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Stephen William Woolgar (born 14 February 1950)[1] is a British sociologist. He has worked closely with Bruno Latour, with whom he wrote Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts (1979).

Stephen Woolgar
Steve Woolgar.jpg
Born (1950-02-14) 14 February 1950 (age 69)
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge (BA/PhD)
InfluencesBruno Latour
Academic work
Main interestsSociologist
Notable worksLaboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts


Stephen Woolgar holds a BA (First Class Honours) in engineering and a PhD in sociology, both at the University of Cambridge.


Woolgar wrote Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts (1979), a social constructionist account of the practice of science, together with Bruno Latour. Woolgar has subsequently adopted an even more relativist stance, for example in his 1988 book Science: The Very Idea.[2] Woolgar can be counted among just a handful of academic thinkers who espouse a radically relativist and constructionist position, along with Jean-François Lyotard and Jean Baudrillard.[3]

He has been Professor of Sociology and Head of the Department of Human Sciences and director of CRICT (Centre for Research into Innovation, Culture and Technology) at Brunel University. He holds the Chair of Sociology and Marketing and is a professor of marketing at the University of Oxford and a fellow at Green Templeton College. He is also director of Science and Technology Studies within Oxford's Institute for Science, Innovation and Society. He is an important contributor in the fields of science studies, sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) and the science and technology studies (STS) (especially on the topic of sociology of machines). Stephen Woolgar is a recipient of the John Desmond Bernal Prize in 2008 awarded annually by the Society for Social Studies of Science to an individual judged to have made a distinguished contribution to the field.

Selected bibliographyEdit


  • Woolgar, Steve; Latour, Bruno (1986) [1979]. Laboratory life: the construction of scientific facts. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691094182. Originally published 1979 in Los Angeles, by Sage Publications
  • Woolgar, Steve (1993) [1988]. Science: the very idea. London New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415084758.
  • Woolgar, Steve (1988). Knowledge and reflexivity: new frontiers in the sociology of knowledge. London: Sage. ISBN 9780803981201.
  • Woolgar, Steve; Fuller, Steve; de Mey, Marc; Shinn, Terry (1989). The cognitive turn: sociological and psychological perspectives on science. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. ISBN 9789401578257.
  • Woolgar, Steve; Lynch, Michael (1990). Representation in scientific practice. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. ISBN 9780262620765.
  • Woolgar, Steve; Grint, Keith (1997). The machine at work: technology, work, and organization. Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press. ISBN 9780745609256.
  • Woolgar, Steve (2002). Virtual society? Technology, cyberbole, reality. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191593963.
  • Woolgar, Steve; Lynch, Michael; Coopmans, Catelijne; Vertesi, Janet (2014). Representation in scientific practice revisited. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. ISBN 9780262525381.

Chapter in booksEdit

  • Woolgar, Steve (1992), "Some remarks about positionism: A reply to Collins and Yearley", in Pickering, Andrew (ed.), Science as practice and culture, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 327–342, ISBN 9780226668017.

Journal articlesEdit


  1. ^ "Woolgar, Steve". Library of Congress. Retrieved 16 February 2015. data sheet (b. 2-14-50)
  2. ^ Raatikainen, Panu (2004). Ihmistieteet ja filosofia (in Finnish). Helsinki: Gaudeamus. pp. 62–63. ISBN 951-662-898-2.
  3. ^ Raatikainen, Panu (2018). "Jordan Peterson: Oikeiston pop-intellektuelli". Niin & näin (in Finnish). No. 99. pp. 97n14. ISSN 1237-1645.

External linksEdit