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Science studies

In academics, science studies is an umbrella term encompassing the disciplines known separately as history of science, sociology of science, philosophy of science and more rarely the Logic and methodology of science. Science studies scholars also include anthropologists. The success of science at generating useful and reliable understandings about the world has attracted curiosity from diverse perspectives, including curiosities oriented toward culture, politics and epistemology. An overarching goal that applies to many science studies research projects is to learn how scientific understanding progresses.

Technology studies is a field that has mushroomed in recent decades. In addition to the disciplines mentioned above, it attracts attention from economists (e.g. on costs of R&D), geographers (e.g. on division of labour over space in innovation and use of technologies), and ethicists (bioethics) and legal studies (e.g. information technology law, internet regulation). There has emerged a very active field of "innovation studies" in which many of these disciplines cooperate. This field covers not only invention and innovation, but also the diffusion, implementation, consumption, reinvention, and representation of technologies. (Innovation studies also cover non-technological innovations, though there as been much less effort here.)

Technology studies deal with human products whose utility is a matter of whether or not they "work" in effecting transformations of the material world. Sciece studies deal with knowledge claims, but these are often interpreted as claims to truth; many students of science studies have preferred to skate around the question of veracity (and some treat all scientific approaches as being in effect of equal truth value), and say that science "works" to the extent that relevant communities believe in its claims.

See also