Insects, Experts, and the Insecticide Crisis

The Quest for New Pest Management Strategies

  • John H. Perkins

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. The Insecticide Crisis

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. John H. Perkins
      Pages 3-28
    3. John H. Perkins
      Pages 29-55
  3. A Search for Alternatives

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 57-59
    2. John H. Perkins
      Pages 61-95
    3. John H. Perkins
      Pages 97-126
    4. John H. Perkins
      Pages 127-160
  4. Entomology in its Cultural Context

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 161-161
    2. John H. Perkins
      Pages 163-182
    3. John H. Perkins
      Pages 183-208
    4. John H. Perkins
      Pages 209-239
    5. John H. Perkins
      Pages 241-264
    6. John H. Perkins
      Pages 265-287
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 289-304

About this book


Science and technology are cultural phenomena. Expert knowledge is generated amid the conflicts of a society and in turn supplies fuel to fire yet further change and new clashes. This essay on economic entomology is a case study on how cultural events and forces affected the creation of scientific and technical knowledge. The time period emphasized is 1945 to 1980. My initial premises for selecting relevant data for the story were ultimately not of much use. Virtually all debates about insect control since 1945 have been centered around the environmental and health hazards associated with insecticides. My first but inadequate conclusion was that the center of interest lay between those who defended the chemicals and those who advocated the use of nonchemical control methods. With this formulation of the problem, I was drawn to an analysis of how the chemical manufacturers had managed to dominate and even corrupt the work of entomological scientists, farmers, members of Congress, and regulators in the USDA and EPA. My own contribu­ tions to a policy study at the National Academy of Sciences were based 1 on this premise. More recently, Robert van den Bosch developed the 2 "corruption theme" in considerable detail.


Affect Design ETA Innovation Nation National Academy of Sciences conflict conflicts environment health knowledge technology

Authors and affiliations

  • John H. Perkins
    • 1
  1. 1.The Evergreen State CollegeOlympiaUSA

Bibliographic information