Breaking the Waves in Science Studies

  title={Breaking the Waves in Science Studies},
  author={Sheila Jasanoff},
  journal={Social Studies of Science},
  pages={389 - 400}
  • S. Jasanoff
  • Published 1 June 2003
  • Education
  • Social Studies of Science
The human mind finds threesomes reassuring. Perhaps it has to do with the lateral symmetry of our bodies: right, left, and center. Three, at any rate, is a favorite structuring principle in art and argument. Triptych and trilogy. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Wide pendulum swings modulating to a restful mid-point. To Harry Collins' credit, his threesomes have not always aimed for the comfort of the happy middle. In 1981, when he announced the three-stage 'empirical programme of relativism… 

Continuous Variations

The dichotomy between the conceptual and the empirical is part of common sense, yet its organizing force also extends to intellectual life more generally, including the disciplinary life of science

Michael Polanyi and the politics of science studies

Tacit knowledge is today a key concept in history and sociology of science and, primarily because of the significance of this concept, Michael Polanyi is regarded, alongside other figures such as

How Aristotle Might Help STS

Recent contributions by Collins, Evans, Jasanoff and Wynne to the discussion of how science and technology studies (STS) might contribute to understanding 'subpolitics' - the complex, expert

So Long, Succor

Dr. Golem is the third in a series of books by Harry Collins and Trevor Pinch that aim to make the insights of science and technology studies accessible to general readers and tells "how to think" about medicine.

Discursive Choices

Few presidential initiatives have attracted more public ridicule from scientists and engineers than ‘Star Wars’, Ronald Reagan’s 1983 proposal to build a missile defense system that would render the

When all that is theory melts into (hot) air: Contrasts and parallels between actor network theory, autonomist Marxism, and open Marxism ∗

This article compares Autonomous Marxism, Open Marxism and Actor Network Theory (ANT) through examining how they treat the sticking point of contingency. These schools of thought share a common enemy

Science studies, climate change and the prospects for constructivist critique

Abstract Starting from the debates over the ‘reality’ of global warming and the politics of science studies, I seek to clarify what is at stake politically in constructivist understandings of science

No “Real” Experts: Unexpected Agreement Over Disagreement in STS and Philosophy of Science

The aim of this paper is to discuss a parallel in the thinking of STS scholar Sheila Jasanoff and philosopher Adam Elga. Although both subscribe to the norms of their respective discipline—Elga using

Misguided boundary work in studies of expertise: time to return to the evidence

Do modern, expert-driven societies face the grave threat of ‘technological populism’? Must we construct a sharp boundary between the ‘technical’ and the ‘political’ to ward off this risk? Collins,



Seasick on the Third Wave? Subverting the Hegemony of Propositionalism

Harry Collins and Rob Evans (Collins & Evans, 2002) offer a typically forthright normative vision for the 'Third Wave' of science studies, after what they call the earlier waves of post-war

A house built on sand : exposing postmodernist myths about science

Cultural critics say that 'science is politics by other means,' arguing that the results of scientific inquiry are profoundly shaped by the ideological agendas of powerful elites. Physicist Alan

Stages in the Empirical Programme of Relativism

Modern philosophy of science has allowed an extra dimensiontime into descriptions of the nature of scientific knowledge. Theories are now seen as linked to each other, and tQ observations, not by

Book Review: A House Built on Sand: Exposing Postmodernist Myths about Science

This is a saddening book. It is sad that after more than five years of the “science wars”—the attack launched by a band of self-proclaimed defenders of science on a set of foes loosely tagged as “the

Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle and the Experimental Life

"Leviathan and the Air-Pump" examines the conflicts over the value and propriety of experimental methods between two major seventeenth-century thinkers: Thomas Hobbes, author of the political

Science Studies and Activism

Might a rapprochement be desirable and possible between the more academic and the more activist wings of STS? What can each learn from the other? A promising trajectory for this purpose may be to

Book-Review - the Golem - what Everyone Should Know about Science

Introduction: the Golem 1. Edible knowledge: the chemical transfer of memory 2. Two experiments that 'proved' the theory of relativity 3. The sun in a test tube: the story of cold fusion 4. The germs

Contested Boundaries in Policy-Relevant Science

In the United States, as in other industrialized nations, regulatory decisions to protect the environment and public health depend heavily on scientific information. Yet the process of

The Fifth Branch: Science Advisers as Policymakers.

1. Rationalizing Politics The Rise of Social Regulation Science and Policymaking Expertise and Trust The Contingency of Knowledge The Reform Debate An Alternative Approach 2. Flawed Decisions

Science and statistical victim: modernizing knowledge in breast implant litigation.

It is argued that the attempt to marry judicial concerns for individual justice with administrative concerns for speed, efficiency and economy has produced anomalous results and questions whether the courts can legitimately take on board the issues of risk and social justice in contemporary industrial societies.