For the most current, comprehensive resource in this rapidly evolving field, look no further than the Revised Edition of the Handbook of Science and Technology Studies. This masterful volume is the first resource in more than 15 years to define, summarize, and synthesize this complex multidisciplinary, international field. Tightly edited with contributions by an internationally recognized team of leading scholars, this volume addresses the crucial contemporary issues—both traditional and nonconventional—social studies, political studies, and humanistic studies in this changing field. Containing theoretical essays, extensive literature reviews, and detailed case studies, this remarkable volume clearly sets the standard for the field. It does nothing less than establish itself as the benchmark, one that will carry the field well into the next century. 

Chapter 18: Boundaries of Science

Boundaries of Science

Boundaries of science
Thomas F. Gieryn

THE working title of this Handbook presumed three neatly bounded territories: science, technology, and society. This chapter makes those territories and especially their borders into objects for sociological interpretation and seeks to recover their messiness, contentiousness, and practical significance in everyday life. Its focus is on the “boundary problem” in science and technology studies: Where does science leave off, and society—or technology—begin? Where is the border between science and non-science? Which claims or practices are scientific? Who is a scientist? What is science?

The chapter begins with two perspectives on the boundary problem, essentialism and constructivism. Essentialists argue for the possibility and analytic desirability of identifying unique, necessary, and invariant qualities that set science apart from other cultural practices ...

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