Science and Technology Studies


STS offers degrees at each university level: undergraduate, masters, and PhD


Political Economy of Science (HPSC0094)

Science is big money. Scientific and technological research lead the development of new processes and products, creating new industries and markets.

Science is integral to the production of value and wealth in contemporary capitalism.

Science’s direction and practice has long been shaped by agendas that go beyond the pursuit of disinterested truth. In this module we will trace out this entanglement of actors and interests. You will examine how transformations in the political economy such as the rise of the corporation, the building up of national government bureaucracies and the expansion of financial markets have transformed how science is administered and commodified. You will examine the origins of the corporate research lab, the science park and the entrepreneurial University. You will interrogate the likely consequences of neoliberal knowledge regimes, the advent of philanthrocapitalism and of open science. The meetings will comprise of a short lecture follow by class discussions on a weekly set of readings.

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By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Use key concepts from political economy;
  • Analyze the intermingling of scientific research, economy and politics;
  • Describe the evolution of the relationship between scientific research and corporate capitalism;
  • Demonstrate effective researching and critical reading skills;
  • Be able to conduct a critical analysis and report such analyses persuasively and coherently;
  • Create relevant and critical bibliographies for research projects on the subject;
  • Present their work effectively in oral and written formats.

Full pdf details:

UCL Module Catalogue: Political Economy of Science (HPSC0094)