Prof Wiebe E. Bijker argues that a focus on the vulnerabilities of our societies gives more space for democracy, community and justice than the usual focus on risk management. He develops his claim by discussing a variety of examples, ranging from the situation of weavers in rural India to Dutch and American coastal engineering, from the aftermath of the Gujarat ‘riots’ to the benefits and risks of nanotechnologies.
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Wiebe E. Bijker, Prof
Dr Wiebe E. Bijker is professor of Technology & Society at the University of Maastricht, Holland. He was trained as an engineer in applied physics (Delft), studied philosophy (Groningen), and holds a PhD in the sociology and history of technology (University of Twente). Bijker is Director of Studies of the research master MSc-degree programme Cultures of Arts, Science, and Technology (CAST).
Bijker was President of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S). He is founding co-editor of the monograph series Inside Technology of MIT Press. In November 2006 Bijker received the John Desmond Bernal Prize: awarded jointly by the Society for Social Studies of Science and the Thomson Scientific.
Bijker’s research focuses on the relation between technology, society, and science. Since the 1990’s political and normative issues have been central. These issues are being studied in a variety of empirical domains: science & technology for developing nations, democratisation of science and technology, ICT, gender and technology, public health policies, public participation experiments, architecture and planning. His most recent work relates to issues of vulnerability in a technological culture—including the fundamental need for some vulnerability in any innovating society.