Open Dialogue Session: A Critical Conversation about Science, Technology, Innovation and Social Progress

Rethinking Society for the 21st Century: Developing a Science and Technology Studies Perspective


  • Johan Schot, Introduction to the IPSP and the STS contribution
  • Saurabh Arora, Social Progress a Compass
  • Eden Medina, Supranational Organizations and Technologies of Governance
  • Ulrike Felt, Perspectives for Democracy and Equality
  • Andy Stirling, Multiple Directions of Social Progress

Moderator: Fred Steward

Organizers: Saraubh Arora, Eden Medina, Ulrike Felt, Johan Schot, Andy Stirling,

A large group of Science, Technology Studies scholars is making a significant contribution to the report Rethinking Society for the 21th Century produced by the International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP; see The Panel seeks to answer the question whether we can hope for a better society in the context of a very challenging context of a series of system crises, growing inequality and climate change.

To answer this question the IPSP has mobilised hundreds of social scientists (including economists) to provide answer and to deliver a report. It will have 22 chapters and address major issues, among other things Social Justice, Inequality, Cities, Jobs, Markets, Finance, Corporations, Democracy, Sexuality, Violence, Wars, Peace and Security, Multiple Directions of Social Progress. In the final chapter the report will discuss contributions of social sciences to policy and institutional change.

The Panel claims that it has no partisan political agenda, but aims at restoring hope in social progress and stimulating intellectual and public debates. This open panel session will contribute to that debate and the development of the report itself. Drafts may be available for comments before the conference. We hope and anticipate many STS scholars will engage with the report and the debate. The contested nature of progress has, of course, been a foundational theme of our field

The session itself will be organized as a critical conversation. After a presentation of the main rationale behind the report and the STS contribution the panel will introduce three samples of the emerging themes. Subsequently the panellists will be open to challenge and engagement with conference participants through a moderated dialogue.