Controversial Science

From Content to Contention

Edited by Thomas Brante, Steve Fuller, and William Lynch

Subjects: Science And Society
Series: SUNY series in Science, Technology, and Society
Paperback : 9780791414743, 326 pages, July 1993
Hardcover : 9780791414736, 326 pages, July 1993

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Table of contents




The Feminist Challenge to Social Studies of Science
Julia Loughlin

Science, Sociology of Science, and the Anarchist Tradition
Sal Restivo

Counteranalysis: Toward Social and Normative Restraints on the Production and Use of Scientific and Technological Knowledge
Frans Birrer

Bringing the Scientist Back In: The Need for an Alternative Sociology of Scientific Knowledge
Ullica Segerstrale

Biotechnology and Ethics
Henk Verhoog

A Strategy for Making Science Studies Policy Relevant
Steve Fuller

Science as the Continuation of Politics by Other Means
Aant Elzinga

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Science and the Context of Relevance
Peter Weingart


Reasons for Studying Scientific and Science-Based Controversies
Thomas Brante

Comparing "Tool Controveries": Science, Contexts, Institutional Power, and the Development of Medical Controversies
Sune Sunesson

Causal Stories, Scientific Information, and the Ozone Depletion Controversy: Intrusive Scenarios in the Policy Process
Andrew Weiss

Value Communities in Science: The Recombinant DNA Case
Tibor Szanto

The Image of Man in Sociobiology
Margarita Jeliazkova

Cultural Bias and Regulating Risky Technologies: The Dutch Debate on Regulating LPG-Related Activities
Rob Hoppe and Rob Pranger

Ethical Controversies of Science and Society: A Relation Between Two Spheres of Social Conflict
Randall Collins




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