A Fragile Field. The Development and Transformation of Science and Technology Studies in Switzerland

Regula Valérie Burri, Martina Merz


Abstract: This contribution reconstructs the history of Science and Technology Studies in Switzerland. With a focus on the institutional aspects of the field’s emergence, it traces early initiatives to foster social research on science and technology, then considers, in more detail, the network building that led to the foundation of the Swiss Association for the Studies of Science, Technology, and Society (STS-CH). It also identifies important sites of STS research in the Swiss academic landscape. This reconstruction reveals characteristics of the field as it emerges such as the late uptake of STS research in Switzerland compared to other European countries, the importance of young researchers and bottom-up initiatives for the building of a relevant academic network, and processes of fragile institutionalization and of de-institutionalization. To conclude, the contribution reflects on the field’s (inter)national and (inter)disciplinary configuration.

Keywords: STS; Institutionalization; History; Academic association; Interdisciplinarity; Switzerland.

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