On sociology and STS

Law, John (2008). On sociology and STS. The Sociological Review, 56(4) pp. 623–649.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-954X.2008.00808.x


This paper starts by exploring the development of Science, Technology and Society (STS) in the UK in the late 1960s, emphasising its interdiciplinary roots, and comparing and contrasting it with the concerns of Sociology. It then turns to more recent developments in STS, outlining the importance of material semiotics to important traditions within the discipline including those influenced by actor network theory, feminism, and postcolonialism. It notes, in consistency with the Foucauldian approach, that material semiotics implies that knowledge traditions are performative, helping to create the realities that they describe. The paper concludes by exploring the implications of this performatibity for the politics of research methods and for the future character of social science research.

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