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An Introduction to Science and Technology Studies Paperback – August 25, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0631234449 ISBN-10: 0631234446 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (August 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631234446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631234449
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,096,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Sismondo's much-needed book fills a gap left by existing introductions to the field of science and technology studies. It consistently and usefully integrates philosophical concerns with the critical social science perspectives that have dominated the field. It also offers excellent capsule surveys of some of the field's most influential thinkers."
--Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard University

"This book is a wonderful tool with which to think. It offers an expansive introduction to the field of science studies, a rich exploration of the theoretical terrains it comprises and a sheaf of well-reasoned opinions that will surely inspire argument."
--Geoffrey C. Bowker, University of California, San Diego

"Science and technology studies is one of the most important and exciting new interdisciplinary fields in the academy. Sergio Sismondon is to be congratulated for producing an introductory textbook that is authoritative, accessible, and without rival. This book quickly become an indispensable teaching aid."
--Trevor Pinch, Cornell University

"For an introduction to science and technology studies, one cannot find a better book. Sismondo sets a high standard for clarity of writing for books aimed at university students. The important historical background blends well with the underlying philosophical and sociological concepts. Extremely important to all readers are the boxed-text case studies, definitions, and examples that permeate and intelligently adorn every chapte. The index and references immensely help readers desiring to learn more." (Choice, November 2003)

“Carefully argued and well balanced…topics are handled with a clarity and lightness... overall impression…of a field with solid foundations that is looking to the future.”

Book Description

This volume provides a roadmap to the complex interdisciplinary terrain of science and technology studies. The book presents the historical background for this burgeoning field, focusing on the central debates and key theoretical advances. Topics include realism and social construction, discourse and rhetoric, objectivity, the role of experiment and theory, controversies, and the critique of science and technology. Distinctive in its attention to the underlying philosophical and sociological aspects of science and technology, and written specifically with students in mind, An Introduction to Science and Technology Studies is ideal for those new to this exciting and controversial area of study.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Aryn Martin on February 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
Sismondo's introduction to the field is concise and highly readable, dealing with an enormous amount of literature in a short and well-organized manuscript. Unlike the other handbooks in S&TS which collect case studies like "best of" albums, Sismondo's book walks the reader through complex historical and intellectual moments in the field. His coverage is even-handed, though not bland or superficial. I read this book in preparation for job interviews in S&TS, and it was a perfect refresher that crystallized what I had learned in 6 years of grad school. I will definitely use it when I teach S&TS courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Patrick E. Carroll on February 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Science and Technology Studies is a complex field of research with a century long history involving numerous disciplines. The problems the field deals with are often complex and technical. That Sismondo managed to pack practically every major debate into such a concise book, is almost a superhuman achievement. The book covers philosophical issues such as falsificationism and the Duhem-Quine thesis, as well as examining positivism and other epistemological positions. The whole range of sociological contributions over the past three decades, and also feminist contributions, are presented clearly and illustrated with examples. The author also critiques all the major arguments in the field, showing that each has problems, and that the debate continues. This is simply the best concise introduction to STS currently available. It is an invaluable aid to teaching (I use it in my own class "Introduction to STS" at the University of California, Davis). Yet it should not be thought of simply as a textbook. It is so lucidly written that it will give any educated reader a solid understanding of the field of STS.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is full of words. The words are not at all meant to improve society or science. The words are supposed to problematise science and technology.

The basic idea is that science and technology are manmade ideas. On one level we can all agree on this fact. However, the Science & Technology studies field is stuck on this idea and they show it over and over again with qualitative studies. Nothing wrong with qualitative studies, but there comes a point where quantification can help. I would like to know what factors determine if a science is more or less socially constructued. I would like to have the term socially constructued defined in much more detail. It is not an either or construct. Time for the field to progress and find some new research questions. That is unlikely to happen anytime soon because the authors in the field do not believe in progress, quantification and they seem to hate building on each others' work in any detail. This can clearly be seen by people reading this review and giving it negative feedback.

Stay far away is my recommendation. And for those who don't, keep the negative votes coming.
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5 of 15 people found the following review helpful By K. Fernandes on January 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
Now six chapters into this book, I can honestly say I'm considering ripping my eyes out. This is a painful read, although it's entirely possible I lack the ability to process someone else's philosophical ramblings.

#1) This is not an introductory text. This book presumes you have a background in philosophy and also presumes that you think exactly like Sismondo. There's no effort here to make things comprehendible; he communicates without revision. Ironically, the best chapter is the one Sismondo suggests you skip (and I suspect it is written by someone else).

#2) This book is poorly edited. I bet the editor did not understand most of the content (or at least the way Sismondo explains the content), which is why some sentences lack proper structure -- making the book even more confusing. It almost appears as if the editor gave up.

#3) There is no context here to explain the greater meaning of S&TS.

I'm giving this text two stars because Sismondo uses a lot of big words -- and we all know that means he's a smart guy. Unfortunately, I must now dive back into Sismondo's brain as this is required reading. That's the only reason why you should pick up this text.
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