1. Science and technology have become central to the policies and to the self-image of modern advanced economies such as the UK and USA, whilst at the same time less developed countries strive to mobilise science and technology to meet their own needs. This course will explore how and why this has become the case and what the implications are for our society, our polity, our economy and for the still growing and increasingly globalised scientific enterprise itself. We will do this by examining:

    • the changing role of the state in science and technology in Western developed economies, taking the UK and the US as core examples but considering the wider global context.
    • current science and technology policy/governance trends (such as pressures for research prioritization, research and 'impact' assessment, and commercialization) and critically appraising the explanations commonly offered to explain these trends
    • wider issues of 'science-society' relationships and their implications for governance such as the role of scientific expertise and experts in the regulation of risk; efforts to improve public engagement with science and technology decision-making; efforts to encourage 'more responsible research and innovation'; and current issues such as reproducibility, fraud and 'open science'. 


  2. Extended Reading List - see Full Course Outline for essential (required) weekly reading 171 items
    1. General/background readers 11 items
      1. There are no core texts for this unit because there are no comprehensive textbooks that cover the range of issues we will explore in this course.

        However there are a few general works that would be good places to turn to for general background as to some of the important features of modern science, and the way social scientists have tried to understand them.

      2. About science - Barry Barnes 1985

        Book  An old book but still a good general introduction to the modern scientific enterprise and key issues such as the problems of growth, who sets scientific priorities, the role of authority in science and of scientific expertise in wider society. Chapter 2 is still particularly useful as an introduction for those unfamiliar with how the modern scientific community works (e.g. the importance of publication and recognition).

      3. An introduction to science and technology studies - Sergio Sismondo 2004

        Book  A relatively accessible recent (and short) guide to the field Science and Technology Studies, with emphasis on philosophy and sociology of science. Also available in a 2010 edition.

      4. Science in society: an introduction to social studies of science - Massimiano Bucchi 2004

        Book  Like the Sismondo book above, a relatively accessible recent guide to STS/sociology of scientific knowledge perspectives on science and society.

      5. What is this thing called science?: an assessment of the nature and status of science and its methods - A. F. Chalmers 1982

        Book  The classic introduction to basic ideas in the philosophy of science such as the problem of induction and falsification. Available in many editions. Some of this is also covered in the Sismondo book.

      6. The no-nonsense guide to science - Jerry Ravetz 2006

        Book  A useful – but highly idiosyncratic – introduction for the general reader to some of the issues surrounding the growth of science and the rise of ‘post-normal’ science. Part of a series of pocket-sized 'No-nonsense guides' and generally available in Blackwells.

      7. Handbook of science and technology studies - Sheila Jasanoff, Society for Social Studies of Science c1995

        Book  A reader aimed at postgraduate students and researchers so less good as a general introduction but a good place to look for more detail on a particular topic. There is also a wholly new third edition (with different content) under a different editor, Hackett, and published by MIT Press.

      8. Science, money, and politics: political triumph and ethical erosion - Daniel S. Greenberg 2001

        Book  A non-academic but very thoughtful account (written by a veteran journalist) of major issues and dynamics in US science policy, most of which are highly relevant to the themes of the course. Also available as an e-book.

      9. Competing with the Soviets: science, technology, and the state in Cold War America - Audra J. Wolfe c2013

        Book  A concise and easy to read account of the Cold War development of publicly-funded science in the United States. Chapter 2 on Vannevar Bush and the immediate post-war period is a key reading for Week Two.

      10. The secret life of science: how it really works and why it matters - Jeremy J. Baumberg 2018

        Book  (Also available in the library catalogue as an e-book). An interesting book about the processes and practices of modern science written not by sociologists or historians of science but a Professor of Nanotechnology at Cambridge, motivated his frustration at myths about the nature of science held by scientists and the public alike. If you are at all skeptical that sociologists and historians have anything to tell us about the nature of modern science, then I advise you read this and compare it with the academic research on the practice of modern science in the readings above and in the rest of this list - you'll see that there is a lot of common ground. Different chapters of the book deal with different topics and themes that we cover in the course, such as who decides what research gets done, the importance of scientific publishing, scientific careers, etc. See also his website "The Science Monster":

      11. The fifth risk: undoing democracy - Michael Lewis 2018

        Book  A recent journalistic investigation into the (lack of) preparation by the incoming Trump administration for 'transition' in the leadership of various departments and agencies of the federal government. In covering the Trump transition Lewis gives a great account of the importance of often unglamorous expertise in government.

    2. Taxpayer funded ‘public’ science and the ‘social contract for science’ 17 items
      1. What science is really worth - Macilwain, Colin 2010

        Article Essential

      2. The Republic of science - Michael Polanyi 1962

        Article Essential

      3. Basic Research as a Political Symbol - Pielke, Roger

        Journal Recommended

      4. Science, money, and politics: political triumph and ethical erosion - Daniel S. Greenberg 2001

        Book Recommended Chapter "Vannevar Bush and the Myth of Creation"

      5. Competing with the Soviets: science, technology, and the state in Cold War America - Audra J. Wolfe c2013

        Book Recommended Chapter 2.

      6. Between politics and science: assuring the integrity and productivity of research - David H. Guston 2000

        Book Further Esp Chapter 2: "Understanding the Social Contract for Science"

      7. The 'linear model' and the notion of 'basic research' 6 items
        1. What's Special about Basic Research? - Calvert, Jane

          Journal Further

      8. Alternatives to the 'linear model' 3 items
        1. Pasteur's quadrant: basic science and technological innovation - Donald Elkinton Stokes 1997

          Book Further Chapters 1-3.

        2. Critical Reflections on the Science–Technology Relationship - John Krige 08/2006

          Article Further Nice short article based on a talk given by Krige in which he explores the relationships between scientific knowledge, discovery and technology.

    3. Big Science 14 items
      1. Overviews 7 items
        1. Big Science: Price to the Present - Capshew, James H. ; Rader, Karen A. 1992

          Article Essential

        2. Competing with the Soviets: science, technology, and the state in Cold War America - Audra J. Wolfe c2013

          Book Recommended See Chapter Three.

        3. Impact of Large-Scale Science on the United States: Big science is here to stay, but we have yet to make the hard financial and educational choices it imposes - A. M. Weinberg 21/07/1961

          Article Recommended Short piece from Weinberg on the same theme as his 'Reflections' book - that is concern over the challenges of big science and their policy implications.

        4. Reflections on big science - Alvin M. Weinberg 1967

          Book Further

        5. Big science: the growth of large-scale research - Peter Louis Galison, Bruce William Hevly 1992

          Book Further

        6. The governance of science: ideology and the future of the open society - Steve Fuller c2000

          Book Further See especially Chapters 5 and 7 - be aware this book is a very intense and challenging read.

        7. The Manhattan Project: big science and the atom bomb - Jeff Hughes 2002

          Book Further

      2. Scientific (scholarly) publishing 2 items
        1. Little science, big science - Derek J. de Solla Price 1963

          Book Further

      3. Genomics and post-genomics 5 items
        1. Waiting for the Revolution - E. Marshall 04/02/2011

          Article Recommended

        2. Trouble in Mind - Stefan Theil 2015-9-15

          Article Recommended

        3. The Code of codes: scientific and social issues in the human genome project - Daniel Jo Kevles, Leroy E. Hood 1992

          Book Further Background reader on the HGP.

        4. The discovery value of big science - José Esparza, Tadataka Yamada 2007

          Article Further A short paper arguing that big science approaches can be adapted in the biomedical sciences so as to unlock creativity and innovation in research.

        5. States of Knowledge: The Co-Production of Science and the Social Order - Sheila Jasanoff 2013 (electronic resource)

          Book Further Ch 7 “Mapping systems and moral order: constituting property in genome laboratories” by Hilgartner is an interesting non-HGP case study of big genomic science.

    4. International and global dimensions (including science diplomacy) 29 items
      1. The new invisible college: science for development - Caroline S. Wagner c2008

        Book Essential A recent book which both collects together the evidence on patterns of scientific internationalisation but which also makes an argument for a positive internationalisation of science policy to promote international development. Available in the library both as a hard copy and as an e-book. (Chapter 5)

      2. Lost Science in the Third World - W. Wayt Gibbs 1995-8

        Article Recommended

      3. How dare you call us diplomats - Amaya Moro-Martín 2017-3-14

        Article Recommended Strong criticism of the Spanish government's labelling of its expatriate scientists as 'science diplomats' by an emigrant scientist who has campaigned against the science cuts that caused her and many like her to leave the country.

      4. China's Publication Bazaar - M. Hvistendahl 29/11/2013

        Article Recommended

      5. Global mobility: Science on the move - Richard Van Noorden 17/10/2012

        Article Recommended a nice succinct and data rich overview of recent patterns of international mobility of researchers, based on the GlobSci project.

      6. Scientific Diasporas - B. Seguin 16/06/2006

        Article Recommended

      7. The politics of European scientific collaboration - John Krige

        Chapter Further

      8. Why English as the Universal Language of Science Is a Problem for Research - The Atlantic - Adam Huttner-Koros 21/08/2015

        Webpage Further A recent essay which covers some of the same ground as the older Gibbs piece above - to be read in conjunction with, rather than instead of, the Gibbs piece.

      9. Science and diplomacy: A conceptual framework (PDF) - AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy 2009

        Document Further

      10. Science Diplomacy works - but only if it's genuine - Audra Wolfe 23/08/2013

        Webpage Further A short but insightful blogpost by Cold War science historian Audra Wolfe discussing the sometimes dishonest use of science diplomacy efforts by the US during the Cold War.

      11. How a handful of South American protestors in French Guiana took Arianespace and Europe's space program hostage — Quartz - Peter D'Auria 17/04/2017

        Article Further Short article about how Europe's spaceport in French Guiana, a major emblem of European scientific and technological co-operation, has become the focus of resentments over poverty and underdevelopment in that French overseas territory.

      12. Border water is the biggest climate change issue no one's talking about — Quartz - Zoë Schlanger 2018

        Article Further A nice recent article looking at how collaboration in the development of shared scientific models - and 'science diplomacy' more generally, can help resolve cross-border conflicts over water resources.

      13. Global power knowledge: science and technology in international affairs - John Krige, Kai-Henrik Barth 2006

        Book Further

      14. Soft power: the means to success in world politics - Joseph S. Nye 2004

        Book Further Archetypal exposition of the political science concept of soft power in international relations, and why science is part of that.

      15. Opinion: How China Uses ‘Soft Power’ In Space Business | Aviation Week 07/07/2017

        Article Further Short article from Aviation Week on how China's space activities reflect it's pursuit of 'soft power' (free, but requires registration)

      16. International mobility of scientists - Kieron Flanagan 2015

        Chapter Further Available as an e-book in the library catalogue.

      17. The Evolution of Science Diplomacy - Vaughan Turekian 11/2018

        Article Further

      18. The case of SESAME 4 items
        1. Synchrotron light and the Middle East: Bringing the Region’s Scientific Communities Together through SESAME - Chris Llewellyn Smith 11/16/2012

          Webpage Further An introduction to the SESAME project to build a synchrotron in the Middle East, one which brings together unlikely partners such as Israel and Iran.

        2. Clashing nations back SESAME - Geoff Brumfiel 2012-3-21

          Article Further

        3. Iranian nuclear scientists attacked - Declan Butler 2010-12-2

          Article Further A short news item about the targeted assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists, including several involved in SESAME, which asks whether one of the other partner countries have been behind the assassinations. A reminder of the difficulties facing science diplomacy.

        4. The deferred promise of Islamic-world science | The Guardian - James Wilsdon, Ehsan Masood 16/11/2017

          Article Further A recent short comment on science in the Islamic world which includes some discussion of SESAME

      19. The dark side of science diplomacy 4 items
    5. Is science becoming too commercialised? 8 items
      1. Chapter 3 - "Commercialise! It's the Law" in Science for Sale: The Perils, Rewards, and Delusions of Campus Capitalism

        Chapter Essential Available in the library as an e-book. Due to some bug in the system it will say it is not available but if you then click the "view in catalogue" button it will take you to the link.

      2. Reclaiming academia from post-academia - Philip Moriarty 2008-2

        Article Essential

      3. Science-mart: privatizing American science - Philip Mirowski 2011

        Book Further Mirowski's polemic argues that there IS something new and different about today's commercialised scientific enterprise and that it's not enough to say that science has historically had close links with industry and commerce. A long and densely-argued book but worth dipping into.

      4. High-tech fantasies: science parks in society, science and space - Doreen Massey, Paul Quintas, David Wield 1992

        Book Further

      5. Ways of knowing: a new history of science, technology and medicine - J. V. Pickstone 2000

        Book Further

      6. Making Silicon Valley: innovation and the growth of high tech, 1930-1970 - Christophe Lécuyer c2006

        Book Further

    6. Prioritisation, selectivity and impact 7 items
      1. Criteria for scientific choice - Weinberg, Alvin

        Article Essential

      2. The Republic of science - Michael Polanyi 1962

        Article Recommended

      3. Scientific Autonomy, Public Accountability, and the Rise of “Peer Review” in the Cold War United States

        Article Further A nice history of peer review, both of scientific papers but more interestingly also the peer review of project proposals for research funders, which shows how recent the practice really is.

    7. Science and democracy 12 items
      1. Ideologically correct science (Gordin et al chapter in "Science and Ideology")

        Chapter Essential

      2. Science and prejudice in historical perspective

        Chapter Recommended A typescript PDF of this chapter is also available on the author's own webpage: The above chapter is also available from the author’s website as a PDF:

      3. The science of liberty: democracy, reason, and the laws of nature - Timothy Ferris 2011, ©2010

        Book Recommended

      4. The normative structure of science - Robert K Merton 1973 (1942)

        Chapter Recommended

      5. Open countries have strong science - Caroline S. Wagner, Koen Jonkers 2017-10-4

        Article Recommended

      6. Why democracies need science - H. M. Collins, Robert Evans 2017

        Book Further This book is in the library but also available in the library catalogue as an e-book.

      7. Freedom's laboratory: the Cold War struggle for the soul of science - Audra J. Wolfe 2018

        Book  Some good discussion of the Lysenko affair from the point of view of US scientists in Chapter One, and more generally the book grapples with the contradictions inherent in using the apolitical nature of science as a political tool in international relations.

    8. Scientific expertise in public policy and regulation 20 items
      1. How science makes environmental controversies worse - Daniel Sarewitz 10/2004

        Article Essential

      2. Politics of expert advice: Lessons from the early history of the BSE saga - Millstone, Erik ; Van Zwanenberg, Patrick

        Journal Recommended

      3. Civilization and madness: The great BSE scare of 1996 - Sheila Jasanoff 1997-7

        Article Recommended

      4. Science and trans-science - Alvin M. Weinberg 1972-4

        Article Further

      5. Citizen science: a study of people, expertise and sustainable development - Alan Irwin 1995

        Book Further (A later edition is also available in the library catalogue as an e-book).

      6. Risk society: towards a new modernity - Ulrich Beck, Mark Ritter 1992

        Book Further

      7. Perception of risk. - P Slovic

        Journal Further

      8. The social amplification and attenuation of risk - Kasperson, Re ; Kasperson, Jx

        Journal Further

      9. The honest broker: making sense of science in policy and politics - Roger A. Pielke 2007

        Book Further Especially Chapters 1-2 and 6.

      10. Between politics and science: assuring the integrity and productivity of research - David H. Guston 2000

        Book Further Chapter 1.

      11. Why Democracies Need Science - Harry Collins, Robert Evans 2017

        Book Further

      12. Why we disagree about climate change: understanding controversy, inaction and opportunity - M. Hulme c2009

        Book Further

      13. Citizens, experts, and the environment: the politics of local knowledge - Frank Fischer 2000

        Book Further

      14. Three rules for technological fixes - Daniel Sarewitz, Richard Nelson 18/12/2008


      15. The fifth risk: undoing democracy - Michael Lewis 2018

        Book  A recent journalistic investigation into the (lack of) preparation by the incoming Trump administration for 'transition' in the leadership of various departments and agencies of the federal government. A great account of the importance of often unglamorous expertise in government.

      16. A Controversial Virus Study Shows Flaws in How Science Is Done | The Atlantic 04/10/2018

        Article Further Very good news article covering the issues raised by the recent reconstruction of the eradicated Horsepox virus using synthetic biology techniques and sections of DNA ordered online. Should this kind of research be regulated, or should we trust the scientists to always do the right thing?

    9. Science, technology and the public 17 items
      1. See-through Science: why public engagement needs to move upstream - James Wilsdon, Willis Rebecca

        Document Essential

      2. Chapters 13 and 14 - Science, money, and politics: political triumph and ethical erosion (Greenberg)

        Chapter Essential Chapter 14 - The TV Solution is the key reading, but if you can please read Chapter 13 as well.

      3. Misunderstood misunderstanding: social identities and public uptake of science - B Wynne 1992-7

        Article Recommended An alternative version of the same paper is available as Chapter One of Irwin A and Wynne B (eds), 1996, Misunderstanding Science? The public reconstruction of science and technology (Cambridge University Press).

      4. Who's misunderstanding whom? (Hargreaves & Ferguson, 2000)

        Document Further This link is to the document on Blackboard.

      5. Science in public: communication, culture and credibility - Jane Gregory, Steve Miller 2000

        Book Further A classic textbook. Multiple chapters will be useful.

      6. Rethinking Expertise - Harry Collins, Robert Evans 2007 (electronic resource)

        Book Further

      7. Why democracies need science - H. M. Collins, Robert Evans 2017

        Book Further This book is in the library but also available in the library catalogue as an e-book.

      8. 'Refrain from using the alphabet': How community outreach catalysed the life sciences at MIT (Chapter of 'Becoming MIT' D Kaiser ed) - John Durant 2010

        Chapter  John Durant explores the case of how local concerns about recombinant DNA technology in Cambridge MA (home to MIT and Harvard) in the 1970s led to an early "citizens' jury' process with novel forms of engagement between scientists, the public and local politicians. He argues that the local regulatory arrangements that emerged from this process were a large part of what subsequently made Cambridge such an attractive location for biomedical research (the so-called 'Kendall Square' cluster). DESPITE WHAT THIS PAGE MIGHT SAY THIS IS AVAILABLE IN THE LIBRARY CATALOGUE BOTH AS A HARD COPY AND AS AN E-BOOK.

    10. Is science broken? (Current issues in the governance of science) 28 items
      1. Ten Simple Rules for Scientific Fraud & Misconduct - Nicolas Rougier, John Timmer 29/11/2018


      2. Conclusion (Chapter 9) of Is American science in decline?

        Chapter  This book evaluates the quantitative evidence that American science is in decline in terms of losing ground to other nations, and in terms of a supposed underproduction (or overproduction) of people with advanced scientific training. The Conclusions chapter summarises their findings, which cast doubt on the conventional wisdom of decline.

      3. Science-mart: privatizing American science - Philip Mirowski 2011

        Book  See Chapter 6 "Has science been harmed by the modern commercial regime?" and Chapter 7 "The new production of ignorance" for Mirowski's view of the impacts of commercialisation and 'neoliberal' thinking on the practice of science.

      4. The case of #arseniclife: Blogs and Twitter in informal peer review - S. K. Yeo, X. Liang, D. Brossard, K. M. Rose 26/05/2016


      5. Chapter 3: The moral equivalence of the scientist

        Chapter  Shapin looks at how views of the 'humanness' or 'otherness' of scientists have changed over time and especially how this relates to questions of social responsibility and governance.

    11. Post-Normal Science and a new social contract? 8 items
      1. Science for the post-normal age - Silvio O. Funtowicz, Jerome R. Ravetz 1993-9

        Article Recommended

      2. Re-thinking science: knowledge and the public in an age of uncertainty - Helga Nowotny, Peter Scott, Michael Gibbons 2001

        Book Further