This is 3S’s signature module. Advances in science and technology have transformed the world we live in and have increasing potential to disrupt environment and society for good and bad. This situation is particularly problematic in addressing pressing sustainability challenges. Science remains one of the main means of understanding environmental problems and technology can offer important possible solutions to them. Yet, science and technology are also causes of these problems in the first place, with some unintended consequences and effects only just being realised. This, coupled with unacknowledged social and ethical implications, fuels problems of public trust, controversy and resistance to certain forms of science and technology. It is increasingly realised that these problematic relations between science, society and politics form one of the main barriers to action on environmental and sustainability issues from global to local scales. This module provides an essential grounding in understanding these relationships and ways to improve them, explored through grand challenges such as energy, climate change, and natural hazards. The module provides students with an advanced introduction to the field of science and technology studies and its links with geography and environmental science. It is taught through lectures, seminars, practical exercises and in class discussions and debates in three sections: Part 1: Science, politics and power; Part 2. Science, society and the public; and Part 3: Governing science and sustainability.
Module organiser: Jason Chilvers