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233045 SE Controversial technologies (2020W)

analytical approaches and governance options

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

Adapted Teaching Format
In compliance with the current COVID-19 rules of the University of Vienna this class will be taught in a hybrid teaching format, part in presence and part online. If the number of participants exceeds the maximum number of people that can be taught in presence in the lecture room of the Department of Science and Technology Studies, the class will be split in two groups that alternate between presence-based and remote learning.

Wednesday 07.10. 09:00 - 11:00 Digital
Wednesday 14.10. 09:00 - 11:00 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 21.10. 09:00 - 11:00 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 28.10. 09:00 - 11:00 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 04.11. 09:00 - 11:00 Digital
Wednesday 18.11. 09:00 - 11:00 Digital
Wednesday 25.11. 09:00 - 11:00 Digital
Wednesday 02.12. 09:00 - 11:00 Digital
Wednesday 09.12. 09:00 - 11:00 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 16.12. 09:00 - 11:00 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 13.01. 09:00 - 11:00 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 27.01. 09:00 - 11:00 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

From nuclear power, via agri-biotechnology, medical biotechnologies, neuro- and nanotechnologies, to geo-engineering or new generations of mobile radio: controversies surrounding emerging technologies keep constituting an important aspect of contemporary societies. This course addresses systematic approaches in analyzing and making sense of such controversies. It focuses on controversial technologies, but also allows for discussing scientific controversies beyond technological issues (such as climate change or alternative medicine). In the second part of the course, the analytical gaze is complemented by a view to governance options. For this purpose, an overview of contemporary governance approaches and governance visions is provided and put up for discussion.

This course is based on introductory presentations by the course instructor, a list of selected scholarly literature and the discussion of empirical cases. Seminal texts are split up between participants so that each student presents two to three texts throughout the course in enough detail to allow for all other students to refer to them without everyone reading every text in detail. Thus, the reading load is minimized and emphasis is given to addressing empirical cases. Course participants bring (or choose) their own controversy and transfer insights from the presented literature to their empirical cases. Small empirical exercises further support the analysis of these cases. At the end of the course, students are invited to formulate governance recommendations for one or more actor fields of their own choice pertinent to their empirical cases.

It is the aim of this course (1) to make students familiar with general patterns and logics of technology controversies, (2) to open a discussion on the causes, roles and effects of such controversies within contemporary societies and (3) to address and reflect on societal governance options pertaining to controversial technologies. Students are encouraged to choose their own empirical case and to develop their own focus of interest within this thematic realm.

Assessment and permitted materials

To pass the seminar, students are expected to complete the following tasks:
- Choose an empirical case (a technology and/or science controversy) at the beginning of the course.
- Present ca. three scholarly texts (journal papers or book chapters) throughout the course in enough detail to allow for all participants to transfer pertinent contents to the discussion of their own empirical case.
- Document the transfer of pertinent contents of presented literature in a short written response (ca. one page) after each session (to be handed in via email before the consecutive session).
- Undertake ca. three small empirical exercises in relation the chosen empirical case and document outcome (ca. 2 pages each to be handed in until the consecutive session).
- Formulate concrete practical recommendations for the chosen empirical case at the end of the course (2 pages maximum), present and discuss them in class.
- The final text of this exercise is to be handed in until March, 15th. It should include a discussion of all recommendations with references to pertaining scholarly literature and empirical data (in total ca. 5 pages).
- Participate actively in the discussions of all sessions, reflect on their own presumptions and elaborate on their own positions.
- Adhere to the general standards of good academic practice.

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

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Grading Scheme:

Presentation of literature (assessed individually): 20 points
Written transfer of literature to empirical case (assessed individually): 10 points
Small empirical exercises (assessed individually or in small teams): 20 points
Formulation, presentation and discussion of recommendations (oral and written, assessed individually or in small teams): 30 points
Active participation (assessed individually): 20 points

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)

Examination topics

Reading list

A list of seminal texts is provided at the beginning of the course.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Th 26.11.2020 14:48