Science, Conflict and Globalisation

Subject 136-540 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2009.

Time Commitment: Total Time Commitment: 2 contact hours/week, 8 additional hours/week. Total of 10 hours per week.
Prerequisites: Usually admission to the postgraduate diploma or fourth-year honours, or a postgraduate coursework program.
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: The subject examines controversies in which science and technology are central to the management of uncertainty and to decisions about how we shall live. It focuses on the relationship between expertise, policy, and citizenship. It introduces students to several case-studies, such as hazardous waste management, the siting of a nuclear facility, logging of native forests, uranium mining, the release of genetically modified organisms into the environment, the conservation and management of water resources. Students will examine how decisions are made when the science is intrinsically difficult and uncertain. They will evaluate methods of stakeholder engagement and resolution of conflict. They will trace and analyse the strategies and pathways by which outcomes are negotiated and consider the scope and effectiveness of citizen involvement in decision-making. On completion of the subject students will have gained a greater appreciation of the complex relationships between science, policy and citizenship in areas of decision-making where science and technology are central.
Objectives: Students who successfully complete this subject should:
  • develop a critical appreciation of the complex relationship between expertise, science policy and citizens in a globalising world;
  • understand the impact of globalisation on science policy and citizen engagement in decision-making;
  • comprehend the techno-scientific, social, economic and cultural processes that have generate controversy around scientific and technological development in modern society;
  • have developed a sound knowledge and understanding of several pertinent case-studies in which the science, conflict and globalisation are central features.
Assessment: Two 500 word papers totalling1000 words 30% (due during semester) and an essay of 4000 words 70% (due end of semester).
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available.
Recommended Texts: Tim O#Riordan, (ed.), (2001), Globalism, Localism & Identity: Fresh Perspectives on the Transition to Sustainability, Earthscan, London. Irwin, Alan, (2001), Sociology and the Environment, Polity, Cambridge, UK Irwin, Alan, (1995), Citizen Science: A Study of People, Expertise and Sustainable Development, Routledge, London and New York. Adam, Barbara, (1998), Timescapes of Modernity: The Environment and Invisible Hazards, Routledge, London and New York. Yearley, S., (1996), Sociology, Environmentalism, Globalization, Sage, London.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Students who successfully complete this subject should:
  • have developed research skills;
  • have developed critical thinking and analysis;
  • be able to think in theoretical terms;
  • be able to understand social, ethical and cultural contexts;
  • be able to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically;
  • have developed public speaking skills;
  • have developed written communication skills;
  • have developed good time management and planning.
Related Course(s): M.A.History & Philosophy of Science (Advanced Seminars & Shorter Thesis)
Master of Arts (International Studies)(Adv. Seminars and Shorter Thesis)
Master of Arts (Science, Communication and Society)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: History && Philosophy of Science

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