Social technologies: Cross-disciplinary reflections on technologies in and from the social sciences Introduction

Maarten Derksen*, Signe Vikkelso, Anne Beaulieu

*Corresponding author for this work

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16 Citations (Scopus)
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In this introduction, we explore the relevance to critical psychology of the ideas about technology that have come from science and technology studies (STS), which we argue allow a new look at a classic theme in critical approaches in psychology. Rather than seeing psychical and social reality as objective realities, critical psychologists have approached them as the products of historically situated practices, intimately tied up with the circumstances of their production. We suggest that this metaphor of production can be developed in new ways by investigating tools, methods, and phenomena within psychology through the optic of STS. At the same time, STS may also gain from turning to psychology, since it has predominantly focused on the natural sciences and may be inspired to adjust its analytical approach to people and technology through this encounter. We position the notion of social technology both in relation to assumed distinctions between the natural and the social world and in relation to critiques of these assumptions. With the concept of social technology, we argue for investigating the instruments of psychology and social science with equal attention to the way so-called "technical" and "human" elements work together, and sometimes fail, to constitute particular effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-147
Number of pages9
JournalTheory & Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2012


  • critical psychology
  • governmentality
  • Latour
  • sociotechnical
  • technologies of the self

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