NKUA/NTUA, Athens – specialization (3)

Specialisation 1 Specialisation 2 Specialisation 3 Specialisation 4

Enabling and Disabling Dimensions of Technological Change

This specialization is designed for students interested in the study of recent and emerging technologies from a perspective that places the emphasis on retrieving and interpreting both its enabling and disabling dimensions. It starts with a historical introduction to computing, automation, communication and related technologies, which is focused on the integration of these technologies into the whole range of recent and emerging technologies (biotechnology, nanotechnology, biomedical and medical technology, energy and other technologies developed to address the environmental crisis). This is followed by an introduction to Science, Technology, Society (STS) approaches that are relevant to the study of ability and disability — developed in the context of bringing together STS and interdisciplinary fields like Disability Research, Disability Studies, Critical Disability Studies and Aging and Elderly Studies. Special attention is paid to the study of competing socio-technical orientations and socio-technical tradeoffs, as they interact with the transformation of existing disabilities and abilities or the emergence of new ones.

Core Literature

Blume Stuart S. (2012). «What can the study of science and technology tell us about disability?». In Routledge Handbook of Disability Studies, Watson Nick et al. (eds). London, New York Routledge.

Danermark, B. (2002). Interdisciplinary Research and Critical Realism: the Example of Disability Research. International Journal of Critical Realism. No.1:56-64.

Vasilis Galis. (2011). “Enacting disability: how can science and technology studies inform disability studies?”, Disability and Society, 26:7, 825-838.

Mauldin Laura (2014). «Precarious Plasticity: Neuropolitics, Cochlear Implants, and the Redefinition of Deafness». Science, Technology & Human Values, Vol.39. No.1, pp. 130-153.

Mills Mara (2011). «Hearing Aids and the History of Electronics Miniaturization». IEEE Annals of the History of Computing.

Moser Ingunn (2006). «Disability and promises of technology: Technology, subjectivity and embodiment within an order of the normal». Information, Communication & Society, Vol.9, No.3, pp. 373-395.

Tympas, Aristotle. 2004. Calculation and Computation. In New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, Volume I. Maryanne Cline Horowitz. ed. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 255-259.

Tympas, Aristotle. 2005. Computers: Analog, and, Computers Hybrid. In Encyclopedia of 20th-Century Technology. Colin Hempstead. ed. London: Routledge. 195-199, and, 202-204.

Wolbring Gregor (2005). The Triangle of Enhancement Medicine, Disabled People, and the Concept of Health: A New Challenge for HTA, Health Research, and Health Policy. HTA Initiative #23. Alberta: AHFMR.’§x

Winance Myriam (2006). «Trying Out the Wheelchair: The Mutual Shaping of People and Devices through Adjustment». Science, Technology, & Human Values, Vol.31, No.1, pp. 52-72.

Sample of topics for theses

  • Theories about the technology-ability-disability relationship
  • Theories and case studies on the relationship between technology, disability and gender, race and/or class
  • Study of the public rhetoric and image of the technology-disability relationship
  • Case study on a specific disability and the technologies developed in connection to it
  • Study of enabling and disabling technological features of a certain technology
  • Theoretical and case studies on the elderly-disability-technology relationship
  • Study of the risk/vulnerability/resilience of technical infrastructures from perspectives that take into account disability,
  • Study of the borders-migration-disability-technology relationship.


Language of Instruction: English

Minimum and Maximum Number of Students: 1-5

Schedule of Introductory Course
6 three-hour meetings at the beginning of ESST’s second semester

Specialization Coordinator
Aristotle Tympas, Associate Professor, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (tympas@phs.uoa.gr)

International collaborating faculty

  • Berth Danermark, Professor, Swedish Institute for Disability Research, Örebro University, Sweden
  • Vasilis Galis, Associate Professor, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Vinaya Manchaiah, Jo Mayo Endowed Professor, Lamar University, USA