CPT-21304 Introduction to Technology, Agro-ecology and Development M


Credits 4.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work2
Excursion (one day)6
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. CJM Almekinders
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. CJM Almekinders
Examiner(s)dr. ir. CJM Almekinders

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

BSc degree in technical-natural or social sciences.

Continuation courses:

A variety of MSc-level courses taught by CPT.


Science and technology play fundamental roles in modern society. From hunger to the threat of war, from contaminated food to environmental degradation, every social problem that we face today involves science and technology, either as cause or cure.

This course offers an introduction to theories and methodologies that conceptualize the interaction between science, technology and society. More specific attention is given to science and technology that focus on agricultural development and change processes in general. It combines an anthropological approach with theoretical notions of Science and Technology Studies (Social Construction of Technology, Actor Network Theory, Evolutionary Economics) with Innovation Studies and Political Agronomy. Topics include similarities and differences between agrarian development in the North and the South, the nature of different knowledges, practices of the making, social movements, participatory approaches, and responsible innovation.

The course is designed for students who are keen to advance their understanding of social aspects of technology, and how those can be researched. It seeks to provide scholars from technical-natural sciences with an understanding of the social context in which science operates. It is a compulsory introductory course for the Master program Development and Rural Innovation (MDR).

Learning outcomes:

The overall objective of the course is to make students understand the links between how technological production is socially organized and the material and social outcomes. More specifically, after successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- identify and analyse social dimensions of a technology in a real-life setting;
- summarise and exemplify theories of socio-technical changes and its consequences for development;
apply presented concepts and methods to new cases around particular themes and topics in the area of agro-ecology and development;
- critically analyse academic articles dealing with socio-technical change; i.e. how social factors influence technological change, as well as the ways that technological change in turn influences social processes;
- recognise and appraise the roles of natural and social scientists in relation to society through interventions to support development.


The course consists of lectures, literature study, group presentations and classroom discussions.
There is an excursion on the first Thursday of the course.


The end mark is composed of:
- group project presentations (one of 10% and one of 20%);
- written exam with integrative and synthetic essay questions (70%);
The minimum result for each component in order to pass is 5.5.


More detailed information and selected articles will be electronically available.

Compulsory for: MDRDevelopment and Rural InnovationMSc1MO