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Anselmo Matusse1 Introduction Sustainable development is a complex and multifaceted process; this peculiarity requires us to go beyond disciplinary, geographical, economic and social boundaries when studying sustainability. Bloor (1990), Latour (1993) and Constanza et al (2007) propose an interrelated study of society and nature. The global mind-set now is that sustainable development must integrate three pillars, namely: economic, social and environment; but the ways these pillars are combined vary from context to context local or global, which, in turn, can lead to a collapse or resilience (see Constanza et al 2007). When we talk about sustainable development we need to connect the past, present and the future, a project discussed by Constanza et al so we can say sustainability is about continuity and/or change. It is within this context that we can evaluate technology; what are the assumptions, processes and interests behind it - be these intentional or unintentional for continuity or change. The objective of the essay is to problematize knowledge production and technology and

advocate perspectiveness2, which is discussed by authors such as Winners (1980), Haraway (1988), Harding (1998), Rogers et al (2008) and Sismondo (2010); this is possible using a social constructivist approach; in this case, science (and technology) is, according to Thomas Kuhn, what scientists and engineers do (my italics), but this doesnt mean that the material objects or technologies dont have a structuring force or agency as Haraway (1988) puts it. Using the case of group presentations, I evaluate technology, using the course literature. I chose the access to clean sanitation to show that from a western point of view (allegedly global) toilets (physical buildings) are an essential need for peoples survival but from a local point of view the story might have different villains and heroes.
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Nice intro!

Good example.


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Approaching Science and Technology According to Sismondo (2010) before Thomas Kuhn, science and technology were seen as formal activities, being technology the direct application of science. The truth was produced from individual data using formal and logical methods and theories; little or no agency was attributed to scientists. Kuhns structure of Scientific Revolutions changed this view; on this book he brought notions such as scientific revolution, scientific community and paradigms; from a formalist point of view science started to be seen as a social activity. According to Kuhn cited by Sismondo (2010) science is what scientists do. Problems, theories and methods are defined by the community through a process of indoctrination. The previous accounts looked at the organization of science but not the content. Bloor cited by Sismondo (2010) came with the strong programme approach on which scientific facts are not approached as natural facts. In this approach facts are seen as social constructs and scientific accounts must employ the same resources to explain either the false or the true claims this he called methodological symmetry, which means that facts should not be taken for granted. This leads to think of STS as a social activity something that produces facts that are not natural but result of social processes. In this case social constructivist accounts focus on the institutions, structures that come to existence because of the peoples actions (Sismondo 2010: 58). For example, feminist approaches argue that Gender as a social construct limits the participation of Women in Science and Technology Studies (eg: Harding 1998). So if we do not take into account the situated knowledges or feminist objectivity as Haraway (1988) puts it, we run a risk of being radically relativist or objectivist. This author argues that we have to take into account the subjugated groups without romanticizing them. Some authors see technology as the driver of history or inherently political (e.g. Winner 1980); Winner on his text Do artifacts have politics, argues that technologies can be used in ways that enhance power, authority, and prestige of some over others (Winner 1980: 125). In his approach we can see that technology plays a role in allocating power. According to Winner (1988) technologies shape the history and can require and/or be compatible with certain kind of political arrangements, i.e. democratic (solar power) or authoritarian (nuclear power). Some technologies
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There are two ways of understanding technology in winner. Not really. This is a misunderstanding.

Not the scientific accounts, but the accounts on science.

This section is a bit confusing.

are flexible and others are not and these Winner (1980) calls inherently political technologies. We can identify here a soft determinism (be compatible with) and a hard determinism (require); this view overlooks agency. People are not mere passive consumers of technology; they (can) also influence technology. For example, Trevor Pinch and Wieber Bijker (1987) argue that technology has more than one use; according to these authors, claims of different competing groups shape what an artifact does and how well it performs interpretative flexibility. This is what Winners calls social determinism, according to which technical things do not matter at all (1980: 122). Both technological and social determinism are limited as they tend to be mutually excluding and take extreme stance in a world where hybrids proliferate (Latour1993) Proposal for sustainable sanitation in a local community: evaluating technology An implementation of a clean sanitation system specifically in developing countries presupposes that the current sanitary conditions are not sustainable; so many actions undertaken by scientists, policy-makers and other institutions or agents are meant to change communities, mostly seen as homogeneous, passive groups waiting to be changed.
Good point!
Very good.

Very good!

Technologies in these situations are seen as neutral, objective and as the key to historical and social change; this is technological deterministic perspective. It is important to note that technologies can be used as a political instrument to reproduce existing unequal and power relations and social exclusion (Winner 1980). Haraway (1988), Harding (1998) and Wilk and Jonsson (2012) invite us to take into account communities perspectives. This means an integration of knowledges in the process of sustainable development, in this way people are seen as agents and capable of influencing or shaping how a certain technology performs. This poses epistemological and ontological challenges that we need to critically address.
Very good!

If local knowledges are not taken into account, technologies invented to resolve a problem may lack legitimacy thus fall into meaninglessness or even worsen the situation; lets not forget Trevor Pinch and Wieber Bijkers concept of interpretative flexibility. Taking the example of the use of human excrement as a fertilizer we can see that in most countries this procedure is socially accepted but in other countries, human excrement and food cannot be mixed. In Mozambique for example, some farmers started using human excrement to produce fertilizers,
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but people didnt know this until this was reported on TV, this led people to stop buying produce from the farmers, which in turn led many produce to rot in the barns and farmers saw their profits decrease even more.
Interesting and good example!

The same thing we can say about toilets. According to the World Toilet Organization (2013) 2.6 billion3 people dont have access to proper clean sanitation; globally speaking this is a problem but when we focus on local communities we can realize that lack of access doesnt necessarily mean unavailability. One of the intriguing findings that Wilk and Jonsson (2012) bring on their article is that in Vidisha district there are clean public toilets available but people dont use them due to cultural and religious aspects. So, what can we say about the figures the WTO presents? What can we say about gaining knowledge and technology in contexts like Vidisha? What do communities have to teach scientists and engineers? Is it necessary that communities have a toilet in a western point of view? If no, what options are there? Is PEEPOO4 a way out?
Yup! Good example again.

In both cases we realize that perspectiveness is important when implementing or evaluating a technology; scientists, engineers, policy makers, agents and other institutions have interests and these, most of times, are conflicting, so it is crucial to integrate local knowledge and involve stakeholders; this doesnt mean we have to overlook global aspects; as Meadows et al (1972:18) argue there are many examples of a person striving with all his might to solve some immediate, local problem, only to find his efforts defeated by events occurring in a larger context. What I argue is that global aspects need to be localized and vice-versa.
Good argument.

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Peepoo is a personal, single-use, self-sanitizing, fully biodegradable toilet that prevents feces from contaminating the immediate area as well as the surrounding ecosystem. After use, Peepoo turns into valuable fertilizer that can improve livelihoods and increase food security ("

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Conclusion I discussed the process of clean sanitation implementation and the challenges this process may entail. I argued that technologies must not be seen as neutral or objective or driving forces of change in communities; technologies do not come from and operate in a vacuum, they are made to exist and work by social processes; people may influence or shape how technologies perform either by rejecting or accepting it. But technologies can also shape communities. If communities are not regarded as a tabula rasa then there is a necessity of integrating their worldviews when addressing sustainable development. I also argued that it is necessary to take into account perspectiveness when talking about technology and sustainable development.
Very good essay! God job! Most of it is coherent and well argued. There is a bit in the introduction which is a bit confusing.

References Bloor, David. 1999.

Good job! Your grade is B.








81112. Bourdieu, Pierrre. 1977. Outline of A Theory of Practice. London. Cambridge University Press Latour, Bruno. 1993 [1991]. We have never been Modern. Massachusetts. Harvard University Press Costanza, Robert, Graumlich, Lisa and Steffen, W. L., 2007. Sustainability Or Collapse? : An Integrated History and Future of People on Earth. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press in cooperation with Dahlem University Press. Haraway, Donna. 1988. Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies 14 (3): 575-599. Harding, Sandra. 1998. Women, Science, and Society. Science 281 (5383):1599- 1600. Jonsson, A. C. and J. Wilk. 2013. Opening up the Water Poverty Index - co-exploring capacity for community water management. Society and Natural Resources. Ref: EPC GP 12/287 RP.
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MacKenzie, Donald, and Judy Wajcman. 1999. Introductory Essay. In The Social Shaping of Technology: How the refrigerator got its hum, edited by D. MacKenzie and J. Wajcman. Buckingham: Open UP. Meadows, Donella et al. 1972. The Limits to Growth. New York. Universe Books Rogers, P.P., Jalal, K.F. and Boyd, J.A., 2008. An Introduction to Sustainable Development. London; Sterling, VA: Earthscan. Sismondo, Sergio. 2010. An Introduction to Science and Technology Studies. 2n edition.Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. Smith, Merrit Roe. "Technological Determinism in American Culture." In Does Technology Drive History? The Dilemma of Technological Determinism, edited by Merrit Roe Smith and Leo Marx. Cambrdige, Mass./London: The MIT Press, 1994.

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