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The following pages provide the audio files of, and a short introduction to, the lectures of this course

Session 1 - Introduction: issues of technology and development

To avoid disappointment with the content of this audio file, it should be noted that in this agenda-setting meeting both Bijker and the 2006 UNU-MERIT PhD students spend a significant amount of time to introduce themselves. After these introductions the basic structure of the course is explained. Bijker thinks it is more fruitful to let students work through problems themselves, and let lecturing come in only after students have encountered problems. For this reason, the audio recordings are to be seen as "sessions" rather than lectures, as students will play an important part in the creation of the content of the sessions. In the body of this session, Bijker goes into the course outline and clarifies his ideas on the course. The final part of the meeting is designated to establishing broad issues which should become clear throughout the course.


Introduction: issues of technology and development


Session 2 - The Social Construction of Technology (SCOT)

Where in session 1 Bijker elaborated on some techniques helpful when one needs to read a social science book in a limited amount of time, in this session student's experiences with this are discussed. Thereafter, Bijker explains what writing a PhD thesis in the Netherlands entails. Then, a broad range of issues PhD students came up with are  discussed.  Questions relating to the Social construction of Technologuy are discussed, as well as questions that apply this theoretical framework to issues in developing countries.


The Social Construction of Technology (SCOT)


Session 3 - The Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (SSK)

In this session, Bijker explains Collin's 1984 article on "researching spoonbending" , with particular reference to Collins' methodology chapter. Then questions are posed around the concepts in the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge like the notion of "translation", on the policy implications of  research in SSK and on essential differences between social sciences and life sciences.


The Sociology of Scientific Knowledge


Session 4 - Doing technology studies research

In this session, the methodology of a then forthcoming PhD thesis by Babette Mueller-Rockstroh on "Ultrasound Travels: The Politics of a Medical Technology in Ghana and Tanzania" are discussed. Important questions on qualitative research methods are posed and discussed in this session.  These questions include to what extent qualitative research results are replicable, how generalizable results from the local are to the global, and how one can asess to what extent a qualitative research paper is convincing. Next to this students are urged to think about what kind of policy implications a Science and Technology Studies (STS) might have.


Doing Technology Studies Research


Session 5 - The Vulnerability of Technological Cultures

In this session, questions on the nature of the Vulnerability of Technological Cultures are posed. These questions range from questions on Shah's article like the what is the relationship between farmer's suicide and technological vulnerability, to broader questions like what one could do with the awareness that our technological cultures are vulnerable in a particular, and according to Bijker desirable, way. Next to this, concepts like "agency" in STS and the "precautionary principle" are discussed.

The Vulnerability of Technological Cultures 


Session 6 - Research and Technology for Development

In this session the group spends some time talking about 'inclusive' policy processes. These are processes where instead of applying innovation policy from the developed countries, a group of stakeholders from both developed and developing countries develop appropriate policies together. This sounds obvious to us today, but according to Bijker, these were new ideas not so long ago. He used his own work (mostly for the Dutch government) to exemplify this idea.


Research and Technology for Development 


Session 7 - Indigenous Knowledge and Technology

In this session, the group goes into questions around why some forms of knowlegde appear to be more credited than other forms of knowledge. In an attempt to answer this question, they specifically pay attention to the question of what is so special about scientific knowledge, which is to ask the question: is the validity of scientific knowledge universal? Next to this Bijker will go into the questions of whether it is useful to make the distinction between hi-tech and low-tech, and will delve into the history of the appropriate technology movement.


Indigenous Knowledge and Technology


Session 8 - Back to Development Issues

In this session, 3 groups (of each 3 students) will each give a 15 minute presentation on different sets of readings.


Back to Development Issues

Copyright 2013, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource. Lectures . (2007, November 01). Retrieved October 28, 2013, from UN University OCW Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons License