Universität Wien FIND

Return to Vienna for the summer semester of 2022. We are planning to hold courses mainly on site to enable the personal exchange between you, your teachers and fellow students. We have labelled digital and mixed courses in u:find accordingly.

Due to COVID-19, there might be changes at short notice (e.g. individual classes in a digital format). Obtain information about the current status on u:find and check your e-mails regularly.

Please read the information on https://studieren.univie.ac.at/en/info.

230128 SE Re-constructing epistemic cultures in the age of technoscience (2016S)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 23 - Soziologie
Continuous assessment of course work

Registration/Deregistration

Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).

Details

max. 25 participants
Language: English

Lecturers

Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Friday 08.04. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Friday 15.04. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Friday 22.04. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Friday 29.04. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Friday 13.05. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Friday 20.05. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Friday 03.06. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Friday 10.06. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Friday 17.06. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Friday 24.06. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

Aims: This course aims at making students familiar with the concepts of 'epistemic cultures' and 'technoscience' as well as at enabling them to actively apply these concepts in their own work. Students share and further deepen their knowledge about emerging sciences and technologies, including patterns of socialisation, community building, research practice and identity/boundary work. Thereby, an empirical focus will lie on contemporary life sciences, additional examples will cover further research fields. Empirical methods such as interviews, field work and text analysis are addressed as a means for researching (techno)epistemic cultures.

Contents: The concept of 'epistemic cultures' as coined by Knorr-Cetina in the 1990s hints at an ethnographic approach in studying science, at a focus on cultural aspects of science as well as at the plurality of epistemic cultures prevalent within science. Apart from further highlighting the social dimension of doing research, it has been drawn upon to better make sense of processes of socialisation and enculturation during university education, of conflicts arising in multidisciplinary research projects or of persistent expert dissent, to name just three contexts of application.
Within this course, the concept is taken up and tested for a further application: to better grasp contemporary ambiguities in the general constitution of doing, talking, governing and being in science. Therefore, the course will combine Knorr-Cetina’s ethnographic approach with recent literature on an (allegedly emerging) technoscience era and trace potential manifestations of the latter at the level of epistemic cultures. Key texts targeting cultural aspects of (techno)science - such as socialisation/enculturation, the scientific persona, research practice, identity & boundary work - are presented and discussed in view of a contrasting juxtaposition of epistemic versus techno-epistemic conditions.
Along these discussions, we will continuously re-address the following questions: Are contemporary epistemic cultures oriented primarily towards understanding or alternatively towards construction and creation? At which levels are such orientations manifesting in which ways? Do the relations between the different levels of doing, talking, governing and being in (techno)science differ? What are the potential ramifications of such differences or ambiguities for (techno)science, (techno)science-in-society and STS?

Methods: This course includes literature-based theoretical discussions as well as hands-on empirical work in an alternating mode: each sub-theme is introduced by scholarly literature and later on addressed by short empirical tasks. Teaching methods hence encompass critical reading and discussion of selected STS literature; one field visit to life science lectures; the comparative analysis of two scientific papers from the life sciences; analysis of media coverage of a specific speciality; analysis of one interview text. Participants are requested to hand in / present critical discussions of selected STS texts and short reports on the outcomes of their own empirical work.

Assessment and permitted materials

To pass the seminar, students are expected to complete the following tasks:
- Active participation throughout the course, including one excursion
- Reading of key literature and preparation of five short summaries / discussions to be handed in before each session (= 'reading responses' below; to be handed in via email to kkast@oeaw.ac.at 24 hours before each session the latest; no more than one page)
- Conduct of three empirical exercises + presentation in oral and written form (15 minutes presentation of empirical findings with handout on each exercise; one written report of about 4,000 words including methods, results, discussion and conclusions for one of these exercises to be handed in via email to kkast@oeaw.ac.at until August 7th, 2016; empirical exercises, oral presentation and written report will be conducted in teams of two or more as group work)
- Reflection of own disciplinary background and epistemic culture (to be included in all the above)

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Grading Scheme
The grading scheme is based on a total of 100 points. These points will be awarded in relation to students’ performance in meeting the course learning aims in the different obligatory tasks.
The maximum number of points to be acquired for each task is:

Active participation: 25 points, assessed individually
Written reading responses: 25 points, assessed individually
Written reports on empiricial work: 30 points, assessed as group work
Oral presentation and handout: 20 points, assessed as group work

Minimum requirements
A minimum of 50 points is necessary to successfully complete the course. Failure to meet the attendance regulations, to deliver course assignments on time or to adhere to standards of academic work may result in a deduction of points.

Grades
100-87 points: Excellent (1)
86-75 points: Good (2)
74-63 points: Satisfactory (3)
62-50 points: Sufficient (4)
49-0 points: Unsatisfactory (5) (fail)

Attendance
Presence and participation is compulsory. Absences of four hours at maximum are tolerated, provided that the lecturer is informed about the absence. Absences of up to eight hours in total may be compensated by either a deduction of grading points or/and extra work agreed with the lecturer. Whether compensation is possible is decided by the lecturer.
Absences of more than eight hours in total cannot be compensated. In this case, or if the lecturer does not allow a student to compensate absences of more than four hours, the course cannot be completed and is graded as a 'fail' (5), unless there is a major and unpredictable reason for not being able to fulfil the attendance requirements on the student’s side (e.g. a longer illness). In such a case, the student may be de-registered from the course without grading. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate this in a timely manner, and to provide relevant evidence to their claims if necessary. Whether this exception applies is decided by the vice-director of studies responsible for the master programme.

Important Grading Information
If not explicitly noted otherwise, all requirements mentioned in the grading scheme and the attendance regulations must be met. If a required task is not fulfilled, e.g. a required assignment is not handed in or if the student does not meet the attendance requirements, this will be considered as a discontinuation of the course. In that case, the course will be graded as 'fail' (5), unless there is a major and unpredictable reason for not being able to fulfill the task on the student's side (e.g. a longer illness). In such a case, the student may be de-registered from the course without grading. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate this in a timely manner, and to provide relevant evidence to their claims if necessary. Whether this exception applies is decided by the vice-director of studies responsible for the master programme.
If any requirement of the course has been fulfilled by fraudulent means, be it for example by cheating at an exam, plagiarizing parts of a written assignment or by faking signatures on an attendance sheet, the student's participation in the course will be discontinued, the entire course will be graded as 'not assessed' and will be entered into the electronic exam record as 'fraudulently obtained'. Self-plagiarism, particularly re-using own work handed in for other courses, will be treated likewise.

Examination topics

Reading list


Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:39