Definition of Science, Technology and Society


In a later post, I will give a brief history of science and technology studies because it helps explain why the name is so long.  This post is to elaborate on the definition of it that I use.

If you read about the different programs of science and technology studies offered at universities like Stanford or MIT, there will be few overlaps regarding the exact classes and topics relevant to the study.  

The overlaps that exist are the basics.  Such as studying the early philosophers and individuals who had a large influence on modern day science and technology.  This is separated typically in two parts from pre-1800s to “modern science/technology” post-1800s.

This is largely due to science being acknowledged as a distinctive study and a practice.  It was no longer just philosophy and it wasn’t just an applicable practice, i.e. medicine.

The reason why there are varying approaches to studying and defining science, technology, and society is because each individual or school will emphasize one part of the study more than the other.  This is due to individual preference and the anticipated application of the study.


STS in general terms seeks to understand how science and technology affect political, social, and cultural aspects of society.  It is complicated to study just one affecting the other without the analysis of how it goes the other way.  Meaning how society, culture, and politics influences science and technology and how science and technology affect society, culture, and politics.

The three main terms in the study are very complex within themselves. I will later explain the difference between science and technology.  For now, I just wanted to make sure the definition of STS that I am using is clear.