Historical epistemology challenges conventional (classic) epistemology which seeks to generalize knowledge. Similar to other non-classic epistemologies, historical epistemology puts knowledge in biological, social, historical and material context. The distinctive feature of historical epistemology is brining intuition and historical research methods into epistemological discourse which allows us to contemplate the development of such notions as knowledge, truth, objectivity, rationality, obviousness and probability.
Science and Technology Studies
‘Scientists have proven that …’, this phrase has a magical quality to it which leaves us in awe and make us shape our lives so that they accord with the findings made by scientists. But what to do when scientists cannot reach accord between themselves? When theories that were believed true yesterday are today shelved away as obsolete? When contradicting theories generate contradicting imperatives? Do the common people have a choice? Does the society have a choice? These issues are addressed by Science and Technology Studies, a ‘non-classical’ inter-disciplinary area, which over the last 20 years have become a forum where scientific and technical culture is discussed.
Sociology of Academic World
The course features notable advances made in sociology in terms of deciphering the academic world. The course (lectures and workshops) is divided in two parts. The first outlines the boundaries of the academic world in its intellectual and institutional aspects: what do we need to know about institutions encapsulating scientific disciplines. What do we need to know about the importance of cognitive boundaries and the social mechanisms behind them? The second part of the course discusses the motives of a scholar in his natural, as perceived by the Chicago school, progression from his first ever position to academic distinctions.
Introduction to Social Network Analysis (SNA)
Nine practical lessons introduce students to a special software used to study social networks. Lectures address sociological aspects of Social Network Analysis based on a number of new concepts and the most prominent researches. The combination of practical lessons and lectures make the course a useful one for those who pursue studies of SNA-related issues (analysis of communities, groups, social capital, distribution of innovations) and those who needs SNA as a method of structure visualization.
The Politics of Technoscience
This advanced course aims to explore key issues involved in the current debate on governance of science and technology from various viewpoints in Science and Technology Studies (STS). We will overview some of the approaches in STS that are examined in the governance debate and practices of technology assessment, the politics of artefacts, commercialisation of science and the response of STS, the control over technology, epistemic places as well as the roles of STS in governance processes.
Sociology and Economics of Technical Changes
This lecture course contemplates the role of technical change (and innovation as its core) in economic and social development of modern societies. The first part analyses in macro-economic terms the relationships between technical change and economic growth, focusing on different interpretive models in economic theory. It briefly analyzes the apprehension of technology by classical political economy and neoclassical economics (including Keynesian macroeconomics) to introduce the contribution of Joseph Schumpeter and some of his late followers, such as Israel Kirzner, Richard Langois, Richard Svedberg and some others. This is followed by topics from the leading authors in the economics of technical change as Nathan Rosenberg, Richard Nelson and Christopher Freeman. The second part introduces the micro-economic perspective on technological change, focussing on innovation processes at the level of enterprise.
Modern Russian Policy in Science and Technology
The course addresses the latest tendencies in scientific and technical policy in Russia based on theories and models developed in political sciences. The course provides an introduction to social and political theories (terminology and theories of sociology and political science) and concepts of political science. Students wishing to take the course are expected to be able to work with source materials and literature (both in Russian and foreign languages), express their opinions and substantiate them during discussions. Some prior knowledge of political science, sociology and philosophy will be useful.
Social Studies of Laboratory Science
The centuries-old controversy between natural sciences and social sciences is now being replaced with synergy of disciplines. The purpose of the course is to start a dialogue between physicists and sociologists of Tomsk which will let them learn from each other and contribute to each other’s research practices. The course includes six lectures, each featuring a prominent scientific research or scientists who made the research. The course is open to students, MA students and graduate students of any department.
Sociology of Materiality
The course provides an introduction to classic works of Bruno Latour and John Law in Science and Technology Studies.