Integrating Social Justice and Political Engagement into Engineering Journal Article uri icon



  • Many engineering activists have emphasized the need to reframe engineering as a sociotechnical field in order to expand engineers' contributions to social justice and peace. Yet, reframing engineering as sociotechnical does not always lead to critical engagement with social justice. We provide several examples of how “social” aspects have been brought into engineering in a depoliticized manner that limits engagement with political and social justice goals. We link these examples to Cech’s three pillars of the “culture of disengagement” in engineering: social/technical dualisms, meritocracy, and depoliticization. We argue that reframing engineering as sociotechnical addresses the first pillar, the social/technical dualism, but does not necessarily include the second and third pillars. We propose that all three pillars can be addressed through integrating explicit attention to political engagement and social justice in efforts to reframe engineering as a sociotechnical field. Doing so can increase engineers’ capacity to contribute to social justice and peace.

publication date

  • August 26, 2020

has restriction

  • gold

Date in CU Experts

  • November 5, 2020 2:08 AM

Full Author List

  • Niles S; Roudbari S; Contreras S

author count

  • 3

Other Profiles

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1927-9434

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 57

end page

  • 69


  • 7


  • 1