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Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society

Handbook / Manual

By: Bruno Latour

274 pages, no illustrations

Harvard University Press

Paperback | Jul 1988 | #65926 | ISBN: 0674792912
Availability: Usually dispatched within 3 days Details
NHBS Price: £24.95 $32/€28 approx

About this book

Provides an analysis of science, demonstrating how social context and technical content are both essential to a proper understanding of scientific activity.

One cannot but be impressed by the scope of Latour's work...This is no mere bricolage, but a coherent and powerful framework for research. I predict that Science in Action will have an impact comparable to Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions both as a provocation to philosophers and as an inspiration to sociologists and historians of science. -- Nicholas Jardine Times Literary Supplement Latour's Science in Action is a "must read" for all sociologists, not just because the sociology of science is a dynamic and growing subdiscipline, but more importantly because Latour's thesis challenges the notions that underlie sociologists' efforts to distinguish our field as a "science"...Latour's thesis is that science, including sociology, is collective action and that facticity is a consequence, not a cause, of collective action...An excellent and enjoyable introduction to the sociology of science. -- Joan H. Fujimura Contemporary Sociology There is a wealth of material and some titillating insight into discoveries beginning with the framed race to find the structure of DNA--the double helix--and in Latour's hands, it becomes a true cliffhanger...This [book] will reward those who want to probe science and the modern world in depth. Kirkus Reviews This account of science as composed of drifting, recombining networks is presented with considerable charm and humour. There are many brief case histories to enliven the text, and the book works very well as a guide through scientific reasoning. -- Steven Yearly Nature


Acknowledgements Introduction Opening Pandora's Black Box PART I FROM WEARER TO STRONGER RHETORIC Chapter I Literature Part A: Controversies Part B: When controversies flare up the literature becomes technical Part C: Writing texts that withstand the assaults of a hostile environment Conclusion: Numbers, more numbers Chapter 2 Laboratories Part A: From texts to things: A showdown Part B: Building up counter-laboratories Part C: Appealing (to) nature PART II FROM WEAR POINTS TO STRONGHOLDS Chapter 3 Machines Introduction: The quandary of the fact-builder Part A: Translating interests Part B: Keeping the interested groups in line Part C: The model of diffusion versus the model of translation Chapter 4 Insiders Out Part A: Interesting others in the laboratories Part B: Counting allies and resources PART III FROM SHORT TO LONGER NETWORKS Chapter 5 Tribunals of Reason Part A: The trials of rationality Part B: Sociologics Part C: Who needs hard facts? Chapter 6 Centres of calculation Prologue: The domestication of the savage mind Part A: Action at a distance Part B: Centres of calculation Part C: Metrologies Appendix 1

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Bruno Latour is Professor at the Center for the Study of Innovation at the School of Mines, Paris.

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