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Co-producing Social Problems and Scientific Knowledge. Chagas Disease and the Dynamics of Research Fields in Latin America

Part of the Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook book series (SOSC, volume 29)

Abstract

I will show in this chapter how the joint constructions of scientific knowledge and social problems operate in a complex and polymorphic way by presenting selected episodes from the history of Chagas disease in Argentina (and to some extent in other Latin American countries). I will trace the process in which Chagas disease was co-produced as a public and a scientific problem in the course of the twentieth century, from its identification as a disease with its pathogenic agent until its most recent reformulation through molecular biology and biotechnology. This case will allow me to analyze the emergence of new local research fields, taking into account the mutual influence of research and politics: While researchers in the concerned fields ‘create’ new (social and biological) entities that influence local public problems, they are themselves affected by the political use of the produced knowledge and, therefore, adapt their discourse and practices to fit in with public S&T policies. At the same time, the scientific elites are engaged in international scientific cooperation and in networks with colleagues from developed countries, who are interested in their knowledge products but not in their local concerns.

Keywords

Scientific Knowledge Social Issues Peripheral Context Globalization Scientific Disciplines Latin America Chagas Disease 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CONICET (National Council for Scientific & Technological Research), Center “Science, Technology & Society”Maimonides UniversityBuenos AiresArgentina

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