The Ways of Science

Subject 136-040 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2008.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Two 1-hour lectures and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: Usually 75 points of first year study across any discipline areas.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Assoc Prof Helen Verran
Subject Overview:

A study of the social lives of gadgets and gizmos, concepts and theories. The social location of the sciences is changing, sciences are being privatised and militarised. The technoscientific objects and scientific concepts and theories that come out of these endeavours will reflect and express these origins. How do we analyse their social, moral and political consequences and attributes? Proceeding through case-studies, this subject examines some frameworks for analysing relations between science, technology, and society. Cases are chosen to demonstrate a range of contemporary approaches to analysis. We may consider early attempts to develop an electric car in France, ask about the nature of digital objects, and contrast the admirable Zimbabwe Bush pump with the never built TRSII British war plane. We might find ourselves asking about Piagetian theories of children's learning and Robert Boyle's theory of the spring of air'. Students are supported in carrying out a small research project on the social life of a gadget/gizmo/theory/concept of their choice.

Assessment: Written work totalling 4000 words comprising a 2000 word essay 50%, (due in week 8) and a 2000 word research report 50% (due at the end of SWOT VAC).
Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts:

Information Not Available

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • develop skills in written and oral communication;

  • conduct independent research;

  • make appropriate use of primary and secondary sources in mounting an argument;

  • form defensible judgements based on a critical evaluation of conflicting arguments.


Formerly available as 136-226/326 and as 136-040 Science, Technology & Society. Students who have completed 136-226, 136-040 or 136-326 Science, Technology and Society are not eligible to enrol in this subject. For science third year, see .

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Diploma in Arts (History and Philosophy of Science
Graduate Certificate in Arts (History & Philosophy of Science)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (History and Philosophy of Science)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Philosophyand Social Theory)

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