Wiebe E. Bijker

Wiebe E. Bijker
Maastricht University | UM · Department of Technology & Society Studies

Prof. dr. ir.

About

210
Publications
91,165
Reads
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16,928
Citations
Introduction
Bijker’s research focuses on the relation between technology, society, and science studied in a variety of empirical domains: nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, ICT, gender and technology, public health policies, science & technology for developing nations, sustainable agriculture, public participation experiments, architecture and planning. His most recent work relates to vulnerability in a technological culture — including the fundamental need for some vulnerability in an innovating society.
Additional affiliations
January 2013 - January 2016
Position
  • Chair NWO Division WOTRO Science for Global Development
January 2013 - January 2018
Orient Blackswan, Hyderabad, India
Position
  • Founding editor of “Science and Democracy in South Asia”.
January 2012 - present
Position
  • Distinguished Fellow at the SARChI Development Education, University of South Africa, Pretoria
Education
January 1990
University of Twente
Field of study
  • Sociology and History of Technology
January 1976
Delft University of Technology
Field of study
  • Physics, Engineering
January 1974
University of Amsterdam
Field of study
  • Philosophy

Publications

Publications (210)
Article
Full-text available
Wiebe Bijker, in his plenary lecture on the occasion of receiving SHOT's 2012 Leonardo da Vinci Medal, traces the history of the social construction of technology (SCOT) and interweaves this with observations on the development of the history of technology during the last three decades and with some biographical reflections. His collaborations with...
Book
Novel technologies and scientific advancements offer not only opportunities but risks. Technological systems are vulnerable to human error and technical malfunctioning that have far-reaching consequences: one flipped switch can cause a cascading power failure across a networked electric grid. Yet, once addressed, vulnerability accompanied by coping...
Article
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Second-generation (2G) biofuels are promoted worldwide as remedy to sustainable-energy challenges in the transport sector and as response to the criticism of first-generation biofuels. By utilizing agriculture and forest residues, 2G biofuels claim to support agricultural livelihoods and boost rural economies. Quantitative estimates exist of the av...
Chapter
Full-text available
THE Covid-19 pandemic presents a wake-up call to rethink the relationship between science and society. We need to formulate a new social contract between science and society. Different countries may emphasize different aspects in such a new social contract, but I will argue that Covid-19 has demonstrated the urgency for all countries to reconsider...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter investigates the implications of our living in technological cultures. The chapter first offers a brief introduction to STS and especially to constructivist social studies of technology. Then it is shown how science and technology are inherently political and that we cannot escape asking questions about democracy in our technological c...
Article
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In pursuit of responsible research and innovation (RRI), emphasis has been on various forms of inclusion in the governance of science, technology and innovation. Given that much of the ideas on inclusion in fact refer to discursive inclusion, it is surprising that little attention has hitherto been paid to what seems foundational to any discursive...
Article
Full-text available
It is a special moment in the history of STS. With the young discipline transitioning into a not so-young-field-anymore, there is plenty of reason for celebrations: defining groups are celebrating remarkable anniversaries and individual careers are celebrated when founding figures retire. These celebrations are also excellent moments for reflection...
Article
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Handloom weaving is the second most important livelihood in rural India after farming. Improving handloom technologies and practices thus will directly affect the lives of millions of Indians, and this is similar for many other communities in the global South and East. By analyzing hand-loom weaving as a socio-technology, we will show how weaving c...
Article
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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 enga...
Chapter
Full-text available
This essay argues for the pertinence and timeliness of STS engaging with studies and practices of development. We make our argument in two steps. The first is about extrapolating the political and intellectual agendas of each; the second is about substantive conceptual and empirical gains for both. The first argument builds on the increasing engage...
Article
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Controlled human malaria infections are clinical trials in which healthy volunteers are deliberately infected with malaria under controlled conditions. Controlled human malaria infections are complex clinical trials: many different groups and institutions are involved, and several complex technologies are required to function together. This functio...
Chapter
The 'social construction of technology' (SCOT) is one approach among several constructivist ways of studying science and technology that emerged in the 1980s. SCOT can be used to denote two different things. First, it is a research approach to study technical change in society, both in historical and in contemporaneous studies. And second, it is a...
Chapter
The ‘social construction of technology’ (SCOT) is one approach among several constructivist ways of studying science and technology that emerged in the 1980s. SCOT can be used to denote two different things. First, it is a research approach to study technical change in society, both in historical and in contemporaneous studies. And second, it is a...
Article
Full-text available
Handloom is much more sustainable than common views and standard government policies recognise. Instead of a linear migration out of weaving into other forms of livelihood, weaving communities show a more strategic mobility - flexibly departing from and again returning to weaving, depending on circumstances. This mobility can be traced in weavers'...
Article
Full-text available
Tuberculosis or tb is a very serious problem in India and worldwide, and generally lacks attention in the public domain. Scientists, medical doctors, health staff and community workers make heroic efforts but the innovative potential of India remains underused. This limits flexible responses to changing challenges and opportunities - such as, for e...
Article
Full-text available
Recently, the Health Council of the Netherlands (HCN) published a report on the precautionary principle. The key message was that rather than as a decision rule, the principle should be regarded as a strategy for dealing with uncertainty carefully. We applied these views of HCN to the issue of potential health effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF...
Article
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This book serves as yet another argument why a scholarly journal in the history of technology should indeed be titled “technology and culture.” According to Harry Collins, most, if not all, machines work only because humans make up for the social failures of these machines. Technologies only work when they are part of culture. Take the pocket calcu...
Article
Full-text available
This article reviews constructivist technology studies, and especially the social construction of technology (SCOT). To investigate how these constructivist studies regard the ontology of technology, I will trace their historical development in units of analysis, methodological approaches and research questions. Constructivist technology studies ar...
Article
Full-text available
Fifty years ago, SHOT was designed and created—one could say, engineered— in a careful and strategic way.1 During the subsequent fifty years, SHOT developed into the leading international scholarly society in the history of technology. The maturing of the society and its journal, Technology and Culture, went hand-in-hand with the development of the...
Article
Full-text available
Many scientists feel that scientific outcomes are not sufficiently taken into account in policy-making. The research reported in this paper shows what happens with scientific information during such a process. In 2001 the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management commissioned their regional office in Limburg to assess how flood...
Chapter
Constructivist Studies of Science and TechnologyThe Origin and Development of the Social Construction of TechnologyThe Social Construction of Technology as a Heuristics for ResearchSome Philosophical QuestionsTechnology and IdeasConceptual IssuesLogic and Epistemological IssuesEthical IssuesIssues of Political PhilosophyReligious IssuesReferences a...
Article
Full-text available
Publisher's note. We regret that in the course of production the address and e-mail of the corresponding author were entangled with that of a co-author; also an acknowledgement had not been incorporated into the final version. The correct versions are as given below.
Book
Today, scientific advice is asked for (and given) on questions ranging from stem-cell research to genetically modified food, and yet it often seems that the more urgently scientific advice is solicited, the more vigorously scientific authority is questioned by policy makers, stakeholders, and citizens. This book examines a paradox: how scientific a...
Chapter
The ‘social construction of technology’ (SCOT) is one approach among several constructivist ways of studying science and technology that emerged in the 1980s. SCOT can be used to denote two different things. First, it is a research approach to study technical change in society, both in historical and in contemporaneous studies. And second, it is a...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter we will critically examining some of the illusions, promises, challenges, and realizations of the Information Society. Handed down from the past are specific myths that may create illusions in the present and promises for the future that in effect will hamper the realization of the Information Society in its most promising forms.
Article
Full-text available
Council of the Netherlands 2006). In the final chapter of this report, we argued in favour of the establish- ment of sound procedures for democratic, scientifi- cally informed, control and decision-making and independently proposed that the risk governance framework of the IRGC (Renn 2005) may serve this purpose. In this letter, we draw a compariso...
Article
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This article contributes to recent discussions in technology studies about applying insights from technology studies to policy decisions about the development and management of technological innovations. It does so by examining two approaches that can be used by policy makers to manage radical technological innovations in mobility and transportatio...
Article
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This article shows how Dutch technological culture has historically dealt with and developed around vulnerability with respect to flooding and indicates recent developments in attitude towards the flood threat. The flooding of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina temporarily made the Dutch public worry about the flood defense infrastructure...
Article
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Things are thick with politics. This essay illustrates the point by focusing on a variety of technologies that help to manage water: anicuts and tanks in India, dikes and a storm surge barrier in the Netherlands, and levees in New Orleans. Technologies are not only shaped by political forces; they also exert political force themselves: on social st...
Article
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How is it possible that the USA failed to keep New Orleans dry, when large parts of the Netherlands can exist below sea level? This question, with all its implicit rhetoric about the big and mighty Americans and the small and weak Dutch, generated a flock of American expeditions to the Netherlands in the aftermath of the flooding of New Orleans by...
Article
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Article
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One of the key objectives of the “Past, Present and Future” conference was to inject a note of realism in the run up to phase two of the World Summit on the Information Society. This might seem strange, given that the original sponsor of the event, the Society for Social Studies of Science, is an international, professional association whose member...
Book
Past, Present and Future of Research in the Information Society examines the role of research and the production of knowledge in the information society, with special emphasis on developing areas of the world. Core issues of the book lie at the intersection of computer science and engineering, information and communication technologies, the World W...
Chapter
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This article explains the importance of technology to politics. The first reason to pay attention to technology in political studies is that such a focus on the technological in society will reveal aspects of politics that remain unnoticed otherwise. The study of technologies also shape political concepts and discussions and a focus on technology h...
Book
Past, Present and Future of Research in the Information Society examines the role of research and the production of knowledge in the information society, with special emphasis on developing areas of the world. Core issues of the book lie at the intersection of computer science and engineering, information and communication technologies, the World W...
Article
Full-text available
This article makes, first, a general argument for 'sustainable policies.' This argument will build on the observation that modern societies, of all political guise, find it difficult to cope with the challenges and opportunities posed by science and technology. Classical models of democracy do not seem to be sufficiently equipped to guide the polit...
Article
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At the occasion of the annual banquet of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), the President commemorated Robert K. Merton, Dorothy Nelkin, and David Edge, who all died in 2003. The address highlights some of the contributions of these three scholars and past presidents to the development of the social studies of science, and to 4S.
Article
In this address to the president's plenary at the 2001 annual meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the author reflected on then recent international events and their possible implications for the research and teaching agendas of the social studies of science, technology, and medicine. He proposed the pol...
Article
What do scientific advisory boards such as the Health Council of the Netherlands get their authority from? How does the Council ensure that its advice is incorporated into policy and into the practices at which the advice is directed? A frequently heard answer to this question is: by describing 'the state of knowledge' as optimally as possible. How...
Article
Full-text available
Technology and Culture 43.3 (2002) 569-584 "God created the world, and the Dutch created the Netherlands." The old adage summarizes—albeit in an immodest, not to say blasphemous, way—the popular Dutch view of their relationship to water. There is some truth in it: about half the country is below sea level and would be flooded without the dikes that...
Article
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Technology and Culture 43.2 (2002) 361-369 We welcome the opportunity offered by the editor of T&C to engage in this debate. As well as addressing specific questions raised by Nick Clayton we hope to move the discussion forward by focusing in particular upon the role of theoretical concepts in the history of technology. Clayton criticizes our accou...

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