In the paragraphs below, we lay out the overall vision for the third volume of the STS Handbook and suggestive table of contents that we proposed to the 4S Council in 2011. We welcome your feedback on this vision and your suggestions for improving it. Please provide your feedback below in the comments. We expect to release a separate Call for Chapter Proposals in the coming months. Please provide your feedback by Jan. 1, 2013.
The STS Handbook is one of the most important books that the field produces. For STS graduate students, the Handbook offers a substantive and significant introduction to the field as a domain of scholarship, to its core ideas, and to exciting new areas of research. For scholars in the field, the Handbook can provide reviews of the key concepts and approaches across a range of subfields. For scholars in other fields, and for professionals more broadly in society, the Handbook can present a broad, deep, and nuanced view of STS scholarship.
To address these objectives, we propose to organize the Handbook around five core questions:
- What are the core ideas, concepts, and frameworks that underpin STS scholarship and what have been the most significant intellectual contributions to STS by scholars in the field?
- What are the enduring contributions that STS scholarship has made to the study of human affairs? Where, in other words, have we contributed not only to creating a new field of scholarship that advances on its own terms but also to a field that advances scholarship across the whole of the humanities and social sciences?
- What are the most exciting areas of emerging scholarship in STS in terms of the potential to make powerful contributions to the field and to scholarship more broadly?
- What key intellectual and institutional challenges confront STS today?
- How has STS contributed—or how is it positioned to contribute—to addressing the grand challenges facing humanity at the outset of the 21st century?
Section I. Core Ideas in STS
In this first section of the Handbook, we focus on the core lines of thinking that have accompanied and structured the development of STS as a research field. These chapters should reflect the evolution of debates in these areas over time. We regard it as essential for students of STS issues to understand their own field’s history of thinking as one deeply intertwined with societal change. The chapters should show how ways in which people decide to live in the world also tie into ways of questioning and/or reinforcing technoscientific developments, reflect on the impact that scholarship in these areas has had on multiple levels, and explore why, today, these ways of thinking about the world remain at the core of STS thinking.
- Knowledge as a Social Phenomenon
- Socio-Technological Systems
- The Transformation of Life
- Identities and Making Up People
- Gender, Science, and Technology
- Expertise and Publics
- Living and Working in Technoscience
- Institutional Structures of Science and Technology
- Classification and Standardization
- Politics, Regulation, and Governance
Section II. The Contributions of STS to Enduring Intellectual Problems
In this section of the Handbook we are looking for authors to articulate, through an STS lens, some of the enduring intellectual issues of the humanities and social sciences. This section is not meant to be a mere listing of cross-citations between STS and discipline-based journals, but rather a deeper intellectual engagement by discussing questions that concern multiple scholarly fields, to which STS can speak. These questions range from classic quandaries such as “how do we make democracy work?” to more recent questions like where does critical scholarship that is ‘post-everything’ go next?
- Making Democracy Work: From Participatory Technology to State Formation and Regulation
- Identity and Difference: Categorizing the Self
- Inequality: Power, Knowledge Production, and Who Counts
- The Body
- Cultures: Science, Technology, and Translation
- Innovation Contexts: Location, Organization, and Change
- Design: STS Contributions to Artifacts and Architecture
- Consumption, Capitalism, and Material Culture
- The Post- of What? Trends in Post-Structural/Post-Colonial Studies
Section III. Emerging Themes in STS
In the current technoscientific moment, scholarship within STS and allied disciplines and fields has endeavored to provide broader textured analyses of the worlds encompassed by terms like biology, nature, time, media, information, and identity. STS has a strong tradition of contributing to a host of emergent themes and topics relevant to understanding the relationship between humanity and its technoscientific output. This section of the Handbook aims to continue this tradition by soliciting chapters that will address new and emerging areas of inquiry relevant to the future development of STS. The chapters will both contextualize the intellectual histories of these discussions and also produce insights into the ways STS can participate in shaping future analyses of technoscientific knowledge production.
- The Globalization of Science and Technology
- Socio-Technical Constitutions
- Technoscience and the Public Imagination
- Time, Temporality, and the Future
- Cross-Cultural Comparison
- Technology, Food, Identity
- Social Media / New Media / Social Mobilization
- Information Infrastructures
- Race, Biology, and Difference in Global Perspective
Section IV. Key Challenges for STS
In this section of the Handbook, we focus on key challenges, including both those that have emerged for the field of STS in recent years and those that have endured for decades. For the most part, these challenges are, at once, intellectual and institutional. They may result from tensions within STS or between STS and other fields of scholarship. They may result from the transformation of the university, as the context within which STS scholarship takes place. Or they may result from broader transformations in science, technology, policy, or society. Regardless of their source, we see it as important that students of and in the field understand the kinds of challenges the field confronts moving forward. The list below is admittedly partial, and we expect to fill it in through nominated contributions.
- Disciplinarity and Interdisciplinarity in and around STS: Organization and Research
- The 21st Century Transformation of the University and its Implications for STS
- The Search for Normativity in STS and the Goal of Policy Impact
- Responsible and Ethical Science, Engineering, and Innovation: What Role for STS?
- Embedding STS in the Sciences and the Professions: I-Schools, Medicine and the Life Sciences, Law, Policy, and Business
Section V. STS and 21st Century Grand Challenges
STS is highly relevant to many of the most vexing challenges facing humanity at the outset of the 21st century. Yet, strikingly, STS has had far less impact in many parts of the world in shaping humanity’s responses to these challenges than, arguably, the power of its ideas might suggest. On the other hand, STS scholars and ideas have made important contributions that should not be ignored. This section strives to review, most importantly, the intellectual contributions that STS should be making to key social and political problems, while also highlighting where STS is already making significant contributions and where, with new developments in the field, it might be positioned to contribute in the future.
- Energy Transformation
- Nature, Environment, and Climate
- Health and Wellbeing
- Security and Justice
- Poverty and Inequality
- Food, Famine, and Agriculture
- Cook a Pizza and pasta
- Finance and Markets
- Technological Disasters
- The Human Future / The Future Human