Universität Wien
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233032 VO Techno-Science and Society: Communicating and Interacting (2021S)

Central Issues, Questions and Concepts

4.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 23 - Soziologie


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


Language: English

Examination dates


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Monday 08.03. 09:30 - 11:30 Digital (Kickoff Class)
Monday 22.03. 09:30 - 11:30 Digital
Monday 19.04. 09:30 - 11:30 Digital
Monday 26.04. 09:30 - 11:30 Digital
Monday 03.05. 09:30 - 11:30 Digital
Monday 10.05. 09:30 - 11:30 Digital
Monday 17.05. 09:30 - 11:30 Digital
Monday 07.06. 09:30 - 11:30 Digital
Monday 14.06. 09:30 - 11:30 Digital
Monday 21.06. 09:30 - 11:30 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

The aim of this lecture course is to give students an understanding of interactions and engagement processes between technoscience and society, and of challenges relating to these interactions. We will address the multiplicity of settings in which science and society interact, investigating the actors involved and the processes these interactions entail.

We start by mapping the central issues at stake and the actors typically involved in technoscience-society interactions. We will then engage with questions of different forms of societal participation in governing technoscientific developments as well as in knowledge-making. Next, we will scrutinize the role of values, affect and responsibility when technosciences and society engage with each other. This leads us to reflect on the politics of scientific communication and engagement, with a specific focus on governance and future making. It also means looking into issues of who holds expertise and thus power in the public arena when it comes to political decision-making, investigating the role science and technologies play in making (national) identities, and studying what responsibilities are involved in science communication and diverse forms of engagement with society. We will also explore what happens when science and law come to interact and when (big) data comes to ‘speak for’ society. Finally, we will look at risk and disaster situations and trace how communication and interaction work out there. Throughout the lecture, students will be introduced to important approaches and concepts that have been developed to address those questions. The lecture course is accompanied by a discussion class (KO 233033).

Assessment and permitted materials

The grade will be based on the student’s performance in an open book written exam at the end of the term. Registration for the exam via u:space is obligatory. Questions will be based on the lecture and slides. Students are expected to develop a thorough understanding of the concepts introduced, and a qualified overview of the fields of research surveyed in the lecture. To perform well in the exam, students are advised to have engaged with key literature for each unit (clearly identified in the slides). In this, it is not necessary to read every book and paper mentioned. Rather, students should selectively use the literature to deepen their understanding of key concepts introduced in the lecture. Further exam dates will be offered in the middle of the winter term, and the end of the winter term. These dates will be announced in September.

The exam will consist of two short answer questions (responses should be 200-300 words) and one longer essay question (the response should be 900-1000 words). The exam will take place online and students are permitted to consult the lecture slides and other relevant material. Grades will therefore be based not only on the ability to retain, and make use of, the material discussed in the lectures, but on students’ capacity to discuss this critically and to use it within original argumentation. No list of potential questions will be available.

The course uses the plagiarism-detection service Turnitin to detect plagiarism in the exam.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The examination for the lecture will be graded on a basis of 100 points in total.

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)

Examination topics

Learning materials for the exam are the oral lectures given and the pdfs of the slides available on the e-learning platform. The questions for the written exam will be based on what we have discussed in class. No list of potential questions will be available.

Reading list

Association in the course directory

MA HPS: M 1.1, M 1.2, M 1.3

Last modified: Fr 12.05.2023 00:20