SemesterFall Semester, 2023
DepartmentSophomore Class of BA in Global Governance Junior Class of BA in Global Governance Senior Class of BA in Global Governance
Course NameTechnoscience and Contemporary Society
Course TypeElective
Course Objective
Course Description
Course Schedule

Week-by-week Syllabus and Readings

9/13 Week 1

Course Orientation


9/20 Week 2

Sociotechnical Imagination

A quick introduction followed by a viewing of the film: Railways: The Making of a Nation – Time by BBC Liz McIvor.

Before the railways, Britan was divided and local time was proudly treasured. Clocks in the west of the country were several minutes behind those set in the east. The railways wanted the country to step to a new beat in a world of precise schedules and timetables that recognised Greenwich Mean Time.


9/27 Week 3

Technoscience and Systematic Failure

A quick introduction followed by a viewing of the film:

“Brakeless” directed by Kyoko Miyake, and then grouping and discussion. What led a Japanese commuter train to speed dangerously, causing a deadly crash? Was the society’s pursuit of efficiency to blame?


10/4 Week 4

Culture and Management

Required reading:

Edensor, Tim (2002) ‘Popular rituals: sport and carnival’, extract from National identity, popular culture, and everyday life. Oxford: Berg: pp. 78-81


Ray, C. A. (1986). Corporate Culture: The Last Frontier of Control.  Journal of

Management Studies, 23(3), 287-297.


10/11 Week 5

Identity, Groups and Organizations (Marx Weber)

Required reading:

Weber Rationalization and Modern Society, Translated and Edited by Tony Waters and Dagmar Waters (2015 Palgrave MacMillan), Max Weber’s Sociology in the Twenty-first Century, pp 1-12


10/18 Week 6

Social Control, Management and Surveillance (Émile Durkheim)

Required reading:

Lyon, D. (1998) “The world wide web of surveillance: the internet and off-world power flows”, in H.   Mackay and T. O’Sullivan (eds) The Media Reader. London: Sage.


10/25 Week 7

Modern Institution and Disciplinary Power (Michel Foucault)

Required reading:

Taylor, C. (2011) ‘Biopower’ in D. Taylor (ed) Michel Foucault: Key Concepts. Durham: Acumen Publishing. Pages 41-53.


11/1 Week 8

Cultural Capital and Stratification (Karl Marx)

Required reading:

Lawler, Steph  (2014) The Hidden Privileges of Identity: On Being Middle Class. In Sociological Perspectives on Identity.


11/8 Week 9

Mid-term Week (Catching up Week)


11/15 Week 10

Field Trip

Island and Life of Power- The Era of Taiwan's Electrification

National Taiwan Museum: Nanmen Park


11/22 Week 11

Social Interaction and Cognitive Psychology

Required reading:

Miller, D. (2012) Consumption and its consequences. Cambridge: Polity, Ch 3: Why we shop p64-89.


11/29 Week 12

Race, Ethnicity and Performativity

Required reading:

Rattansi, Ali (2007) ‘New racisms’, in Racism. A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press: pp. 86-112.


12/6 Week 13

Technological Determinism

An introduction followed by a viewing of the documentary:

“The Making of a Nation: Railway Mania: Capitalism, Company Rivalry and Railway Network” by BBC Liz McIvor


Required reading:

Wajcman, J. (2002). Addressing Technological Change: The Challenge to Social Theory. Current Sociology. Volume 50, Issue 3, 347–363.


12/13 Week 14

Technology and Politics

An introduction followed by a viewing of the documentary:

“Who Killed the Electric Car?” and discussion session.


Required reading:

Winner, Langdon. “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” Daedalus 109, no. 1 (1980): 121–36.


12/20 Week 15

Presentation Week


12/27 Week 16

Final-term Week (Catching up Week)


 Week 17

Self-Learning Week

 Week 18

Self-Learning Week

Selective reading:

Orlikowski. (2007). Socio-material Practices: Exploring Technology at Work. Organization Studies, 28(9), 1435–1448.


Teaching Methods
Teaching Assistant

Sophie Unsworth


  • (30%): Participation, critical reading, and summarizing. Summering readings in PowerPoint slides for the class. At least 30 minutes at a time with a detailed summary of the main arguments, post-reading questions and initial responses.

  • (30%): 6 weekly reviews. Notes on the lecture contents.

  • (40%): Presentation and an empirical case-based sociological essay containing 2400 words essay. At week 13, the title of the essay needs to be confirmed. You MUST make clear references to the concepts introduced in the lectures.

Textbook & Reference
Urls about Course