arrow grid linear view icon

You are here

Stephen Hilgartner


Stephen Hilgartner

Morrill Hall, Room 323D

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Sociology, Cornell University
  • A.M., Sociology, University of Pennsylvania
  • A.B., Summa Cum Laude, Cornell University


Stephen Hilgartner studies the social dimensions and politics of contemporary and emerging science and technology, especially in the life sciences. His research focuses on situations in which scientific knowledge is implicated in establishing, contesting, and maintaining social order -- a theme he has examined in studies of expertise, property formation, risk disputes, and biotechnology. His most recent book, Reordering Life: Knowledge and Control in the Genomics Revolution (MIT Press, 2017), examines how new knowledge and new regimes of control took shape during the Human Genome Project. Hilgartner’s book on science advice—Science on Stage: Expert Advice as Public Drama—won the Rachel Carson Prize from the Society for Social Studies of Science. He is also a co-editor of two recent books: Science & Democracy: Making Knowledge and Making Power in the Biosciences and Beyond (Routledge, 2015) and Handbook of Genomics, Health and Society (Routledge, 2018). Hilgartner is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Current Research Projects

  • Making Knowledge about Risk
  • Knowledge and Control in Genomics and Postgenomics
  • Social Studies of Emerging Technologies


  • Science and Technology Studies

Graduate Fields

  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Communication
  • Public Affairs





Articles and Chapters

  • "Staging High-Visibility Science: Media Orientation in Genome Research," in The Sciences' Media Connection - Public Communication and Its Repercussions: Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook, (S. Rödder, M. Franzen, P. Weingart, eds.), Springer, 2011, pp. 152-175.

  • "Intellectual Property and the Politics of Emerging Technology: Inventors, Citizens, and Powers to Shape the Future." Chicago-Kent Law Review (2009), Vol. 84, No. 1, pp. 197-224.

  • "Las Dimensiones Sociales del Conocimiento Experto del Riesgo" ("The Social Dimensions of Expert Knowledge about Risk"). In Moreno Castro, Carolina, ed., Comunicar Los Riesgos (Spain: Biblioteca Nueva, 2009).

  • "The Anticipatory State: Making Policy-Relevant Knowledge about the Future," a special issue, N. Nelson, A. Geltzer, and S. Hilgartner, eds., Science & Public Policy, volume 8, no. 8, October 2008, pp. 546-606.

  • "Making the Bioeconomy Measurable: Politics of an Emerging Anticipatory Machinery" (Comment). BioSocieties 2(3): 382-6, 2007.

  • "Overflow and Containment in the Aftermath of Disaster" (Comment). Social Studies of Science, 37(1):153-58, 2007.

  • "Voting Machinery, Counting, and Public Proofs in the 2000 US Presidential Election." Michael Lynch, Stephen Hilgartner, and Carin Berkowitz, in Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, edited by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel. MIT Press, 2005.

  • "The Social Construction of Risk Objects: Or How to Pry Open Networks of Risk." In Short James F. and Lee Clarke, eds., Organizations, Uncertainties, and Risk, Westview Press, 1992.  Reprinted in Burgess, Adam, ed., Risk, Sage Publications, 2017.

  • "The Rise and Fall of Social Problems: A Public Arenas Model," Stephen Hilgartner and Charles L. Bosk, American Journal of Sociology, 1988.