Article i 'Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv' no. 3 2007, page 72-87.
What can work life studies learn from science and technology studies?
Work life studies are a research area inspired by many academic disciplines – amongst others technology studies. In the tradition of Science and Technology Studies (STS) the interplay between ‘technology’ and ‘society’ has been discussed thoroughly, and the tradition has given much reflection to theoretical and methodological questions in the social sciences. The article argues that these reflections should be incorporated in order that work life studies can give appropriate attention to the impact of technology. Further the article discusses the influence of Actor Network Theory (ANT) in the social sciences. ANT has become popular in its aspirations to combine ‘societal’ and ‘technological’ factors in a seamless way. But is it possible for ANT to bridge the divide between ‘societal’ and ‘technological’ explanations in the social sciences? The article questions the ANT project and stresses that work life studies should be cautious in adopting ANT approaches without thoroughly scrutinizing the implications. The article concludes that the STS approach can give valuable inspiration for work life studies, but equally warns against embracing the ANT approach uncritically.