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Science in Action

Science in Action

How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society

Bruno Latour

ISBN 9780674792913

Publication date: 10/15/1988

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Science and technology have immense authority and influence in our society, yet their working remains little understood. The conventional perception of science in Western societies has been modified in recent years by the work of philosophers, sociologists and historians of science. In this book Bruno Latour brings together these different approaches to provide a lively and challenging analysis of science, demonstrating how social context and technical content are both essential to a proper understanding of scientific activity. Emphasizing that science can only be understood through its practice, the author examines science and technology in action: the role of scientific literature, the activities of laboratories, the institutional context of science in the modern world, and the means by which inventions and discoveries become accepted. From the study of scientific practice he develops an analysis of science as the building of networks. Throughout, Bruno Latour shows how a lively and realistic picture of science in action alters our conception of not only the natural sciences but also the social sciences and the sociology of knowledge in general.

This stimulating book, drawing on a wealth of examples from a wide range of scientific activities, will interest all philosophers, sociologists and historians of science, scientists and engineers, and students of the philosophy of social science and the sociology of knowledge.

Praise

  • One cannot but be impressed by the scope of Latour’s work… This is no mere bricolage, but a coherent and powerful framework for research. I predict that Science in Action will have an impact comparable to Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions both as a provocation to philosophers and as an inspiration to sociologists and historians of science.

    —Nicholas Jardine, Times Literary Supplement

Author

  • Bruno Latour was Professor Emeritus at Sciences Po Paris. He was the 2021 Kyoto Prize Laureate in Arts and Philosophy and was awarded the 2013 Holberg International Memorial Prize.

Book Details

  • 288 pages
  • 5-3/4 x 8-15/16 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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