DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU


Module Specifications

Archived Version 2010 - 2011

Module Title Science & Society
Module Code CM582
School School of Communications

Online Module Resources

Module Co-ordinatorDr Padraig MurphyOffice NumberC159
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module explores various perspectives on the changing contexts and representations of science within society, as investigated in the disciplines of history, sociology, political science and communications. It examines the increasingly important position of science in advanced economies, particularly Ireland, and how science is harnessed to political and economic goals. It considers how discussions and disagreements about science are played out in the public arena.

Learning Outcomes

1. Recognise principal approaches to the study of science in social contexts
2. Identify the main social influences on the conduct and organisation of science
3. Describe trends in recent science policy-making
4. Assess practices and policies in ethical governance of science
5. Discuss critically ideas about science's relations with other intellectual practices and with ideological positions

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture22No Description
Seminars11No Description
Online activity5No Description
Independent Study130No Description
Total Workload: 168

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Basic terms and issues in social studies of science

Scientists' social role as experts and citizens

Science policy and the knowledge economy: the Irish case in context

Organisation and governance of science

Lives of scientists - biographies as social history

Sciences, arts and humanities: the two cultures debate revisited

Science culture and religion in Ireland

Science controversies and public participation

Public attitudes to science

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Bucchi, M: 2004, Science in Society - introduction to social studies of science, Routledge,
  • Gregory, J. and Miller, S.: 2000, Science in Public - communication, culture and credibility, Perseus Books,
  • Gould, S. J.: 2003, The Hedgehog, the Fox and the Magister's Pox - mending and minding the misconceived gap between science and the humanities, Jonathan Cape,
  • H. Nowotny, P. Scott and M. Gibbons: 2001, ReThinking Science - knowledge and the public in age of uncertainty, Polity Press,
  • N. White: 1999, Science, Colonialism and Ireland, Cork University Press,
  • J. Ravetz: 2006, The No-Nonsense Guide to Science, New Internationalist,
  • M. Erickson: 2005, Science, culture and society - undestanding science in the 21st century, Polity Press,
  • J. Wilsdon, B. Wynne & J. Stilgoe: 2005, The Public Value of Science - or how to ensure that science really matters, Demos,
  • J. Ziman: 2000, Real Science - what it is, and what it really means, Cambridge University Press,
  • M. Rees: 2003, Our Final Century – will the human race survive the twenty-first century?, Heinemann,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
MASSMA in Sexuality Studies
MSCM.Sc. in Science Communication
SMPHSSSingle Module Programme (Hum Soc Sci)