media and BSE. Social Science and Medicine, 49(9), 1239–1255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Miller, J. D., & Pardo, R. (2005). Civic scientific literacy and attitude to science and technology: A comparative analysis of the European Union, the United States, Japan, and Canada. In M. Dierkes & C. von Grote (Eds.), Between understanding and trust: The public, science and technology (pp. 54–88). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  65. Nov, O., Arazy, O., & Anderson, D. (2014). Scientists@Home: What drives the quantity and quality of online citizen science participation? PLoS One, 9(4), e90375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Nowotny, H., Scott, P., & Gibbons, M. (2003). ‘Mode 2’ revisited: The new production of knowledge. Minerva, 41, 179–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Nurmikko, T., Dahl, J., Gibbins, N., & Earl, G. (2012). Citizen science for cuneiform studies. In WebSci 2012 (pp. 1–6). Evanston.Google Scholar
  68. Peters, H. P., Dunwoody, S., Allgaier, J., Lo, Y. Y., & Brossard, D. (2014). Public communication of science 2.0: Is the communication of science via the “new media” online a genuine transformation or old wine in new bottles? EMBO Reports, e201438979.Google Scholar
  69. Pielke, R. A. (2007). The honest broker: Making sense of science in policy and politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Prainsack, B., Geesink, I., & Franklin, S. (2008). Stem cell technologies 1998–2008: Controversies and silences. Science as Culture, 17(4), 351–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Rabeharisoa, V., & Callon, M. (2004). Patients and scientists in French muscular dystrophy research. In S. Jasanoff (Ed.), States of knowledge. The co-production of science and social order (pp. 142–160). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  72. Raddick, M. J., Gay, P. L., Lintott, C. J., Haven, N., & Szalay, A. S. (2010). Galaxy Zoo: Exploring the motivations of citizen science volunteers. Astronomy Education Review, 9.Google Scholar
  73. Renn, O. (1995). Style of using scientific expertise: A comparative framework. Science and Public Policy, 22(3), 147–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Renn, O. (2004). The challenge of integrating deliberation and expertise. In T. Macdaniels & M. J. Small (Eds.), Risk analysis and society: An interdisciplinary characterisation of the field (pp. 289–366). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  75. Reyes, J. A. L. (2015). Cross-section analyses of attitudes towards science and nature from the International Social Survey surveys. Public Understanding of Science, 24, 338–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Riesch, H., & Potter, C. (2014). Citizen science as seen by scientists: Methodological, epistemological and ethical dimensions. Public Understanding of Science, 23(1), 107–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Riise, J., & Alfonsi, L. (2014). From liquid nitrogen to public engagement and city planning: The changing role of science events. Journal of Science Communication, 13(04), C03.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Rip, A., & Te Kulve, H. (2008). Constructive technology assessment and socio-technical scenarios. In E. Fisher, C. Selin, & J. M. Wetmore (Eds.), Yearbook of nanotechnology in society: Presenting futures (pp. 49–70). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Schäfer, M. S. (2012). Taking stock: A meta-analysis of studies on the media’s coverage of science. Public Understanding of Science, 21(6), 650–663.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Schiele, B. (2014). Science museums and science centres: Evolution and contemporary trends. In M. Bucchi & B. Trench (Eds.), Handbook of public communication of science and technology (2nd ed., pp. 40–57). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  81. Schmidt, J. C. (2016). Prospective technology assessment of synthetic biology: Fundamental and propaedeutic reflections in order to enable an early assessment. Science and Engineering Ethics, 22(4), 1151–1170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Schomberg, R. (2012). Prospects for technology assessment in a framework of responsible research and innovation. In M. Dusseldorp & R. Beecroft (Eds.), Technikfolgen abschätzen lehren: Bildungspotenziale transdisziplinärer Methoden (pp. 39–61). Wiesbaden: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Shackley, S., & Wynne, B. (1996). Representing uncertainty in global climate change science and policy: Boundary-ordering devices and authority. Science, Technology and Human Values, 21(3), 275–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Shirk, J. L., Ballard, H. L., Wilderman, C. C., Phillips, T., Wiggins, A., Jordan, R., & Bonney, R. (2012). Public participation in scientific research: A framework for deliberate design. Ecology and Society, 17(2), 29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Silvertown, J. (2009). A new dawn for citizen science. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 24(9), 467–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Simonsen, J., & Robertson, T. (2012). Participatory design: An introduction. In J. Simonsen & T. Robertson (Eds.), Routledge international handbook of participatory design (pp. 21–38). London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Stocklmayer, S. (2005). Public awareness of science and informal learning – A perspective on the role of science museums. The status of research on learning science within informal education settings think pieces. Chicago: The National Academies Center for Education Board on Science Education. Last accessed October 9, 2019, from
  88. Sturgis, P., & Allum, N. (2004). Science in society: Re-evaluating the deficit model of public attitudes 1. Public Understanding of Science, 13, 55–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Suleski, J., & Ibaraki, M. (2010). Scientists are talking, but mostly to each other: A quantitative analysis of research represented in mass media. Public Understanding of Science, 19(1), 115–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Tavella, E. (2016). How to make participatory technology assessment in agriculture more “participatory”: The case of genetically modified plants. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 103, 119–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Trench, B. (2008). Internet: Turning science communication inside-out? In M. Bucchi & B. Trench (Eds.), Handbook of public communication of science and technology (pp. 185–198). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  92. van der Sluijs, J., van Eijndhoven, J., Shackley, S., & Wynne, B. (1998). Anchoring devices in science for policy: The case of consensus around climate sensitivity. Social Studies of Science, 28(2), 291–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Venturini, T. (2010). Diving in magma: How to explore controversies with actor-network theory. Public Understanding of Science, 19(3), 258–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Venturini, T. (2012). Building on faults: How to represent controversies with digital methods. Public Understanding of Science, 21(7), 796–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Weingart, P. (1999). Scientific expertise and political accountability: Paradoxes of science in politics. Science and Public Policy, 26(3), 151–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Wherton, J., Sugarhood, P., Procter, R., Hinder, S., & Greenhalgh, T. (2015). Co-production in practice: How people with assisted living needs can help design and evolve technologies and services. Implementation Science, 10(1), 75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Whitley, R. (2010). Reconfiguring public sciences: The impact of governance changes on authority and innovation in public science systems. In R. Whitley, J. Gläser, & L. Engwall (Eds.), Reconfiguring knowledge production: Changing authority relationships and their consequences for intellectual innovation (pp. 3–47). Oxford University Press: New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal

Personalised recommendations