Friday, August 25, 2006

Abstract EASST Conference 2006 (Therese Garstenauer and Katja Mayer)

To Study Soft Sciences

We are engaged in the field of “Wissenschaftsforschung”, roughly “the research of science/social studies of science” in German, where the term “Wissenschaft” encompasses the natural, technical and social sciences and the humanities that are all critical in (re)configuring humanness. The objects of research in SSS and STS are most often hard/natural sciences, technology and medicine, and all possible combinations of the three areas, but very rarely social sciences or the humanities.

The deliberate inclusion of social sciences and the humanities in SSS/STS will not only broaden the range of research topics, but also increase self-reflexivity when SSS/STS theories and methods are applied to “soft” research fields. In evaluating our experiences and findings – analyzing core SSS/STS journals, tracking papers on research in the “soft” sciences since 1996 and investigating the gaps in SSS/STS research topics – we conclude that “incorporating” the Other sciences into the body of research can contribute substantially to transcending dualisms that still exist.

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