SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY STUDIES
The Department of Science, Technology and Society Studies at the University of Klagenfurt dedicates its research and teaching to the vital role of knowledge and technologies in contemporary societies.
Since science and technology feature in virtually every domain of life, the work of the department covers a wide range of issues: from the creation of knowledge and novel technologies to the persistent social influence of stabilized artifacts and infrastructures; and from grand societal challenges to practices of adopting or opposing science and technology that generate global transformations.
Our department is one of the few in the field of Science, Technology & Society Studies (STS) in the German-speaking world and a member of the European Inter-University Association on Society, Science and Technology (ESST).
The field of Science, Technology and Society Studies (STS) emerged in the 1970s from both academic and activist concerns with the social dimensions and implications of research and innovation. Since its very beginning, the field has followed an interdisciplinary approach, including perspectives from history, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, and feminist studies. STS research focuses both on the processes and conditions through which science and technology develop and the effects of science and technology in ordering contemporary societies. Scholars ask how science and technology interact with, shape, and are shaped by diverse social actors, relations, and processes. Themes of interest range from knowledge production in laboratories, to uptake of new technologies, to the roles of science and technology in public decision-making and the potential for democratizing science and technology. STS research not only focuses on the natural sciences, engineering, and medicine as its objects of study, but also increasingly analyzes practices in the social and human sciences as well as so-called ‘soft’ technologies, such as classifications, standards, and guidelines.
At the Department of Science, Technology and Society Studies at the University of Klagenfurt, researchers use a broad range of social science methods for studying topics like climate engineering, gene banks, kinship measurements, computational modeling, large-scale research collaborations, or the digitalization of welfare bureaucracies. The department’s work contributes significantly to the field of STS at both a national and international level, in particular to debates on sustainability, infrastructures, and knowledge & democracy.
For students, the STS department offers one of the few German MA degrees in the field, but also the opportunity to pursue the European Master’s Programme on Society, Science and Technology (ESST). Moreover, department members teach in technical study programs to promote reflection on the social and ethical dimensions of technology early on and thus contribute to responsible research and development.
The doctoral program in STS offers graduates of the cultural and social sciences the possibility to pursue projects on topics across the entire breadth of the field. Particularly welcome are projects on one of the department’s three overarching themes: sustainability, infrastructures, and knowledge & democracy.