Mapping Controversies


Prerequisite/Recommended prerequisite for participation in the module

Bachelor's degree.

Content, progress and pedagogy of the module

Contemporary democracy frequently finds itself confronted with highly unstable forms of knowledge around which there exists no clear guide. Controversies rooted in the techno-political entanglements of science and society seem increasingly resilient to conventional political process and cannot simply be settled by 'the facts'.

How do we handle and engage with complex knowledge controversies? And what new forms of 'democratic equipment' might be of use in that enterprise? The course enables students to make practical use of a series of new web-based research tools and map out complex controversial issues in an easily accessible manner.

Students who complete this module can:

Learning objectives


  • explain theories about situations in which uncertainties are rendered more complex by the intervention of social or natural scientific knowledge
  • explain theories about the intermediate stages through which scientific or technical knowledge acquires authority


  • apply a range of digital/qualitative research tools such as web crawls or bibliometric surveys to trace out the way in which issues become controversial
  • use dynamic visualisation tools to map controversies in an accessible manner
  • produce a website that enables the wider public to engage with a controversy and interrogate its makeup
  • work collaboratively with large amounts of heterogeneous data


  • approach the interplay between science and politics from a practical perspective
  • adopt a pragmatist view of claims to expertise
  • provide a democratic instrument to aid the public engagement with science.

Type of instruction

The course involves students in collaborative research projects requiring them to make use of one or more digital methods to map out a controversy of their choosing. The goal is to make it available and explorable by a general public through an online platform like a webpage or a blog. Students can either bring their own case material from another course or choose one when they start (although this will have to be done from day one). The course is structured as a combination of introductory lectures, group work and a series of practicumswhich will introduce the students to new tools and methods while exploring controversies from the hands-on perspective of trying to map them out.



Name of examMapping Controversies
Type of exam
Oral exam
Assessment7-point grading scale
Type of gradingInternal examination
Criteria of assessmentAre described in the Framework Provisions.

Facts about the module

Danish titleKortlægning af kontroverser
Module codeTBITANK12203
Module typeCourse
Duration1 semester
Language of instructionEnglish
Empty-place SchemeYes
Location of the lectureCampus Aalborg, Campus Copenhagen
Responsible for the module


Study BoardStudyboard for Techno-Anthropology and Sustainable Design
DepartmentDepartment of Planning
FacultyTechnical Faculty of IT and Design