In the space of a few short years the centre of interest in the sociology of sciences has radically shifted. At first timidly, later with increasing boldness, sociologists have penetrated the sanctuary. They no longer confine their interest to a study of how institutions work, or the rules governing competition, or network or community organisation. Increasingly, they are investigating the content of science itself.
- Fuel Cell
- Energy Conversion
- Heat Pump
- Problematic Situation
- Concerted Action
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D. O. Edge, and M. J. Mulkay, ‘Cognitive, technical and social factors in the growth of Radio Astronomy’, Social Science Information XI1, 25–60 (1973).
The classic distinction between scientific research and scientific knowledge as admitted by authors as different as K. R. Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Hutchinson, London, 1959; and G. Holton, Thematic Origins of Scientific Thought, Kepler to Einstein, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1973, is the vitable result of atheoretical choice of this type.
R. D. Whitley, ‘Black-boxism and the sociology of science: a discussion of the major developments in the field’, The Sociological Review Monograph 18 61–92 (1972).
B. Latour, ‘Who is agnostic; what could it mean to study science?’, Sociology of Knowledge, Science and Art, Vol. 3, Kuclick, H. (ed.) (forthcoming)
H. M., Collins, ‘The Seven Sexes: A Study of the Sociology of a Phenomenon, or Replication of Experiments in Physics’, Sociology 9, 205–224 (1975).
B. Latour, ‘Is it possible to (re) construct the research process? Sociology of a brain peptide’ (this volume).
T. S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 111., (1970); K. R. Popper, Objective Knowledge, Oxford University Press, 1973.
M. J. Mulkay, The Social Process of Innovation: A Study in the Sociology of Science, The Macmillan Press, London, 1972; D. Chubin, and K. Studer, ‘The Place of Knowledge in Scientific Growth’, Paper given at the American Sociological Association meetings, September, 1977. The archetypal opposition is that of K. R. Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Hutchinson, London, 1959; and 1973, op. cit. and J. Dewey, The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action, Minton, Balch and Co., New York, 1929. The former makes problematisation into a categorical imperative. The latter sees in de-problematisation the expression of an existential requirement (man abhors disorder and attempts to produce stability).
CNRS: National Centre for Scientific Research, the largest public research body in France with more than 7,000 researchers with special status, working in laboratories. The CNRS covers all scientific disciplines, being particularly orientated towards fundamental research.
DGRST: General Delegation to Scientific and Technical Research, formed in 1958, whose mission is to coordinate research carried out by the different public bodies and to support lines given priority. At the time we are investigating the DGRST wielded great influence within the administration.
DRME: Direction of Research and Testing Resources, charged with coordination of Research financed by the Army Ministry.
R. Gilpin, France in the Age of the Scientific State, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1968; P. Papon, La Science et le Pouvoir en France, Editions du Centurion, Paris 1979; K. Pavitt, ‘Governmental support for industrial research and development in France: theory and practice,’ Minerva XIV, (3) Autumn, 330–354 (1976).
M. Callon, ‘De problème en problème: itinéraire d’un laboratoire universitaire saisi par l’aventure technologique’, CSI-Cordes, 1978.
We need only note here that established facts of quantum mechanics are ignored. The knowledge and facts used are those dating from the beginning of the century. The most striking feature is their wide diversity. They belong to the realms of physics, chemistry and thermodynamics.
From this point of view Mulkay’s criticism of Kuhn is decisive. See in particular Mulkay, 1972, op. cit., Note 8. See also G. Lemaine, ‘Science normale et science hypernormale’, mimeo, 1979.
This singularity, well brought-out by K. Knorr, ‘Producing and reproducing knowledge: descriptive or constructive ? Toward a model of research production’, Social Science Information 16, 669–696 (1977) is also valid for new knowledge seeking recognition, G. N. Gilbert, ‘The transformation of research findings into scientific knowledge’, Social Studies of Science VI, 281–306 (1976).
I owe the concept of translation to M. Serres, Hermes 111, La traduction, Paris, Editions de Minuit, 1974.
An analysis of translation mechanisms needs to be developed. We simply state that it is linked to the construction of problematic situations themselves. A problematic situation de-contextualises concepts, proposals and categories, and then re-con-textualises them using its own logic. Thus problematic situations permanently create metaphors. The latter’s existence make translation possible (for ‘metaphorisation’ see R. Krohn, ‘The Social Process of Scientific Investigation’, unpublished paper, McGill University, 1978 ).
K. Knorr, op. cit., 1977, Note 15.
M. Callón, ‘L’Etat face à l’innovation technique; le cas du véhiculé electrice’, Revue Française de Science Politique, 426–447 (Juin 1979 ).
R. E. Dewey, The Philosophy of John Dewey, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1977.
See the very fine analysis of a novel by M. Tournier put forward by G. Deleuze, La logique du sens, Editions de Minuit, Paris, 1969.
P. Bourdieu, La distinction, Editions de Minuit, Paris, 1979.
M. Callón, and B. Latour, ‘Unscrewing Leviathan: How do actors macro structure reality?’, Forthcoming 1980.
M. Serres, Le parasite, Grasset, Paris, 1980.
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Callon, M. (1980). Struggles and Negotiations to Define What is Problematic and What is Not. In: Knorr, K.D., Krohn, R., Whitley, R. (eds) The Social Process of Scientific Investigation. Sociology of the Sciences A Yearbook, vol 4. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-9109-5_8
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