The Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS) is an Integrative Research Center at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). As one of the most prominent centers for Science and Technology Studies (STS) in Germany, it is dedicated to understanding and reflexively shaping the multiple interactions between science, technology and society.
By addressing the pressing challenges of technoscientific developments, the MCTS engages in interdisciplinary research, teaching and dialogue. It does so by initiating conversations and collaborations between the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, and engineering.
empirical - interdisciplinary - reflexive - dialogic
At MCTS we focus on the interactions between science, technology, and society. All of our activities in research, teaching, outreach, and consultation have one thing in common: their subject matter is deeply technosocial. In our contemporary societies, the technical and the social are inherently connected and entangled. To best capture this, all of our work follows four guiding principles:
... empirical: Whether investigating social robotics, urban mobility, or renewables – our research is empirical, and we base our teaching, outreach, and consultation on empirical research. We work with a broad conception of what constitutes empirical knowledge: this includes statistics and models, but also qualitative analysis of documents and observations. Most importantly, theoretically grounded ideas and approaches must lead to the development of a systematic description and explanation of the topic at hand.
... interdisciplinary: Whether exploring biotechnology, social media, or nanomaterials – we take an interdisciplinary approach. Based on empirical research, our teaching addresses the opportunities and problems of interdisciplinary research, publishing and communication. We aim to foster intellectual exchange between philosophy, history, the social sciences, engineering and the natural sciences.
... reflexive: Whether looking at sustainable water management, self-driving vehicles, or the consequences of controversial technical expertise – we explore each topic with regard to two questions: What are the potential positive or negative consequences of creating this new knowledge or developing this new technology? And what social conditions (e.g. cultural specificities or political conflicts) shape their formation?
... dialogic: Whether the topic is citizen science, social neuroscience, or information technologies – we develop custom-made strategies to bring our research to the public, as well as to policymakers and business stakeholders. We also offer research-based consulting.
The mission of the MCTS is to better understand our contemporary TechnoSocieties and to actively contribute to their positive development!