Prof. Dr. Sabine Maasen, Munich

Prof. Dr. Sabine Maasen (Bild: Astrid Eckert/TU München)
Prof. Dr. Sabine Maasen


January 18, 13.30: Science, Society and Risk Management


Science of the future: research and innovation with and for society

For a long time now, science has shaped and changed society. But conversely, it also became apparent that society also shapes and changes science. If it were otherwise, the scientific system as an important driver of social, cultural, political and economic development would have lost its potency and acceptance long ago. Nevertheless, especially since the 1960s, the so-called “contract” between science and society is constantly being renegotiated. The term contract is to be understood as a metaphor: it refers to a whole series of arrangements of trust and control that have been made in different countries and at different times, and under which science is practiced (Weingart). Currently, the pendulum bills at the expense of confidence in science and in favor of science control. This can be seen, for example, in the increasing importance of evaluations, in the thematic control of research by the funding agencies, but also in the increased need for the usefulness of science. More recently, there has been a particular desire for more science responsiveness to societal expectations and stakeholder engagement. This will revive “contract negotiations” between science and society anew. The EU program “Responsible Research in Science and Innovation” is a current example of this. Can this bring confidence in science and science control, innovation through and legitimacy of science to a new balance – and how?

About Prof. Dr. Sabine Maasen

Friedrich Schiedel Endowed Chair of Sociology of Science (Liesel Beckmann professorship), Director of Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS)

Studied sociology, linguistics and psychology at the University of Bielefeld. Graduated in sociology in 1996, habilitation 2001. 1988–1994 research assistant at the ‘Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Forschung’ (Center for Interdisciplinary Research). 1994-2001 research coordinator at the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research. 2001 to 2013 professorship in Science Studies/Sociology of Science at the University of Basel. Since December 2013 professorship in Sociology of Science (Friedrich Schiedel Endowed Chair of Sociology of Science) at Technical University of Munich. Since April 2014 director of Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS).

Main Research

  • Interdisciplinary and transversal TechnoSciences
  • Sociotechnical arrangements of self and society
  • Discourse Analysis (of images)
  • Metaphor Analysis
  • Sociology of Science and Knowledge Science Management