Why are we engineers? 

For whose benefit do we work? 

What is the full measure of our moral and social responsibility?

BUILDING ACTIVIST ENGINEERING

These questions are inspired by Science for the People, the activist group led by scientists, engineers, and other technical workers that enjoyed its greatest popularity in the anti-Vietnam years, and one that is now being revitalized. 

 

In response to the contemporary engineering practice, we define an activist engineer as someone who not only can provide specific engineered solutions, but who also steps back from their work and tackles the question, What is the real problem and does this problem “require” an engineering intervention? 

Below are two papers that build the idea of activist engineering and suggest practical steps engineers can take to be able to answer important questions about engineering practice.

Self-reflection for activist engineering

By Darshan M.A. Karwat

In Science and Engineering Ethics (2019)

Link to journal version here

For downloadable pre-print, click on the little icon to the right

Activist Engineering: Changing Engineering Practice by Deploying Praxis

By Darshan M.A. Karwat, Walter E. Eagle, Margaret S. Wooldridge, and Thomas E. Princen

In Science and Engineering Ethics (2014)

Link to journal version here

For downloadable pre-print, click on the little icon to the right

SELF-REFLECTION FOR ACTIVIST ENGINEERING: A LIST OF QUESTIONS

The table below you can find in the 2019 paper above.  It provides a list of questions engineers of all kinds--those practicing, those still in school, or those close to retirement and beyond--can ask themselves and have conversations with other engineers about to understand the assumptions they are making in their work, and to understand the broad impacts of their work.

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