Constructing Worlds: Reflections on Science, Technology and Democracy (and a Plea for Bold Modesty)

  • Wiebe Bijker Maastricht University
Keywords: STS, SCOT, technological culture, development, democratization, RRI, biogas, India


Can STS offer a response to “alternative facts” without falling back into naive positivism? Can STS help to make science accountable to society and make it work—make it function in our democracies and let it produce scientific knowledge? In his valedictory lecture, Wiebe Bijker looks back upon three decades of STS research in general, and upon engaging STS with questions of democratization and development in particular. He starts from the question how to study technological cultures and ends with the question how to construct them. The argument moves from the social construction of technology to constructing socio-technical worlds. Finally, when trying to understand this construction work, the analysis zooms in on the constructing worlds: on the institutions in which this construction work takes place. 

Author Biography

Wiebe Bijker, Maastricht University

Wiebe E. Bijker is emeritus professor at Maastricht University and professor of Technological Culture at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim (NTNU). He is currently Chair of the Steering Group NWO-WOTRO/Science for Global Development and board member of the Rathenau Institute. Bijker received the 2006 John Desmond Bernal Prize from the Society for Social Studies of Science and the Thomson Scientific, and the 2012 Leonardo da Vinci Medal from the Society for the History of Technology. For more details, see:

23 May 2017