Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Science, Technology and Society

Second Department

Legal Studies

Reader 1

Richard Worthington

Reader 2

Jen Groscup

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© 2017 Caroline Skinner


The following thesis will merge the field of legal studies with the field

of Science, Technology, and Society, and will focus on issues surrounding the

gun control debate. The goal is to ultimately bring new light to this hot-

button legal topic through the use of STS scholarship. STS tools and theories,

which have previously been absent from most gun control discussions, have

much to contribute to the discourse in terms of motivating the need for gun

control, fully understanding the user-gun relationship, breaking down

misconceptions about the technology and its role in society, and further

understanding the complex societal network within which guns exist in

America. This will begin first with a discussion of the legal history and

background of firearms in the United States, and will be followed by an STS

analysis of technological agency and somnambulism as they can be applied to

guns. Following this, the Actor Network in which firearms in America are

imbedded will be explored, in order to better understand why they have

been so difficult to regulate. Although this thesis will be heavily policy and

law-focused, the aim is not to propose any specific new policy, but instead to

use STS to conceptualize gun issues from a new perspective that will allow

misconceptions and blockades to be confronted head-on.