852319 Science and technology studies: Understanding sustainable innovation

Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Ornetzeder, Michael
Offered in
Sommersemester 2024
Languages of instruction


The purpose of this course is to offer a seminar-format introduction to Science and Technology Studies (STS). The course will be specifically devoted to aspects of social and environmental sustainable innovation. The conversation in the course will revolve around the question of how mission-oriented technological innovation can be theoretically and empirically analysed.

We will explore how STS scholars have framed the relation between technology and society as a process of co-evolution, as a process in which society constructs technology and in turn is affected by novel technology. Taking this perspective we will notice that technology enables but also constrains human action.

Major course themes include (a) theoretical approaches in science and technology studies; (b) sustainable socio-technical innovation and system transitions; (c) specific foci on innovation (user innovation, open innovation, and social learning); (d) contemporary, discourse oriented approaches to technology assessment (participatory, real-time and constructive TA). In pursuing these themes, we will explore a number of case studies, drawn from the areas of construction, mobility, and energy technology.

Technological innovation is considered as one of the crucial elements of the broadly accepted political goal to bring sustainability into society. Although technology certainly plays a major role in this process, we will explore that technology alone will never solve the problems societies are facing today.

Previous knowledge expected

Master programme and/or PhD students

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

A major course objective is to enhance the student’s understanding of the relations and interlinkages of science, technology, and society. Using basic STS ways of thinking students should be able to critically reflect on ongoing technological developments, including the ability to outline a discussion on possible impacts of technology on society and environment. Finally, students should learn to investigate the role technology is able to play in sustainable development.
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.