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Society for Social Studies of Science

Committee Reports

Visions Committee Report 2002

07/01/2002

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.