Professor Steve Woolgar of the Said Business School has been awarded the prestigious J. D. Bernal Prize by the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S). The Bernal Prize is awarded annually to an individual judged to have made a distinguished contribution to the field. Previous recipients include Robert Merton, Thomas Kuhn and Mary Douglas. Professor Woolgar was awarded the prize at the joint meeting of 4S and the European Association for Studies of Science and Technology (EASST) in Rotterdam.
Professor Woolgar received his nomination for the major contribution he has made to Science and Technology Studies throughout his career, including the analysis of the temporal and discursive organisation of discovery accounts; ethnographic studies of laboratory science; and visualization in science. He has promoted the importance of reflexivity; introduced the concept of "configuring the user"; and significantly advanced our understanding of the social implications of electronic technologies, especially in his role as Director of the ESRC Virtual Society Programme.
He has been pre-eminent in articulating the potential of Science and Technology Studies for a number of areas, including social theory, and business and management. Most recently, he has turned his attention to problems of governance and accountability, demonstrating the central importance of ordinary objects and mundane technologies in controlling our lives.
One of the pinnacles of his early career was the collaboration with Bruno Latour on Laboratory Life, the first book published from the wave of laboratory ethnographies in the late 1970s. It has been described as perhaps the most influential book in social studies of science published in the past 30 years.
On presenting the award Professor Michael Lynch, President, Society for Social Studies of Science, commented: "It is a special pleasure to give this award to Steve Woolgar, because the considerable achievements it recognizes are far from finished, and I fully anticipate yet more creative turns in the future."
Receiving the award Professor Woolgar said: "I am delighted to have received this award. It is a huge honor for me personally, but it also recognizes the key role of Oxford and the Saïd Business School in developing and promoting Science and Technology Studies. This very important multidisciplinary research area is set to flourish."
Source: Said Business School