Staff members contribute to general theoretical debates in STS and the social sciences and humanities, and to science policy-making.

Science and Technology Studies (STS)

Science and Technology Studies (STS) is one of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology’s main research areas.

Our internationally recognised expertise in the field of STS has developed out of our pioneering work in the sociology of scientific knowledge in previous decades. This expertise further cements our interdisciplinary nature, both because STS is itself a constellation of ideas, methods and foci drawn from multiple disciplines, and because the STS research undertaken is informed by sociology, philosophy and anthropology, as well as influencing and inspiring them in turn. For example, our research in the sociology of health is strongly informed by ideas and approaches drawn from STS.

Research is very much attuned to some of the most pressing social and political issues of the present age, such as controversies over the social consequences of genetic and other forms of science, and the changing nature of warfare. Research engages systematically with a diverse range of user-groups, from health and science policy-makers to the British Army.

Our research also engages centrally with key issues and debates in philosophy and social theory, especially concerning issues around humanism and posthumanism, emergence and becoming and the ‘new vitalism.’

Our research in STS encompasses three broad and interlocking areas:

Science and Technology Studies

Within this area, research domains include analyses of scientific and technological practice, material culture, the arts and architecture, the environment, psychiatry, countercultures, cybernetics, warfare and (in)securities, and the STS-inspired analysis of disabilities. Staff members also contribute both to such areas as general theoretical debates in STS and the social sciences and humanities, and to science policy-making.

History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology

Within this theme, SPA is home to the Egenis, the Centre for the Study of the Life Sciences, a leading research unit which investigates the philosophical and social ramifications of contemporary biological and genetic sciences. We host one of the largest and most dynamic History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology research groups in Europe dedicated to understanding emergent forms of biological knowledge, practice and innovation.

Health and Health Technologies

Within this field, researchers analyse medical issues from a range of sociological, anthropological and STS perspectives. Substantive topics of expertise include genetics and health, and the analysis of tropical disease prevention policies and practices. The Health Technology & Society (HTS) research group serves as a focus for interdisciplinary research involving social aspects of emerging medical technologies, particularly those relating to diagnosis and intervention.

Find out more about specific research groups in the department:

Egenis Centre for the Study of the Life Sciences

Egenis, the Centre for the Study of Life Sciences, has a strongly interdisciplinary culture, encompassing a range of perspectives from social science, biology, and philosophy.

The Health Technology & Society (HTS) group

The Health Technology & Society (HTS) research group serves as a focus for interdisciplinary research involving social aspects of emerging medical technologies, particularly those relating to diagnosis and intervention.

History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology

We host one of the largest and most dynamic History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology research groups in Europe dedicated to understanding emergent forms of biological knowledge, practice and innovation.