Epistemic Politics at Work: National Policy, an Upstate New York Synchrotron, and the Rise of Protein Crystallography

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


This chapter explores the linkage of local and trans-local forces in the rise of synchrotron x-ray protein crystallography. In considering how a new kind of laboratory organization, whose purpose was to spur the growth of synchrotron x-ray protein crystallography in the U.S., played a crucial role as an incubator and proving ground for experimental techniques and methods that spread throughout the burgeoning field, the chapter describes the national and regional forces involved in the birth and growth of the organization, local actions and conceptions at the laboratory, and the ‘epistemic politics’ that operationalized these factors into successful change. The chapter shows how a renegotiation of the relationship between authority, control, and knowledge production – the epistemic politics – at the lab was the crucial mechanism by which the dialectic of larger forces and local work was engaged as an ‘agent’ of growth for this emerging field.


Laboratory Epistemology Synchrotron Crystallography X-ray Organization Field Emergent Politics Agency 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bovay Program in History and Ethics of EngineeringCornell UniversityBrooktondaleUSA

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