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233042 SE Innovation Policy and Politics (2019S)

A Critical Analysis

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

Registration/Deregistration

Details

max. 25 participants
Language: English

Lecturers

Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Monday 29.04. 11:30 - 12:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien (Kickoff Class)
Monday 20.05. 13:00 - 16:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Thursday 23.05. 14:00 - 17:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Monday 27.05. 13:00 - 16:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Friday 31.05. 10:00 - 14:00 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Monday 03.06. 13:00 - 16:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Thursday 06.06. 14:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

Innovation has long been treated as an important instrument for social betterment, including improved health and safety, increased wealth, political empowerment, and even social justice. Governments have created research funding, intellectual property, and small business-focused policies and institutions to increase innovation, assuming that social benefit will result. And in recent decades, we have even seen international development institutions attempt to revitalize their work through innovation "labs" and "marketplaces". Yet, there is growing concern that these institutions and policies are not necessarily in the public interest nor do they clearly benefit society. Citizens have challenged policies related to emerging technologies such as genetically modified foods, arguing that they do not take the ethical, socioeconomic, health, and environmental implications adequately into account. STS and other scholars have demonstrated innovation policies have mixed impacts, often reflecting societal priorities and sometimes even exacerbating problems and inequalities.

In this course, students will learn how to critically assess the government institutions and policies devoted to innovation around the world, in particular their moral, social, economic, and political implications. They will also investigate whether there might be alternatives - such as grassroots, social, and inclusive innovation and feminist approaches - that might be more socially just, and consider how and where alternatives might be politically palatable and likely to be implemented. We will explore the following types of questions: How do the institutions and policies that govern innovation imagine their social responsibilities, including their commitment to social justice? And more broadly, what kinds of moral, social, and political orderings do these institutions and policies assume? Do these institutions and policies change over time, or across national context, and what does this tell us about how political culture and history shape our approaches to innovation and innovation policy? What are the consequences of efforts to translate Western approaches to innovation and commercialization to the developing world? The course will cover historical and cross-national cases of innovation policy and politics, including the history of intellectual property in both the North and South, controversies over the governance of emerging technology, the evolving role of innovation in international development policy, and the rise of social, grassroots, and responsible innovation. The course will be discussion-based, with both the instructor and students taking shared responsibility in leading the conversation.

Assessment and permitted materials

To pass the seminar, students are expected to complete the following tasks:
- Students must participate actively in the discussions and read the seminar literature (as well as the handouts written by discussion leaders, as described below) prior to arriving in class for each session.
- Students will work together in groups (usually 2-3 people) to lead one class discussion. They will put together a handout (3-4 pages) for the other students that synthesizes the key themes of the session’s readings, discusses how the day’s readings relate to those themes, consider how these themes relate to previous weeks’ readings, and propose questions to trigger class discussion. They will then begin class with an oral presentation that summarizes their handout and sparks the day’s discussion. The handout should be distributed to the class via Moodle by midnight before the next class.
- Students will write a 3,000 word term paper that approaches innovation critically, using an STS/political lens as taught throughout the course. Students may choose to focus on a particular example of innovation or innovation policy, and will likely need to do some outside research to write a successful paper. It should reach a clear set of conclusions regarding the academic and/or policy-related significance of the paper. The topic of the paper (including the research question, approach, and potential sources) must be agreed with the instructor in advance of the course. The final paper must also include a cover page, table of contents, and full set of references (reference style is up to the student, but must be consistent throughout), and be double-spaced. The paper should be submitted via email (shobita@umich.edu) by midnight on June 9th.

'This course uses the plagiarism-detection service Turnitin for larger assignments.'

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:

Participation: 30 points; Assessed individually; Feedback on request;
Handout/Oral presentation: 20 points; Assessed as group work; Feedback on request;
Final paper: 50 points; Assessed individually; Feedback on request

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 lecturer.

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 lecturer.

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: Tu 07.05.2019 14:08