First Impressions of STS at the SBS: “Business at the Business School”

By Sara Jensen

I was sitting at “The Winter Doctoral Conference” at Said Business School feeling both impressed and a bit perplexed. It was the first week of Hilary Term and I had just arrived from Denmark from a rather small Institute with not a lot of DPhil Students. Of course I knew that the Business School would have many DPhil students all in all, but I was still impressed with the setting of this Colloquium, which was after all ‘just’ an internal event. I looked at the nice and professional looking brochure to get an impression of the speakers of the day. And I must admit, that an impression was all I got, since I, with my humanistic background, did not understand a lot of the abstracts or topics of the day’s speakers.

One of the other DPhil students kindly introduced herself and asked me who I was, and I told her that I just had arrived and was visiting the Said for this semester. When I started to tell her briefly about my project and the words ‘ethnography’ and ‘STS’ came up, a kind of distant, though still polite, glance showed in her eyes. From the Institute of Information Science in Copenhagen, where I come from, I am used to this distant glance since a majority of the people there do more quantitative or statistically related studies – so her reaction was not unfamiliar to me at all. I think the perplexity that I felt during the conference had more to do with the feeling that the DPhil students here at Said were all very dedicated, busy and knew exactly what they were doing, and while drinking my coffee in the coffee break I was thinking: well yes, this was after all Oxford, so what could you expect…?


Sara Jensen is a visiting PhD Student at the Institute of Information Science at Copenhagen University, Denmark.

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