Semantic Apparatus – On Theory–Methods Packages in Science and Technology Studies

Cited by Lee Sonogan

Science and Technology Studies – denz dsgn

Abstract by Antti Silvast, Mikko J. Virtanen

Our review essay contributes to the long-standing and vibrant discussion in science and technology studies (STS) on methods, methodologies, and theory–method relationships. We aim to improve the reflexivity of research by unpacking the often implicit assumptions that imbue research conduct and by offering practical tools through which STS researchers can recognize their research designs and think through them in a new way. To achieve these aims, we analyze different compositions of theories, methods, and empirics in three different STS approaches—actor–network theory, the biography of artifacts and practices, and ethnomethodology—by employing the concept of a theory–methods package (TMP). A selection of theoretical cornerstone texts and case studies in infrastructure research from each tradition serves as our material. Our findings point, first, to differences between the TMPs of the reviewed approaches and to the internal diversity of theory–method relationships in each approach. Second, we found some intriguing similarities between the approaches and discuss potential complementarities of their theory–method fits.

Publication: Science, Technology, & Human Values (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

Pub Date: Sep 1, 2021 Doi:

Keywords: methodology, actor–network theory, biography of artifacts and practices, ethnomethodology, infrastructure (Plenty more sections and references in this research article)

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