The Local Articulation of Contextual Resources: From Metallic Glasses to Nanoscale Research

  • Martina MerzEmail author
  • Peter Biniok
Part of the Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook book series (SOSC, volume 29)


This article addresses the local configuration of new research fields in a novel analytical perspective, inspired by Knorr-Cetina’s (1982) “transepistemic arenas of research.” Based on a qualitative investigation, it analyzes the development of nanoscale research at a select Swiss University through the lens of resource-relationships and the resources involved. The article’s central argument is that resources have to be articulated according to local conditions to become productive. Three temporal phases are differentiated to show how the current state of affairs has come about. Each phase involved specific material and immaterial resources as well as particular ways in which these were locally articulated. A first phase was characterized by the placing of probe microscopy in the local research cultures. In a second phase, nanoscale research became staged as an interdisciplinary project. Finally, a third phase involved resource relationships in the transepistemic arena of academic science and regional politics.


Nanoscience Nanotechnology Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) Science Dynamics Local Configuration Resource-Relationships Contextual Resources Economic Resources Framing Funding 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Science Communication and Higher Education ResearchAlpen-Adria-Universität KlagenfurtViennaAustria
  2. 2.Centre of Excellence in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences (TINT)University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Faculty of Health, Safety, SocietyFurtwangen UniversityFurtwangenGermany

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