STS research stimulates – or should stimulate – public involvement in decision-making and contributes – or should contribute – to constructing scenarios for alternative futures under incomplete information conditions, to improving our understanding of the social impacts of the exploitation of natural resources and of knowledge in general, to evaluating the effectiveness of cooperation among different interest groups, and to generating and applying various types of knowledge for the benefit of its societies. In this way, researchers in the STS field are in a good position to assist decision-makers and help the public understand the implications of present-day technoscientific change, and to support the development of fairer, more equitable solutions to combat the challenges of today’s changing world. It goes without saying that, far from having reached maturity, this is a space in a permanent state of construction. (33)
In Latin America, interest is centered on the problems of science and social inclusion, knowledge production and use, center-periphery relations, science, technology, and governance policies, and gender. (31)
One of the distinguishing features of Latin American STS studies was the desire to transcend disciplinary boundaries. However, unlike the European or US contexts, where the field advanced primarily in the direction of sensitization to other fields of knowledge and a variety of social actors, interaction with these other spaces in our own region is more intermittent. Three lines of work, nevertheless, stand out, which, even in their early stages, tried to mobilize other actors. (32)
The authors provide a table (27) delineating developments in Latin American STS through four generations.
The field may, then, also be understood as building a bridge for dialog in various senses:
first, between scholars and academics from other fields in the social sciences tackling specific Latin American social questions without paying particular attention to the development of science and technology (S&T), or to its causes and consequences, histories, and future challenges. Second, it also bridges the gaps between other actors, as well as practicing scientists and engineers, who have increasingly been recognizing the value of SSST to help them understand their own practices and think about their consequences. This bridge extends further to the various authorities – “decision-makers” or “policy-makers,” as they are often termed – who have, in recent years, been approaching and interacting with those working on a (typically critical) analytical approach to scientific and technological development. Last, though no less important, there are the reflections on how S&T’s affects our societies and how to actively intervene in decisions that could be taken more collectively and participatively. (19-20)
Kreimer and Vessuri propose to solve the issue of "internal" versus "external" histories of the STS field by repurposing the concept of "reflexivity," familiar to the social sciences, for an analysis of how the field of STS has been shaped (19). This is in contrast to using reflexivity to identify in what contexts knowledge is produced.