, 49:333 | Cite as

Bourdieu and Science Studies: Toward a Reflexive Sociology

  • David J. HessEmail author


Two of Bourdieu’s fundamental contributions to science studies—the reflexive analysis of the social and human sciences and the concept of an intellectual field—are used to frame a reflexive study of the history and social studies of science and technology as an intellectual field in the United States. The universe of large, Ph.D.-granting graduate programs is studied in two parts. In the first analysis, relations between institutional position and disciplinary type are explored by department. A positive correlation exists between historians of science and institutional position (as higher prestige or capital). In the second analysis, attention to intellectual tastes for research topics is explored at an individual level with respect to departmental position and the individual’s discipline and gender. Scholars in nonelite history of science departments have low field interest in democracy, social movements, or public participation; environment or sustainability; and gender, race, or sexuality; whereas those in history of technology programs and nonelite STS programs have a higher field interest in those areas, and historians of technology have a higher interest in class or labor issues. Among social scientists, there is a higher interest among scholars in nonelite programs in environment or sustainability and in democracy, social movements, or public participation.


Bourdieu Inequality Science STS 



I thank Ken Simons for comments the regression table, and the many helpful suggestions from the editors and reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sociology DepartmentVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Science and Technology Studies DepartmentRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA

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