From Content to Contention
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This book represents emerging alternative perspectives to the "constructivist" orthodoxy that currently dominates the field of science and technology studies. Various contributions from distinguished Americans and Europeans in the field, provide arguments and evidence that it is not enough simply to say that science is "socially situated. " Controversial Science focuses on important political, ethical, and broadly normative considerations that have yet to be given their due, but which point to a more realistic and critical perspective on science policy.
Thomas Brante is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Steve Fuller is Associate Professor at the Center for Study of Science in Society at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and he is the author of Philosophy of Science and Its Discontents and Social Epistemology. William Lynch is Doctoral Fellow in the History of Science and Technology Program at Cornell University.
"I think that the whole notion of 'controversy' is a good handle to start with for a critical assessment of the field. Controversy is now seen as not only normal but also a way of framing a research site for looking at the field of scientific endeavor. The editors have also brought together a group of very well-known scholars.
"Until 1970 most studies of science were hagiographic, paeans to science. We generally not only accorded scientists exceptionally high status, but took their point of view as correct and appropriate. But today we've had second thoughts about positivism and scientists as truth-tellers, and view them as imbedded in a cultural matrix, like everyone else. It is not a new viewpoint, but is the prevailing one in the field today, a highly critical one. " — Gerald Markle, Western Michigan University