Part 1: Theories and Concepts of STS
Author: Victoria DuPre
What Is Constructivism? Social Constructivism is a cognitive theory that highlights collaboration in learning. It is a sociological ideology focusing on how humans learn and survive in a constantly changing society. The principles of social constructivism were developed by psychologist Lev Vgotsky in 1968. Social Constructivism is significantly interrelated to communication, observation, and environments (GSI). Vygotsky advocated that learning thrives the most in social and cultural settings rather than individually. People learn by discussing topics of all sorts with one another. People also learn by watching and replicating what they are experiencing (Vygotsky). While in the midst of the comprehension process, humans are absorbing the environment around them; whether positive or negative. The fundamental concepts that Vygotsky believed were that knowledge is created, or rather constructed through human connection, and that individuals create purpose from their interactions.
Saul Mcleod, PhD psychology and research professor at the University of Manchester described Vgtosky’s views as “theories that stress the fundamental role of social interaction in the development of cognition (Vygotsky, 1968), as he believed strongly that community plays a central role in the process of ‘making meaning, ’” (Mcleod 2018). According to Vgotsky, cultural interactions play an important role in human development and perception of the world. That is, concepts are transmitted and understood through language, interpreted and understood by previous interactions and cultural experiences. Vgotsky states “A special feature of human perception … is the perception of real objects … I do not see the world simply in color and shape but also as a world with sense and meaning,” (Vgotsky, 1968). He argued that the ability to learn comes from social interactions and being integrated into a knowledgeable society.
Here is where you will discuss those who may disagree with the theory or concept.
Relationship to STS
In relation to STS, it is critical to note the importance of understanding how social constructivism is shaped by a constantly modernizing society. Dr. Wiebe E. Bijker, a social constructivist theorist and professor in the Netherlands continues to study Vygtosky’s approach and teachings, modernizing them to mold with today’s society. Bijker continues to advocate for constructivism and argue that, “We live in a tech-nological culture,” we have an obligation to try to understand [that) technological culture” (Cutcliffe, 20). Bijker has witnessed many historical events that have shaped our world today. He states that people in society today have witnessed a technological revolution. From living and observing his environment, he teaches that our culture is heavily influenced and dependent on modern society and technology. Bijker believes it is nearly impossible to understand the world, western culture emphasized, without noting the role of science and technology. Technology is featured in many areas of culture like communication, environmental issues, and adaptability. Bijker feels that it is crucial to understand science in technology in order to understand modern culture.
Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) can be used to discuss two different topics: it is used as a research approach to study technical changes in society occurring on a daily basis and it is also a theory comparing society and technology (Social Construction of Technology). When technology is embraced by society it creates social/behavioral changes. . According to Bijiker, the critical difference between a standard view of Science and Technology (and society) versus a constructivist view of science and technology is the interconnectedness of the domains. Instead of clear distinctions between political and scientific categories, they are intertwined (Cutcliffe, 2001). Bijker and other constructivists teach that understanding and regulation of scientific information is a social activity. He also states that “Social shaping of technology and technical building of society are two sides of the same coin,” (Cutcliffe, 2001). Social constructivists believe that science, technology and society are intertwined.
In the social construction of technology approach, social groups are the apex. Technology and its importance is seen through the eyes of these social groups.
Here you will provide examples of this theory or concept as it relates to STS.
Here you will provide information about ways that voices may have been left out of the conversation about this theory or concept.
Here you will provide an infographic that sums up your theory or concept that includes a brief definition, its relationship to STS, and brief examples.
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McLeod, S. A. (2018, August 05). Lev Vygotsky. Simply Psychology. www.simplypsychology.org/vygotsky.html
Social constructivism. (n.d.) GSI Teaching Resource Center. https://gsi.berkeley.edu/gsi-guide-contents/learning-theory-research/social-constructivism/
“Social Construction of Technology .” (n.d.) Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. . Retrieved April 25, 2022 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/social-construction-technology
Stephen H. Cutcliffe, & Carl Mitcham. (2001). Visions of STS : Counterpoints in Science, Technology, and Society Studies. SUNY Press.
Vygotsky, L.S. (1968). Thought and language (newly revised, translated, and edited by Alex Kozulin). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.