Science and Society

Topics: Science, Technology, Scientific method Pages: 4 (1176 words) Published: November 2, 2008
It has been argued in this course that science is a social process. Do you agree?


The most widely used definition of social process states that “social process is a process involved in the formation of groups of persons”. Furthermore, referring to civilisation, social process is defined as “the social process whereby societies achieve an advanced stage of development and organisation”. (WordNet – Online dictionary definition) (1). This paper looks at how science has become part of this process and examines how it has achieved so, in terms of certain distinct perspectives.

How society is changing:

Within science, scientists formulate laws and applications that continually adapt to sociocultural changes and account for observations. Inventors on the other hand, create new technology in order to accomplish practical goals. Historical precedent proclaims that significant social changes have come about during periods where relations between human formations and technology have been remodelled. Adopting new technology eventually leads to social balance of power through economic relationships and therefore social change. Cynthia Cockburn in particular, is an author distinctly aware of the dependency between technology and society and in her 1983 article 'Caught in the wheels' ( Donald MacKenzie (Editor), Judy Wajcman (Editor), 1999, p.126 ) she stresses the growing engagement of feminism and technology. It soon becomes apparent that science, society and technology, are all closely linked. This is strikingly evident in today's society, which has without a doubt changed dramatically and continues to be an ever alternating phenomenon. Fewer girls than boys take on science subjects at schools. This is due to an education structure that encourages girls to study arts and humanities and in turn, this gender stereotyping creates fallacious perceptions that science is an area suited better for boys. As Rossiter says, “Most [women] chose to enrol for...

References: Donald MacKenzie (Editor), Judy Wajcman (Editor), ‘The Social Shaping Of
Technology’, (Paperback), First Published 1985, Second Edition (Jun., 1999)
Margaret W. Rossiter, "Women 's Work" in Science, 1880-1910, Isis, Vol. 71, No. 3.
(Sep., 1980), pp. 381-398.
S. Schaffer, 'Glass works: Newton’s prisms and the uses of experiment '. In D.
Gooding; T. Pinch & S. Schaffer, eds. The Uses of Experiment: studies in the
natural sciences
. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989
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