The Social Studies of Science
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The Social Studies of Science Merton | Kuhn | SSK | SSP. Robert Merton | Kuhn | SSK | SSP. Science as a social institution. how science is organized and regulates itself emphasis on nature of relationships social aspects of production of knowledge

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The Social Studies of Science Merton | Kuhn | SSK | SSP

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The social studies of science merton kuhn ssk ssp

The Social Studies of Science

Merton | Kuhn | SSK | SSP


Robert merton kuhn ssk ssp

Robert Merton | Kuhn | SSK | SSP

Science as a social institution

  • how science is organized and regulates itself

  • emphasis on nature of relationships

  • social aspects of production of knowledge

  • no discussion about content or nature of knowledge

  • knowledge blackboxed due to empirism & economical metaphor

  • scientific knowledge independent of scientific activity


Merton thomas kuhn ssk ssp

Merton | Thomas Kuhn | SSK | SSP

science as a social community

  • The Structure of Scientific Revolution (1962)

  • scientific criteria not universal

  • development of scientific knowledge as object of sociological research

  • external factors play a role in scientific choices


Merton kuhn ssk ssp

Merton | Kuhn | SSK | SSP

How are cognitive and social aspects of science related?

  • obduracy of classification due to:

    • normative value

    • economic metaphor

  • philosophy =/= sociology of science

    • science is social

    • empirical & naturalistic


Merton kuhn ssk ssp1

Merton | Kuhn | SSK | SSP

Macro and Micro Sociological Analysis

  • Macro: Edinburgh School

    • Barnes, Bloor, Shapin

    • ‘interest’ of relevant groups

  • Micro: Bath School

    • Collins

    • Empirical Program of Relativism (EPOR)

      • interpretative flexibility

      • closure

      • wider context


Classification of social and cognitive aspects

Classification of social and cognitive aspects


Merton kuhn ssk ssp2

Merton | Kuhn | SSK | SSP

Sociology of Scientific Practice

  • investigation of activities, judgements and interpretations

  • form of methodological internalism

    • microscopic study

    • ‘how’ over ‘why’ questions

    • constructivist approach


Merton kuhn ssk ssp3

Merton | Kuhn | SSK | SSP

Sociology of Scientific Practice

  • linguistic turn

    • Latour & Woolgar

    • process of persuasion

  • Analysis of practical reasoning

    • -Knorr-Cetina, Lynch

    • analysis of scientific writing

  • Discourse analysis

    • Gilbert & Mulkay

    • study of the organization of meaning


Merton kuhn ssk ssp4

Merton | Kuhn | SSK | SSP

Sociology of Scientific Practice

  • Breakdown of classification scheme

  • process of negotiation

  • meaning of scientific observations and interpretations are socially constructed through contesting and modification

  • scientific outcomes may depend on

    • argumentative skills

    • prestige

    • material resources


Merton kuhn ssk ssp5

Merton | Kuhn | SSK | SSP

Sociology of Scientific Practice

  • Core of science is social because

    • Process of persuasion

    • contextual contingenties

  • Breakdown of classification scheme

  • But in transition from ‘scientists knowledge claim’ to ‘taken-for-granted fact’ we see construction of classification scheme

  • distinction between cognitive - social is result instead of building blocks of the process of scientific inquiry


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