"The exploration of the social conditions that facilitate or retard the search for scientific knowledge has been the major theme of Robert K. Merton's work for forty years. This collection of papers [is] a fascinating overview of this sustained inquiry. . . . There are very few other books in sociology . . . with such meticulous scholarship, or so elegant a style. This collection of papers is, and is likely to remain for a long time, one of the most important books in sociology."—Joseph Ben-David, New York Times Book Review "The novelty of the approach, the erudition and elegance, and the unusual breadth of vision make this volume one of the most important contributions to sociology in general and to the sociology of science in particular. . . . Merton's Sociology of Science is a magisterial summary of the field."—Yehuda Elkana, American Journal of Sociology "Merton's work provides a rich feast for any scientist concerned for a genuine understanding of his own professional self. And Merton's industry, integrity, and humility are permanent witnesses to that ethos which he has done so much to define and support."—J. R. Ravetz, American Scientist "The essays not only exhibit a diverse and penetrating analysis and a deal of historical and contemporary examples, with concrete numerical data, but also make genuinely good reading because of the wit, the liveliness and the rich learning with which Merton writes."—Philip Morrison, Scientific American "Merton's impact on sociology as a whole has been large, and his impact on the sociology of science has been so momentous that the title of the book is apt, because Merton's writings represent modern sociology of science more than any other single writer."—Richard McClintock, Contemporary Sociology
Robert K. Merton (1910-2003) was one of the most influential sociologists of the twentieth century, producing clear theories and innovative research that continue to shape multiple disciplines. Merton's reach can be felt in the study of social structure, social psychology, deviance, professions, organizations, culture, and science. Yet for all his fame, Merton is only partially understood. He is treated by scholars as a functional analyst, when in truth his contributions transcend paradigm. Gathering together twelve major sociologists, Craig Calhoun launches a thorough reconsideration of Merton's achievements and inspires a renewed engagement with sociological theory. Merton's work addressed the challenges of integrating research and theory. It connected different fields of empirical research and spoke to the importance of overcoming divisions between allegedly pure and applied sociology. Merton also sought to integrate sociology with the institutional analysis of science, each informing the other. By bringing together different aspects of his work in one volume, Calhoun illuminates the interdisciplinary and unifying dimensions of Merton's approach, while also advancing the intellectual agenda of an increasingly vital area of study. Contributors: Aaron L. Panofsky, University of California; Alan Sica, Pennsylvania State University; Alejandro Portes, Princeton University; Charles Camic, Northwestern University; Charles Tilly, Columbia University; Craig Calhoun, Social Science Research Council and New York University; Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, City University of New York; Harriet Zuckerman, Mellon Foundation; Peter Simonson, University of Colorado; Ragnvald Kalleberg, University of Oslo; Robert J. Sampson, Harvard University; Thomas F. Gieryn, Indiana University; Viviana A. Zelizer, Princeton University
This book covers some of the major contributions Sal Restivo has made to the sociology of science over the past twenty years. His work has been guided by three agendas: to develop a sociological theory of science and scientific knowledge; to use the sociology of science as a vehicle for developing a sociology of objectivity; and to explore the relationships between science, objectivity, and human values. He has tried - in his career and, specifically, in this volume - to understand science without accepting the culture of science uncritically. In his introduction, Restivo provides a view of the sociology of science from his perspective as a working sociologist of science. He sketches the sociology of science landscape and provides some preliminary indications of why a critical sociology of science is needed. Then, showing the influence of classical social theorists such as Marx, Durkheim, and Nietzsche, and later theorists such as G. H. Mead and C. W. Mills, he writes on the scientific revolution (using a human ecology approach), science and progress, the science machine (i.e., industrialized science), the anthropology of science, science policy, and epistemology. His substantive concerns lead directly to his proposal in the concluding chapter for a sociology of objectivity. In chapter 2, Restivo argues for a conception of the scientific revolution as an organizational and institutional revolution. This is crucial for understanding the author's claim in chapters 3 and 4 that modern science is a social problem, and his later claims about scientific knowledge as a social construction. There, the author begins to unfold a defense of anarchy in society and inquiry. In chapter 5, Restivo shows how his early study of visiting foreign scientists in America raised the question of ideology in science for him. He concludes the chapter by underscoring the results of the so-called "laboratory studies," in particular the suspension of a host of conventional dichotomies such as social/technical, fact/ artifact, and internal/external. Chapter 6 then examines issues of science policy and scientific validity from a sociology and anthropology of science perspective. The concept of a critical sociology of science is linked to the program for developing what Marx called a "human science." The final chapter includes a section on the sociology of mathematics, an area Restivo has pioneered in.
"If a science has to be supported by fraudulent means, let it perish. " With these words of Kepler, Agassi plunges into the actual troubles and glories of science (321). The SOciology of science is no foreign intruder upon scientific knowledge in these essays, for we see clearly how Agassi transforms the tired internalistJexternalist debate about the causal influences in the history of science. The social character of the entire intertwined epistemological and practical natures of the sciences is intrinsic to science and itself split: the internal sociology within science, the external sociology of the social setting without. Agassi sees these social matters in the small as well as the large: from the details of scientific communication, changing publishing as he thinks to 'on-demand' centralism with less waste (Ch. 12), to the colossal tension of romanticism and rationality in the sweep of historical cultures. Agassi is a moral and political philosopher of science, defending, dis turbing, comprehending, criticizing. For him, science in a society requires confrontation, again and again, with issues of autonomy vs. legitimation as the central problem of democracy. And furthermore, devotion to science, pace Popper, Polanyi, and Weber, carries preoccupational dangers: Popper's elitist rooting out of 'pseudo-science', Weber's hard-working obsessive . com mitment to science. See Agassi's Weberian gloss on the social psychology of science in his provocative 'picture of the scientist as maniac' (437).
In this bold and original study, Jeff Kochan constructively combines the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) with Martin Heidegger’s early existential conception of science. Kochan shows convincingly that these apparently quite different approaches to science are, in fact, largely compatible, even mutually reinforcing. By combining Heidegger with SSK, Kochan argues, we can explicate, elaborate, and empirically ground Heidegger’s philosophy of science in a way that makes it more accessible and useful for social scientists and historians of science. Likewise, incorporating Heideggerian phenomenology into SSK renders SKK a more robust and attractive methodology for use by scholars in the interdisciplinary field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). Kochan’s ground-breaking reinterpretation of Heidegger also enables STS scholars to sustain a principled analytical focus on scientific subjectivity, without running afoul of the orthodox subject-object distinction they often reject. Science as Social Existence is the first book of its kind, unfurling its argument through a range of topics relevant to contemporary STS research. These include the epistemology and metaphysics of scientific practice, as well as the methods of explanation appropriate to social scientific and historical studies of science. Science as Social Existence puts concentrated emphasis on the compatibility of Heidegger’s existential conception of science with the historical sociology of scientific knowledge, pursuing this combination at both macro- and micro-historical levels. Beautifully written and accessible, Science as Social Existence puts new and powerful tools into the hands of sociologists and historians of science, cultural theorists of science, Heidegger scholars, and pluralist philosophers of science.
How far is scientific knowledge a product of social life? In addressing this question, the major contributors to the sociology of knowledge have agreed that the conclusions of science are dependent on social action only in a very special and limited sense. In Science and the Sociology of Knowledge Michael Mulkay's first aim is to identify the philosophical assumptions which have led to this view of science as special; and to present a systematic critique of the standard philosophical account of science, showing that there are no valid epistemological grounds for excluding scientific knowledge from the scope of sociological analysis. The rest of the book is devoted to developing a preliminary interpretation of the social creation of scientific knowledge. The processes of knowledge-creation are delineated through a close examination of recent case studies of scientific developments. Dr Mulkay argues that knowledge is produced by means of negotiation, the outcome of which depends on the participants' use of social as well as technical resources. The analysis also shows how cultural resources are taken over from the broader social milieu and incorporated into the body of certified knowledge; and how, in the political context of society at large, scientists' technical as well as social claims are conditioned and affected by their social position.
In this demonstration of the link between philosophy of science and scientific practice, Warren Schmaus argues that Durkheim's philosophy is crucial to his sociology. Through a reinterpretation of the relation between Durkheim's major philosophical and sociological works, Schmaus argues that Durkheim's sociology is more than a collection of general observations about society—it reflects a richly constructed theory of the meanings and causes of social life. Schmaus shows how Durkheim sought to make sociology more rigorous by introducing scientific methods of analysis and explanation into the study of society. Durkheim tried to reveal how implicit, commonly held beliefs actually govern people's lives. Through an original interpretation of Durkheim's landmark writings, Schmaus argues that Durkheim, in his empirical studies, refined both the methods of sociology and a theory about society's shared knowledge and practices. This book opens a new window on the development of Durkheim's thought and demonstrates how a philosophy of science can inspire the rise of a new science.