Science and Technology Studies and Role-Playing Games
This chapter introduces the field of science, technology, and society studies (STS) as a source of proven approaches to study how materials and technologies work within our lifeworld. It offers a materialist perspective on role-playing games (RPGs), which views games as materials or technologies – the collection of processes that produce a product or service. There are three prominent approaches within STS: large technological systems, social construction of technology, and actor-network theory. Large technological systems (LTS) originated in the history of technology and studies the development of complex technical infrastructures, like the Internet or electricity supply system. In so doing, it aims to understand how technologies become integrated with society, how they are 'both socially constructed and society shaping'. All three STS approaches share a focus on heterogeneous elements – human and nonhuman, social and technical – and the processes in which these elements shape technology and scientific knowledge. They also share a rejection of technological determinism.