Science in Society (3 ECTS)

Science is traditionally regarded as a central knowledge-producing institution contributing to economic and societal development in many ways. Earlier, in the age of the so-called traditional social contract of science, this was seen as materializing automatically without any deliberate attempts on behalf of researchers to achieve societal impact for their research. With the recent advent of a broad structural movement towards intermingling the institutional spheres of science, government, industry, and civil society, the traditional social contract of science is giving way to an alternative conceptions and social practices according to which science and the society invade each other’s domains.

The fact that science is becoming “contextualized” and knowledge “socially robust” has implications for researchers working in universities. Increasingly, in the contexts research funding as well as research reporting and evaluation, academic scientists are expected to give accounts of how they are engaged in activities external to science. In this course, we summarize the current research on the broad area of science-society interaction so as to develop capabilities of doctoral students to understand their possible modes of engagement in practices external to science and the university.

Basic Information
- Responsible teacher: Associate Professor Juha Tuunainen, Oulu Business School (
- Intended audience: University of Oulu’s doctoral students in humanities and social sciences
- Timing: 2nd period, 2018
- Credits: 3 ECTS
- Mode of teaching: lectures and/or interactive teaching session with additional readings (one article per lecture)
- Course assignment: reflective two-page blog entry about the student’s own research topic and its relationship to a certain domain of societal practice to be published (if approved by a student) in Oulu Think Tank of Science and Society’s website

Course Contents


Juha Tuunainen: Course introduction and overview

  • ma 5.11. 14-16 SÄ124

Juha Tuunainen: Norms and cultures of academic science

  • pe 9.11. 10-12 TA101

Heini Hakosalo: Discoveries in social sciences and humanities

  • ma 12.11. 14-16 PR102

Anniina Rantakari: Science as discourse

  • ti 13.11. 14-16 SÄ102

Anniina Rantakari & Heini Hakosalo: Power structures in science

  • ma 19.11. 14-16 SÄ124

Kari Kantasalmi: University as organization (guest lecturer)

  • pe 23.11. 10-12 TA101

Toni Ahlqvist: Innovation policy and local innovation systems (guest lecturer)

  • to 29.11. klo 8-10 SÄ112

Petteri Pietikäinen: Science and politics

  • pe 30.11. 10-12 SÄ112

Satu Räsänen: Why to talk, tweet and blog, scientist? Basics in science communication (guest lecturer)

  • ma 3.12. 14-16 SÄ118

Juha Tuunainen: Concluding discussion

  • to 13.12. 12-14 SÄ105


Last updated: 27.9.2018