Research

 

You will find a complete range of our monographs, muti-authored and edited works including peer-reviewed, original scholarly research across the social sciences and aligned disciplines. We publish long and short form research and you can browse the complete Bristol University Press and Policy Press archive of over 1600 titles.

Policy Press also publishes policy reviews and polemic work which aim to challenge policy and practice in certain fields. These books have a practitioner in mind and are practical, accessible in style, as well as being academically sound and referenced.
 

Books: Research

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Ethical Perspectives

EPUB and EPDF available Open Access under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

We tend to hold people responsible for their choices, but not for what they can’t control: their nature, genes or biological makeup.

This thought-provoking collection redefines the boundaries of moral responsibility. It shows how epigenetics reveals connections between our genetic make-up and our environment. The essays challenge established notions of human nature and the nature/nurture divide and suggest a shift in focus from individual to collective responsibility.

Uncovering the links between our genetic makeup, environment and experiences, this is an important contribution to ongoing debates on ethics, genetics and responsibility.

Open access
Science and Technology Studies and Health Praxis
Editor:

From health tracking to diet apps to biohacking, technology is changing how we relate to our material, embodied selves.

Drawing from a range of disciplines and case studies, this volume looks at what makes these health and genetic technologies unique and explores the representation, communication and internalization of health knowledge.

Showcasing how power and inequality are reflected and reproduced by these technologies, discourses and practices, this book will be a go-to resource for scholars in science and technology studies as well as those who study the intersection of race, gender, socio-economic status, sexuality and health.

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Steam’s Tangled Markets

This book examines the evolution of digital platform economies through the lens of online gaming.

Offering valuable empirical work on Valve’s ‘Steam’ platform, Thorhauge examines the architecture of this global online videogame marketplace and the way it enables new markets and economic transactions. Drawing on infrastructure, software, platform and game studies, the book interrogates the implications of these transactions, both in terms of their legality, but also in how they create new forms of immaterial labour.

Shedding new light on a previously under-explored branch of the study of digital platforms, this book brings a unique economic sociology perspective into the growing literature on videogame studies.

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Making Bushfire Babies

What is it like to have a baby in climate crisis?

This book explores the experiences of pregnant women and their partners, pre- and post-birth, during the catastrophic Australian bushfire season of 2019-20 and the subsequent COVID-19 pandemic. Engaging a range of concepts, including the Pyrocene, breath, care and embodiment, the authors explore how climate crisis is changing experiences of having children. They also raise questions about how gender and sexuality are shaped by histories of human engagements with fire.

This interdisciplinary analysis brings feminist and queer questions about reproduction and kin into debates on contemporary planetary crises.

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A Science and Technology Studies Approach

This accessible book introduces students to perspectives from the field of science and technology studies.

Putting forward the thesis that science and democracy share important characteristics, it shows how authority cannot be taken for granted and must continuously be reproduced and confirmed by others. At a time when fundamental scientific and democratic values are being threatened by sceptics and populist arguments, an understanding of the relationship between them is much needed.

This is an invaluable resource for all who are interested in the role of scientific knowledge in governance, societal developments and the implications for democracy and concerned publics and citizen engagement.

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The Political Roots of the Public Engagement Agenda
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Public trust in the scientific community is under extraordinary pressure. Crucial areas of human activity and public policy, such as education, universities, climate and health care are influenced by populist political strategies rather than evidence-based solutions. Moreover, data-driven methods are becoming increasingly subject to de-legitimisation.

This book examines potential remedies for improving public trust and the legitimacy of science. It reviews different policy approaches adopted by governments to incentivise the empowerment of stakeholders through co-production arrangements, participatory mechanisms, public engagement and interaction between citizens and researchers.

Offering an original analysis of the political roots of the governmental impact and engagement agenda, this book sheds much-needed light on the wider connections to democracy.

Open access
How Technology Discourses Quantify, Extract and Legitimize Inequalities

We are often expected to trust technologies, and how they are used, even if we have good reason not to. There is no room to mistrust.

Exploring relations between trust and mistrust in the context of data, AI and technology at large, this book defines a process of ‘trustification’ used by governments, corporations, researchers and the media to legitimise exploitation and increase inequalities.

Aimed at social scientists, computer scientists and public policy, the book aptly reveals how trust is operationalised and converted into a metric in order to extract legitimacy from populations and support the furthering of technology to manage society.

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Mapping Inequality in the Digital Age
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This book exposes how inequalities based on class and social background arise from employment practices in the digital age. It considers instances where social media is used in hiring to infiltrate private lives and hide job advertisements based on locality; where algorithms assess socio-economic data to filter candidates; where human interviewers are replaced by artificial intelligence with design that disadvantages users of classed language; and where already vulnerable groups become victims of digitalisation and remote work.

The author examines whether these practices create risks of discrimination based on certain protected attributes, including "social origin" in international labour law and laws in Australia and South Africa, "social condition" and "family status" in laws within Canada, and others. The book proposes essential law reform and improvements to workplace policy.

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Exploring the Promise of a World Beyond Capitalism
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In this stimulating analysis, Hannes Gerhardt outlines the potentials and challenges of a technology-enabled, commons-focused transition out of capitalism.

The book shows that openness and cooperation are more beneficial in today’s economies and societies than competition and profit-seeking. Driven by this conviction, Gerhardt identifies key imperatives for overcoming capitalism, from democratizing our digital, material, and financial economies to maintaining a robust, political mobilization. Using clear examples, he explores tactical openings through the lens of ‘compeerism’, a newly constructed framework that highlights the latent counter-capitalist possibilities, but also limits, of our emerging technological landscape.

This is an accessible contribution to counter-capitalist discourse that is both inspiring and pragmatic for academics and activists alike.

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Does the Digital Make the Difference?
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Do digital networks make a difference to the scope, scale and severity of social harm? Considering four distinct digital affordances for crime (access, concealment, evasion and incitement) this book asks whether they are simply new packaging for old problems, with no greater effect on society overall – or is cyberculture significantly escalating illegality?

Matthew David gives fresh insights into online harms and behaviours in the fields of hate, obscenity, corruptions of citizenship and appropriation, offering a comprehensive and integrated approach for those both new and experienced in the field of cybercrime.

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