Wiebe Bijker

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Maastricht University
Bijker, Wiebe

Wiebe E. Bijker is professor of Technology & Society at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. He was trained as a physicist and engineer (Delft), studied philosophy (Groningen) and has a PhD in sociology and history of technology (Twente). The volume “Social Construction of Technology” (1987, 2012), which he co-edited with Pinch and Hughes, was selected by the MIT staff as one of the 30 most influential books ever published by MIT Press.

His current research relates to questions about science and technology for development, ranging from nanotechnology to handloom weaving and from the vulnerability of technological cultures to integrating indogenous forms of knowledge into university teaching. Bijker is past president of the Society for Social Studies of Science; chairman of the Board of the Research Council “WOTRO””Science for Global Development”; member of the Board of the Rathenau Institute (the Dutch Technology Assessment Office); and member of the Health Council of the Netherlands. For more details, see: www.fdcw.unimaas.nl/staff/bijker.

ABSTRACT: Designing Technologies for Societal Challenges: From the bicycle to synthetic biology

All technologies are designed, and so are the products of synthetic biology. Designers make crucial choices that result in values being incorporated in technology, and which have implications for technology’s role in society. Since all designs are thus inevitably value-laden, Bijker will propose that we explicitly address this question of implicit values and social and political choices in designing technologies in general, and in synthetic biology in particular. He will argue that societies need to experiment with new ways of democratically dealing with emerging technologies (like synthetic biology), and will illustrate this with the societal dialogue in The Netherlands on nanotechnology (2009-2011).