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Master Class: Applying science and technology studies (STS) in environmental issues


3 mars 2023

Lang EN Workshop language is English

Dr. Elisa Volpi, coordinatrice CUSO


Olivier Ejderyan (FiBL, Institut de recherche de l'agriculture biologique)


This workshop offers an introduction to how science and technology studies (STS), as an interdisciplinary research field studying the social, cultural and political implication of science and technology in societies, can contribute to research on environmental issues. Scholar form a wide range of social science disciplines have used STS concepts, theories, methods to analyse the often contested role of science and technology in contemporary environmental issues. 

The workshop will address questions that are especially relevant to PhD candidates in political science and in human geography who conduct research on topics such as, environmental politics, climate change, sustainability transformations, extractivism, energy transition, water management or land-use conflicts, just to name a few examples. 

The workshop will alternate lectures and hands on activities during which PhD candidates can discuss and experiment with theories, concepts and methods on their own research topic. 

After this workshop, participants will be able to:

- Recognise different strands of STS and how they approach environmental problems;

- Use a selection of key STS concepts and theories to approach the technical dimensions of their research objects;

- Apply STS to analyse scientific, technical and expert discourses within environmental controversies and conflicts.


- Find STS tools and methods they need. 


9:00-9:10: Welcome

9:10-9:20: Ice breaking activity: Positioning your research

9:30-10:30: Concepts, methods and problems: A brief overview of STS' contribution to other disciplines (lecture followed by a discussion)

10:30-10:45: Break

10:45-12:00: Group work: How can STS inform my research on environmental issues?

12:00-12:30: Presentation of results and roundtable

12:30-13:30 Lunch break

13:30-14:45 Natures, futures and expertise. Case studies on approaching environmental issues with an STS perspective. 

14:45-15:00 Break

15:00-15:50: Overview of tools, methods and resources

15:50-16:00: Wrap-up. 


The event will take place at Uni Mail in the room M3389.




Preparatory work

Prior to the workshop please complete the following tasks

1) Read the two brief preparatory texts (especially useful if you have very little knowledge of STS and other social science approaches to studying science and technology)


2) Write a short abstract (250 to 500 words max.) to introduce the environmental issue(s) you are working on, how you approach the topic (theory and method) and provide a brief description of potential science/technology dimensions that are important in it. This will help me in adapting the workshop content to the participants' needs. If you have any specific question, topic you would like to discuss during the workshop, also indicate it. Send this by 22. February 2023 to olivier.ejderyan(at)fibl(dot)org

Preparatory reading

Harald Rohracher (2015). History of Science and Technology Studies. International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, Vol. 21, Elsevier: 200-205

Olivier Ejderyan (2007). Technology. In, Paul Robbins (ed.). Encyclopedia of Environment and Society, vol. 5. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks: 1708-1714


For those who have more time:

Bruno Latour (2000), When things strike back: a possible contribution of 'science studies' to the social sciences. The British Journal of Sociology, 51: 107-123.

David J. Hess, Benjamin K. Sovacool (2020) Sociotechnical matters: Reviewing and integrating science and technology studies with energy social science. Energy Research & Social Science 65: 101462,


Scott Frickel and Florencia Arancibia (2021) Environmental Science and Technology Studies .In, B. Schaefer Caniglia et al. (eds.), Handbook of Environmental Sociology, Cham, Springer: 457-476



Délai d'inscription 24.02.2023
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