Visions Committee Report 2002
Summary and conclusions
The Vision committee was been appointed to address some specific future-oriented issues for the Society of Social Studies of Science. They included the question about name change, globalization challenges, the need to reintroduce matters of policy and politics, the need for more engagement with scientists and engineers, the role of 4S in career development, and fund raising in benefit of the society. The committee generally perceives the development of STS and 4S as positive and promising, also outside North America and Western Europe. To our Society, this is definitely not a moment of crisis, but of opportunities. We note that the growth of the field of STS may place new demands, but may also offer interesting options. 4S has till now been a rather modest in its aspirations as a professional society, focusing on the facilitation of scholarly communication. However, we believe that it is important to reflect upon and discuss the process of institutionalizing STS. This includes a deliberation of possible strategies to develop the society. The committee presents two possible institutional futures for the Society, one that is basically a continuation of the present trajectory of development and one that caters the ambition of developing 4S into a stronger professional society, with more explicit aims to professionalize the field of STS. We do not want to suggest that one or the other of these future developments is more attractive, but rather to emphasize the need to discuss such issues in order to have a reflexive position in relation to the matter at hand. Thus, while the committee has focused its work on concrete issues, we would like to emphasize the importance of a broader debate.