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The professional quest for truth : a social theory of science and knowledge

Author: Stephan Fuchs
Publisher: Albany : State University of New York Press, ©1992.
Series: SUNY series in science, technology, and society.
Edition/Format:   Print book : State or province government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
This book argues that the power of science as the most respected and authoritative world view is based on its superior material and organizational resources, not on its superior rationality. Fuchs approaches science as a social construct, and utilizing a theory of scientific organizations, he analyzes knowledge production in scientific fields - how they differ in their resources and how these differences affect how  Read more...
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Details

Material Type: Government publication, State or province government publication, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Stephan Fuchs
ISBN: 0791409236 9780791409237 0791409244 9780791409244
OCLC Number: 23386510
Description: xviii, 254 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Contents: Chapter 1: Toward a theory of scientific organizations --
Chapter 2: The new sociology of science: philosophical and sociological backgrounds --
Epistemological critique --
The issues of relativism and reflexivity --
The strong program: entering the black box of scientific rationality --
Chapter 3: Microsocial studies of science: the empirical evidence --
Facts --
Controversies and closures --
Textuality --
Textual agents --
Nontextual agents --
Laboratories --
Property --
Chapter 4: How social are social studies of science? --
The idiosyncratic nature of scientific production --
The social dynamics of fact production --
Mundane and scientific knowledge --
Controversies as normal accidents --
Chapter 5: The technological paradigm in organizational theory --
Woodward's structural types of technology and organization --
Perrow's early comparative framework for organization analysis --
Thompson's technological interdependence types --
Perrow's later comparative framework for organization analysis --
Lawrence and Lorsch's environmental model of organizational structure --
Control theory --
Current debates in organizational theory --
Chapter 6: Some comparative observations on science and the professions --
Task uncertainty and stratification --
Mutual dependence and professional workstyles --
Science and art: an organizational comparison --
Organizational control in modern literature --
The postmodern equation of science and literature --
Chapter 7: A theory of scientific production --
Resource concentration --
Reputational autonomy --
Mutual dependence, heterogeneity, and coordination problems --
Size, competition, and change --
Cumulation --
Specialization --
Fragmentation --
Migration --
Task uncertainty --
Bureaucratization of control --
Chapter 8: Hermeneutics as deprofessionalization --
The interpretive paradigm in sociology --
The paradox of interpretive methodology --
Hermeneutics as organizational structure.
Series Title: SUNY series in science, technology, and society.
Responsibility: Stephan Fuchs.

Abstract:

This book argues that the power of science as the most respected and authoritative world view is based on its superior material and organizational resources, not on its superior rationality. Fuchs approaches science as a social construct, and utilizing a theory of scientific organizations, he analyzes knowledge production in scientific fields - how they differ in their resources and how these differences affect how science is conducted. The book explains why certain fields produce science and facts, while others engage in hermeneutics and conversation; why certain specialities change through cumulation rather than fragmentation; and why some fields are relativistic while others are positivist in their self-understanding. This general theory of knowledge is applicable not only to science, but to all varieties of professional groups engaged in knowledge production.

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