A Pragmatist Contribution to Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Studies

Based on dr.polit dissertation in human geography, University of Oslo (2003): Constructing Urban Technology – Producing Urban Space. The Case of Geomatics in the Transformation of Water and Road Infrastructures.

The purpose of this essay is to develop a contribution to science, technology and innovation (STI) studies based on John Dewey’s instrumentalist version of pragmatism. First, I introduce the field of (STI) studies below (part 1). Second, I present two basic elements of Dewey’s philosophy (part 2). Third, I outline the technology conception deriving from the two elements (part 2). Fourth, a mode of inquiry into technological fields is outlined (part 2). 

Science, technology and innovation (STI) studies provide, each in their own way, a new window on how society is being structured, shaped and built. These studies give a backstage perspective on society by critically inquiring into the pertinent questions brought up by actual scientific and technological development. If science and technology sometimes seem to open the box of Pandora, STI studies try to open the black boxes of scientific creation, technological invention and wealth creation. In short, STI as a research community can be seen as “organized around the varying and cross-cultural manifestations of the relationship between social context and the processes, cultures and institutions involved with understanding, manipulating, and using nature” (Bowden 1995: 71).

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