PRESENTERS Beth Chopin email@example.com Gary Schmidt firstname.lastname@example.org
AUTHOR David J. Hess B.A. Economics – Harvard University Ph.D. Anthropology – Cornell University Professor & Chair Science and Tech. Studies Dept. – Rensselaer Institute Research focus: the anthropology, history, and sociology of science, technology, and social movements. Other work: science and medicine in religious movements; science,technology, and health movements; and science, technology, and environmental movements. (source: http://home.earthlink.net/~davidhesshomepage/)
INTRODUCTION STS = Science & Technology Studies (a.k.a. Science, Technology & Society Studies). An evolving fixture on the academic landscape since the 1970’s. STS implies a social constructivist view of the techno-scientific world (i.e., technology and science are socially created). Science and technology are not only socially but also culturally constructed. Hess presents the perspective of “cultural relativism” to social constructivist theory under the rubric of culture and power.
CENTRAL CONCEPTS CultureandPower (or Cultural Politics) Culture: “The total knowledge and way of life of a group of people: both conscious and unconscious…” (p. 10). Power: “More than a question of who controls an organization or who has the ability to make successful orders, power involves social practices that have differential effects on individuals and groups” (p. 13).
THE CONSTRUCTION OF MEANING (all maps from the CIA Atlas of Eastern Europe 1990—Czechoslovakia)
TECHNOTOTEMISM Technototemism: The coproduction of technical and social difference or coherence. The formation of identity and/or group affiliation is established according to our adherence to natural and technological phenomena. “…consumer culture operates according to totemic relationships. Clothing, food, cars, and so on are all categorized into a myriad of divisions that allow people to make distinctions among themselves through their objects” (p. 21). What is your technototem? What factors helped create it?
TECHNOTOTEISM & NATIONAL IDENTITY Example: how scientific style is predicated on a general cultural style using the founding fathers of modern science. Sir Francis Bacon(England) Parliamentary political authority Protestant (more progressive) More democratic (common law) Inductive logic (bottom-up) Observation Empirical tendencies Individualistic Rene Descartes (France) Religious political authority Catholic Hierarchical Deductive logic (top-down) First principles Rational/logical tendencies Holistic
TECHNOTOTEISM & NATIONAL IDENTITY “A failure to investigate more carefully such differences in the national sciences and social theories amounts to buying into the ideology of science as a supranational phenomenon that is everywhere the same” (p. 39).
TECHNOTOTISM Evolution and Social Darwinism “It is remarkable that Darwin recognizes among brutes and plants his English society with its division of labor, competition, opening up of new markets, ‘inventions,’ and Malthusian ‘struggle for existence.’…with Darwin the animal kingdom figures as bourgeois society.” -Marx, 1862 The “boomerang” of Technototemism
BRICOLAGE “The bricoleur is a jack-of-all-trades who takes whatever is at hand—pieces of wood, metal, spare parts, junk—and reassembles them to build new objects or to fix old ones” (p. 39). Hess borrows the term “bricolage” from French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss to refer to the practice of adopting ideas from other communities and reconstructing them according to one’s own social identity. The concept of the bricoleur is relevant with regard to how scientific knowledge is formed within social, cultural, racial, and gender groups (p. 52).
SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION The Mythology of the Scientific Revolution
SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION The Mythology of the Scientific Revolution Popular Heroes: Copernicus (1473-1543) – the earth is not fixed and stationary in the center of the cosmos; it rotates on its axis each day and revolves around the sun each year Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) - new theoretical modifications concerning planetary orbits and their motions Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) - new theories of motion that would accommodate a moving earth Bacon, Boyle & Descartes (1561~1691) – codification of western science Isaac Newton (1642-1727) - unites terrestrial and celestial bodies under one set of universal laws of motion
SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION Western and Non-WesternWhat—and who—is left out? Three examples: Prior to the 14th century, many Arabic works on optics, astronomy, mathematics and medicine were translated into Latin. Copernicus (1473-1543) – the earth is not fixed and stationary in the center of the cosmos; it rotates on its axis each day and revolves around the sun each year (Copernicus’ work closely parallels prior work of Arab astronomer, Ibn al-Shatir of Damascus) Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) - new theoretical modifications concerning planetary orbits and their motions Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) - new theories of motion that would accommodate a moving earth (Galileo studied earlier works of Arab scientist Ibn al-Haytham) Bacon, Boyle & Descartes (1561~1691) – codification of western science Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION Science & technology is not only tied to culture and politics, but also to social behavior. The following examination social behavior across cultures further evidences Hess’ position that science & technology do not transcend national boundaries and are not supracultural. The example of social behavior discussed here pertains to intercultural communication.
INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION Context Low context: information is conveyed primarily in the verbal message. High context: information is embedded in the appearance, setting and social relationship. low context high context Swiss German Scandinavian American French English Italian Spanish Greek Arab Japanese Temporal orientation Polychronic: people-oriented who multi-task. Monochronic: schedule-oriented who do one thing at a time.
CASE STUDIES The French are snobs! Americans are materialistic bores! Germans are rude and authoritarian! How are these perceptions created? To shed some light on this question, look at the case studies presented by: Raymonde Carroll in Evidences Invisible. Hall & Hall in Hidden Differences.
CULTURAL RECONSTRUCTION OF SCIENCE Technocentrism: Science and technology are viewed only from the perspective of those experts who create it. However, Hess argues that once science and technology are implemented en masse and used by non-experts, their meaning is reconstructed. Therefore, in addition to being socially and culturally constructed, science and technology can also be understood as being user constructed. An example in the world of information systems…
CULTURAL RECONSTRUCTION OF SCIENCE Why do users chose not to interact with certain information systems? Information system designers, “…speak of ‘end-user failure’ and think of the problem in terms of a public that suffers from computer phobia. …systems tend to go unused because built into their programs are the naïve assumption that their producers have about how to acquire knowledge, what counts as knowledge, and how it is used. As a result, the programmers tend to build their view of knowledge into their systems at the expense of more contextualized and socially laden knowledge.” (p. 174). User acceptance—or lack thereof—is forcing system producers to re-examine their design—and culture.
STS LINKS http://www.ncsu.edu/chass/mds/stslinks.html
A DEFINITION OF SCIENCE? Is science “knowledge about the natural world” (p.1) as Hess defines it, or is it the natural world itself?
STS & MULTICULTURALISM IN THE CURRICULUM Is STS an important part of a social sciences education? Is STS an important part of scientific and technical education? Should it be? Should it be part of the required curricula?
REFERENCES Bradley, R. (1996). [Review of the book Science & technology in a multicultural world: The cultural politics of facts and artifacts]. Politics and the Life Sciences, 15, 2, 337-338. Carroll, R. (1988). Cultural misunderstandings: the French-American experience. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Forsythe, D. (1990). Blaming the user in medical informatics: The cultural nature of scientific practice. In Eds. Hess, D. & Lane, L. Knowledge and Society Volume 9: The Anthropology of Science and Technology. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press. Gusterson, H. (1997). [Review of the book Science & technology in a multicultural world: The cultural politics of facts and artifacts]. American Ethnologist, 24, 2, 467-468. Hall, A. R. & Hall, M. R. (1987). Hidden Differences. Garden City, NY: Anchor.
REFERENCES Heath, D. (1997). [Review of the book Science & technology in a multicultural world: The cultural politics of facts and artifacts]. American Anthropologist, 99, 1, 144-146. Hess, D. J. (1992). Introduction: The new ethnography and the anthropology of science and technology. In Eds. Layne, L. & Rip, A. Knowledge and Society Volume 9: The Anthropology of Science and Technology. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press. Hess, D. J. (1995). Science & technology in a multicultural world: The cultural politics of facts and artifacts. New York: Columbia University Press. Hess, D. J. (1995). If you're thinking of living in STS: A guide for the perplexed. In Eds. Downes, G, Dumit, J, & Traweek, S. Cyborgs and Citadels: Anthropological Interventions on the Borderlands of Technoscience. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.
REFERENCES Hess, D. J. (1998). If you're thinking of living in STS: A guide for the perplexed. In Eds. Downes, G & Dumit, J. Cyborgs and Citadels: Anthropological Interventions in Emerging Sciences and Technologies. Santa Fe, MN: SAR Press. Inkster, I. (1996). [Review of the book Science & technology in a multicultural world: The cultural politics of facts and artifacts]. ISIS.87, 3, 527-528. Jesser, N. (2002). Blood, genes and gender in Octavia Butler's Kindred and Dawn. Extrapolation. 43, 1, 36. Kent State University Press. Loevinger, L. (1994). [Review of the book Science in the new age: The paranormal, its defenders and debunkers, and American culture]. Skeptical Inquirer. 18, 4, 413.
REFERENCES McClenon, J. (1994). [Review of the book Science in the new age: The paranormal, its defenders and debunkers, and American culture]. The Journal of Parapsychology. 58, 2. 218. Taylor, P. (1996). [Review of the book Science & technology in a multicultural world: The cultural politics of facts and artifacts]. Science Technology and Human Values.21, 3, 358-362. Voges, H. (1997). [Review of the book Science & technology in a multicultural world: The cultural politics of facts and artifacts]. Anthropos, 92, 1-3, 257-259. Wildermuth, M. (1999). The edge of chaos: structural conspiracy and epistemology in the X-Files. Journal of Popular Film and Television. 26, 4, 146.