Science as Practice and Culture

Subject 136-216 (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 has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Two 1-hour lectures and a 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment: .
Prerequisites: Usually 75 points of first year study across any discipline areas.
Corequisites: .
Recommended Background Knowledge: .
Non Allowed Subjects: .
Core Participation Requirements: .


Dr Rosemary Robins
Subject Overview:

This subject will examine ways of understanding and analysing science as a system of knowledge production and as a set of practices that shape our understanding of the world and our place in it. Examples of science, historical and contemporary, will be used to illustrate a range of questions, such as: what counts as factual and valid knowledge? What determines the development of scientific objects or new technologies? How does science shape our world? Is science insulated from society or integrated with it? Approaches examined will include: Mertonian normative sociology, symbolic interactionism, social constructivism, the strong programme, and actor-network theory. Students who complete this subject will gain an understanding of approaches to analysing science as a form of practice and culture that are central to the field of science and technology studies.

Assessment: Written work totalling 4000 words comprising a 1500 word tutorial paper 30% due mid-semester and a 2500 word essay 60% (due at the end of semester), class participation and contribution 10%. A hurdle requirement of attendance at eight tutorials is applicable.
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available from the Bookshop.
Recommended Texts: .
Breadth Options: This subject is a level 2 or level 3 subject and is not available to new generation degree students as a breadth option in 2008.
This subject or an equivalent will be available as breadth in the future.
Breadth subjects are currently being developed and these existing subject details can be used as guide to the type of options that might be available.
2009 subjects to be offered as breadth will be finalised before re-enrolment for 2009 starts in early October.
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Develop skills in written and oral communication

  • Conduct independent research

  • Form defensible judgements on the basis of critical evaluation of conflicting arguments.

  • Understand and analyse key conceptual and theoretical arguments

  • Develop their own argument based on empirical evidence

Notes: .
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Graduate Certificate in Arts (History & Philosophy of Science)
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Sociology)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (History and Philosophy of Science)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Sociology)

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