Beyond the Science Wars

The Missing Discourse about Science and Society

Edited by Ullica Segerstrale

Subjects: History Of Science
Series: SUNY series in Science, Technology, and Society
Paperback : 9780791446188, 248 pages, August 2000
Hardcover : 9780791446171, 248 pages, August 2000

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Table of contents


1. Science and Science Studies: Enemies or Allies?

Ullica Segerstråle

Contextualizing the "Science Wars"

The Constructivist Critique

1994—The Annus Horribilis and After

Why the Constructivist Position Bothers Scientists

Who has the right to criticize science? A Hidden Issue in the Science Wars

The Meaning of Alan Sokal's Hoax

Who owns the history of science? The Aftermath of the Sokal Hoax

The Science Wars Continue: Closing in on Science Studies

Plan of the Book

Bringing the Scientist Back In

2. Antiscience in Current Science and Technology Studies

Henry H. Bauer

Recent Developments

Is there really antagonism against science in STS?

The Fact of Antiscientific Sentiment

Antiscientific Sentiment in Perspective

Incomprehension of Science

Hypocrisy: Preaching Versus Practice

The Purpose of STS

How did STS come into being?

My Intellectual Dissatisfaction with Current STS

Disciplinary Dilemmas

Under what circumstances is STS likely to thrive?

3. Some Patterns and Processes in the Development of a Scientific Sociology of Science: Notes from a Sixty-Year Memoir

Bernard Barber

Writing the History of Social Studies of Science

The Application of General Social System Theory

The Political and Ideological Response

The Influence of Nonsystematic Theories

No Theory at All: The Importance of a Striking Empirical Fact

The Importance of New Research Methods

The Weakness of "The Strong Program"

The Cross-Fertilization of Sociological Specialties

The Cross-Fertilization of Disciplines

The Importance of Values and Ideologies

In Brief Conclusion

4. Anti-Antiscience: A Phenomenon in Search of an Explanation Part I. Anatomy of Recent "Antiscience" Allegations

Ullica Segerstråle

Taking the Science Warriors Seriously

The Varieties of "Antiscience"

Can scientists be antiscience? The Link between the Science Wars and Recent Nature-Nurture Debates

Karl Popper's Adverse Effect on the British Science Budget: A Thesis in 1980s Britain

5. Anti-Antiscience: A Phenomenon in Search of an Explanation Part II. The Conflict about the Social Role of Science

Ullica Segerstråle

The Struggle about the Cultural Meaning of Science

"Antiscience" As a Heuristic Device

The Political Meaning of Scientific Objectivity

The Missing Reason in the Science Wars

6. Visions of Science in the Twentieth Century

Valéry Cholakov

Changing Views of Science

Science: The Endless Frontier

Science: A Direct Productive Force

The Science of Science

Chemistry: The Land of Opportunity

Science: A Dangerous Power

The End of Big Science

Redefining Science

7. Postacademic Science: Constructing Knowledge with Networks and Norms

John Ziman

Science As a Cultural Form

Academic Science

Elements of the Scientific Ethos

CUDOS Institutionalized

New Modes of Knowledge Production

Networking Intellectual Property

Problem Solving in Local Contexts

Incorporating Interests into Knowledge

Who sets the problem?

What counts as excellence?

From Specialized Knowledge to Expertise

Where do the pipers collect their paychecks?

Postindustrial Science

Postmodern Knowledge

Epistemic Features of Mode 2

What Price Objectivity?

8. A Social Theory of Objectivity

Stephan Fuchs

The Many Meanings of Objectivity

Objectivity As Rhetoric

Objectivity As Power

The Standpoint Paradox

Some Empirical Difficulties with the Critical Theory

Objectivity and Social Status

Some Suggestions for a New Objectivity

Objectivity As Medium

The Binding Effects of Objectivity


Some Possible Objections


9. Science Studies through the Looking Glass: An Intellectual Itinerary

Steve Fuller

The Science Wars: A Conflict Waiting to Happen

The Prehistory of the Science Wars

STS's Induction into the "Academic Left" (And My Induction into STS)

The Battle of Britain

The Sokal Hoax

What should have been done? What can be done?



Contextualizes the "Science Wars" from interdisciplinary sociological, historical, scientific, political, and cultural perspectives.


Beyond the Science Wars offers a broad contextualization of the "Science Wars"—an ongoing debate between scientists and social scientists over the nature and meaning of science—from interdisciplinary sociological, historical, scientific, political, and cultural perspectives. Beyond providing an understanding of the conflict itself, this book presents the comments of two science and technology studies' (STS) "founding fathers" (Bernard Barber and John Ziman), a scientist's protest that STS has abandoned its original mission, a historian's view of the fluctuating social support for science, and a sociologist's analysis of the motives of "anti-antiscience warriors." In addition, an STS statesman discusses ongoing structural changes in science, a sociologist sorts out different views of objectivity, and an STS veteran from the Science Wars brings us tales from the front and evaluates the meaning of recent events.

Contributors include Bernard Barber, Henry H. Bauer, Valery Cholakov, Stephan Fuchs, Steve Fuller, Ullica Segerstrale, and John Ziman.

Ullica Segerstrale is Professor of Sociology at Illinois Institute of Technology and the author of Defenders of the Truth: The Battle for Science in the Sociobiology Debate and Beyond.


"Beyond the Science Wars provides an excellent, up-to-date, and scholarly analysis of the historical context and recent debates about science and 'antiscience.'" — Choice

"This book proposes to offer 'a broad contextualization of the "science wars"—an ongoing debate between scientists and social scientists over the nature and meaning of science,' and it largely succeeds in this effort. It provides a helpful and perceptive clarification of the intellectual struggle between certain practitioners of STS (Science and Technology Studies) and some self-appointed spokespersons for science … invaluable in helping readers understand and sort out the arguments offered by science warriors of every persuasion … current and timely … Its editor and authors bring to their task impressive learning as well as deep historical and broad social perspectives … its unpolemical characterization, contextualization and analysis of the science wars will serve as an effective and useful contribution to our understanding of this intellectual engagement." — Contemporary Sociology

"Readers interested in the science wars and its fallout should find much of this book illuminating." — The Quarterly Review of Biology

"Any scientist interested in establishing a more constructive dialogue with the science and technology studies community would be well-advised to read th[is] work." — Physics Today

"I really enjoyed reading this book, both for its insights into the 'Science Wars' and clarification of the issues (and the false issues or straw men) and for its perspectives on the history and context and motivations of this debate. It clarifies what is really at stake philosophically, politically, and sociologically, as well as the rhetorical strategies of the various participants and their efforts." — William E. Evenson, Brigham Young University

"This book is like a breath of fresh air in a room heated to suffocation by rancorous but irrelevant debate. All of the articles are fair and balanced and provide perspectives that are usually missing." — Marjorie Senechal, editor of The Cultures of Science

"Since this controversy has attracted widespread, recurring media attention that has been taken to be symptomatic of a broader trend in academia, a volume such as this one, analyzing debate from a moderate critical perspective, could attract broader interest." — Henry Etzkowitz, coeditor of Capitalizing Knowledge: New Intersections of Industry and Academia