Sally Wyatt, Department of Technology and Society Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht Univer; Alexandra Supper, Maastricht University

Sydney 2018: Issues, people and publics

To mark Wiebe Bijker’s retirement, we prepared a description of a board game that presents the features of SCOT (social construction of technology) in a way that is interactive, accessible to young people not familiar with STS, and that performs the core notion ‘that things could be otherwise’.

The objective of the game is for players to work together to construct dams to keep the Netherlands and its inhabitants dry, while other interests and systems are kept in place. Safety from flooding needs to be balanced against respect for the environment, cost-efficiency, and current engineering practices.

For the book, we prepared a written description of the game, including some illustrations of ‘event cards’. These are drawn by players at the beginning of each round, and can affect current water levels, the stability and feasibility of the construction project, as well as the conditions under which relevant social groups are willing to accept a particular dam design (see picture for example).

During the conference, we will display a (not yet playable) prototype of the game. Conference participants will be invited to generate further ideas for characteristics of relevant social groups and event cards. Participants will also be invited to reflect on the medium of a board game for pedagogic purposes.

A Supper and S Wyatt (2017) ‘Dam builders: The game of SCOT’, in H van Lente, T Swierstra, S Wyatt and R Zeiss (eds) Wegwijs in STS. Knowing your way in STS, Maastricht: MUSTS (pp. 81-88).