RSO-12306 Biosystems Engineering and Society


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work4
Excursion (one day)24
Course coordinator(s)dr. HA Oostindie
Lecturer(s)dr. HA Oostindie
dr. mr. PJ van Cruyningen
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. JSC Wiskerke

Language of instruction:

NL and/or EN


The course focuses on the (historical) interactions of biosystems engineering and society. A historical and sociological approach of the (mutual) impact of agricultural science and technology on agrarian development will be the main focus of this course. Emphasis is put on the historical dimensions: how agriculture and technology have interacted in different epochs and different socio-economic contexts. Both analytical and theoretical concepts (and tools) will be offered to analyse agrarian change in the different eras and areas. The current debates on agricultural and rural transitions will be studied and analysed for its implications on bio system engineering. The socio-economic and cultural environment will be articulated as a 'horizon of relevance' for technological design in agricultural practices. The interactions between science, technology and society will be analysed through different case-studies. Both form an sociological and a historical point of view. The course also addresses phenomena such as technique, technology, science, ethics and society.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand the relation and interaction between developments in biosystems engineering and society in the course of history;
- understand the processes of change of agricultural production systems in the Netherlands;
- understand the role of technological change in the agrarian development in the Netherlands;
- understand the position and the interactions with stakeholders;
- understand different discourses and frames on the future of farming and food systems;
- position oneself vis-á-vis these different discourses and frames;


- lectures;
- working sessions;
- case study, excursions;
- self-study;
- writing and presenting group papers.


- individual assignments (10%);
- group assignment (30%);
- written exam (50%);
- reflection report (10%).
A minimum mark of 5.5 is required for the assignments, reflection report and written exam.


Reader, book and course outline.

Compulsory for: BATBiosystems EngineeringBSc1MO