Technology, Innovation, Society (Seminar)

Lecturer (assistant)
  • Stefania Sardo
Duration4 SWS
TermSommersemester 2022
Language of instructionEnglish
Position within curriculaSee TUMonline

Admission information

See TUMonline
Note: The language of instruction is English. The two assignments must be completed in English. For registration, you have to be identified in TUMonline as a student. Note: as class discussion is very important for this course, please DO NOT take the class if you cannot make the necessary time commitment.


At the end of the course, students should be able to: - Understand what innovation is and how socio-technical change can happen - Understand the political, social and other dimensions of technology - Have an understanding of how science and technology work as a social processes (e.g. how technical knowledge is produced and how in turn it can reshape social structures and processes) - Discuss some of the social impacts of technologies and consider the ethics of scientific and technical practice - Understand and apply concepts and theoretical frameworks discussed in class. - Gain an understanding of different research techniques, including interviews, document analysis and literature research. Among the aims of this course is to get students to think and write critically about the relationship between technology and society, and the role and responsibility of scientists, policymakers, and citizens within that. Students will also be evaluated on their ability to relate established theories and practices to current events.


The course introduces students to concepts and frameworks related to technology and innovation processes. This course will explore the multiple ways in which technology, individuals, and institutions shape each other to the benefit/detriment of society. Students will become familiar with several analytical perspectives from Science and Technologies Studies and Innovation Studies in particular. The course includes topics such as: - what technology is, how politics and/or social values are embedded in technologies; - intended users, representation of users in design, and technological diffusion - different perspectives on technological change - relations between democracy, inequality and innovation - what role science, industry, governments play in innovation processes - social implications of innovation (e.g. environmental impacts, risks) - how socio-technical transitions (can) take place, with a focus on energy transitions - questions of responsibility in science and innovation


This course does not presume prior knowledge, and there are no prerequisites. The course is aimed at graduate students in Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Consumer Affairs, Economics and Policy. However, students with other backgrounds are very much welcomed – e.g. Social Sciences and Humanities, Engineering, Natural Sciences, Architecture and Urban Studies, and Law.

Teaching and learning methods

The course has a seminar-lecture format. 3 to 4 readings per week will be assigned in advance (the syllabus will be uploaded on Moodle). Students should read the compulsory readings BEFORE class, in order to be able to discuss them (e.g. their assumptions, main arguments, connection to other readings). This is meant to stimulate students’ thinking and facilitate the final exam preparation. During the course, students will work in groups to answer specific questions or to discuss what they have learned. Finally, students will be asked to present in class as part of their individual assignment. NB: additional important information for the class will be announced during lectures or posted on Moodle.


Each student will present ONCE in class during the semester AND will perform a final exam at the end of the course. See Moodle for assigned presentation dates.

Recommended literature

The syllabus with the compulsory readings can be found on Moodle