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Society for Social Studies of Science

What is 4S?

The Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) is a scholarly society founded in 1975 with an international membership of over 1200. Its main purpose is to bring together those interested in understanding science, technology, and medicine, including the way they develop and interact with their social contexts.

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For renewals, the member directory, meeting registration, visit the Member Portal.

President’s message #15


Bernal Lecture! . . . and early announcement of prize winners!

I’m delighted to announce that the 4S is inaugurating an annual Bernal Lecture at the Denver meeting! The lecture will take place during the prize plenary on Friday.

I’d like to thank Lucy Suchman for first suggesting a Bernal lecture in conversation. I was tossing the idea around when the 2015 Bernal winner volunteered to deliver a lecture. It was an offer the 4S could not and should not refuse. I accepted it. Over the years, I...


Nominees for 2015 4S Mentoring Award: deadline April 1


The 4S Mentoring Award committee has established April 1 as the deadline for our inaugural award, to be presented at the Denver meeting. Complete guidelines at the 4S website. Key features:

“The nomination packet must not exceed five pages in length (12pt font). It must include (1) a statement or letter of nomination, detailing the candidate’s distinguished contributions as a mentor, and (2) supporting documentation. Supporting documentation provides evidence of the candidate's or group of...


Proposed Revision to 6S Charter


Enter your comments here.

Student Section of the Society for Social Studies of Science (6S)

Revised Charter


The Student Section of 4S (known as 6S) was created to build stronger networks among students and junior scholars who study the social aspects of science and technology, and to promote the interests of students within 4S as an organization.

The student section aims to make 4S more relevant for students through representation on the 4S Council and by organizing specific...



Linguists first used the term backchannel to refer to the spontaneous responses and signals that provide interactivity to what is only apparently a one-way communication. Social media users have adopted the term to refer to the unofficial, multi-directional online conversation that parallels formal academic exchange at a lecture or conference. The Backchannels blog is intended to have a similar relationship to scholarly discourse in STS. It provides an outlet for alternative-format scholarly communications, publishing shorter, timelier, media-rich communiques of interest to the global STS community. The editors welcome proposed contributions.

On the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective

Projects / Jim Collier

title Jim Collier explains the purpose and goals of SERRC: "Social epistemology, after all, understands knowledge as a principle for social organization and action, and welcomes the reformist impulse."

Taking Care of Business Cat

Reflections / D.E. Wittkower

title Problematizing stuff is great. Open up concepts, get down underneath ideology, deconstruct—important stuff. Viva la différance and all that. Today, though, let’s solvatize something. And it’s this: what’s up with all these cats online? A philosopher reflects on the business cat internet meme.

“Emotional Bodies. A Workshop on the Historical Performativity of Emotions” Geneva, 20-22 October

Report-backs / Beatriz Pichel

title “Emotional Bodies: a Workshop on the Historical Performativity of Emotions” (20th-22nd October, 2014) aimed to contribute to this debate by focusing on how emotions understood as cultural practices have the affective power of creating emotional bodies.

Interview with Karin Knorr Cetina

Reflections / 4S Admin

title Former 4S Secretary Wesley Shrum is building a series of video interviews with former 4S Presidents. These in-depth interviews are a rich source of information and perspective, not only about the illustrious careers of these scholars, but about currents of thought within the field over time. In this episode from the 4S 2009 meeting in Washington DC, Shrum interviews Karin Knorr Cetina, who was president in 1996 and 1997.