Disciplining Experts

  title={Disciplining Experts},
  author={Charles R. Thorpe},
  journal={Social Studies of Science},
  pages={525 - 562}
  • C. Thorpe
  • Published 2002
  • Sociology
  • Social Studies of Science
In 1954, J. Robert Oppenheimer, who had emerged from World War II as America's foremost scientific advisor to government, faced a security hearing which stripped him of his security clearance and barred him from government work. This paper provides a novel interpretation of this event and its significance by arguing that the hearing exposed fundamental and endemic tensions in the place of science in liberal democratic politics. Science's image of impersonal objectivity makes it useful to the… Expand
Expertise and Political Responsibility: The Columbia Shuttle Catastrophe
One of the major conflicts between the principles of democratic politics and the practical reality of expertise in public decision making takes place in connection with responsibility. The basicExpand
Science and Its Discontents
This excellent work, a major contribution both to the political history of mid twentieth century America and to the sociology of science, explores the self-critical, activist role of science—andExpand
There's Power in the Blood : Religion, White Supremacy, and the Politics of Darwinism in America
Author(s): Bolar, Richard Allen | Abstract: America's contentious relationship to Darwinism is often inadequately viewed as the product of religious reaction or educative failure. I argue thatExpand
Transnational Professional Activism and the Prevention of Nuclear War in Britain
  • C. Laucht
  • Sociology, Medicine
  • Journal of social history
  • 2018
The concept of “transnational professional activism” is introduced to describe the ways in which scientific and medical professionals organized themselves into national interest groups situated within wider transnational networks in order to act against the perceived threat that nuclear war posed to human society. Expand
Multicultural settler colonialism and indigenous struggle in Hawai'i: The politics of astronomy on Mauna a Wakea
This dissertation argues the struggle over Mauna Kea is emblematic of the larger struggle over Hawaiʻi. This is not a struggle for equality, participation, money, or recognition, but is instead aExpand
  • C. Laucht
  • Political Science
  • The Historical Journal
  • 2015
ABSTRACT This article uses the debate over environmental and human health effects of nuclear testing to shed light on the ambivalent relationship between scientists, the public, and the state inExpand
Science, Technology and the Military: Priorities, Preoccupations and Possibilities
The relationships between science, technology and the military have been an important topic of public and political debate throughout the twentieth, and into the twenty-first, centuries (Edgerton,Expand
When Boundary Organisations Fail: Identifying Scientists and Civil Servants in L’Aquila Earthquake Trial
ABSTRACT Notwithstanding the alleged crisis of expertise, scientists increasingly act as expert advisors to governments, while organisations at the boundary between science and policy multiply.Expand
The Theatre of Scientific Advice
Two-decade’s worth of sociological and STS literature reporting the decline of expert authority in Western cultures, particularly that of scientists and engineers, provides the theoretical backdrop to these questions. Expand
Scientific authority in policy contexts: Public attitudes about environmental scientists, medical researchers, and economists
Analysis of attitudes about the amount of influence that environmental scientists, two kinds of medical researchers, and economists should have over policy decisions reveals that in each discipline the extent to which scientists are thought to serve the nation’s best interests is the strongest determinant of attitude about scientists as policy advisors. Expand


American Science in an Age of Anxiety: Scientists, Anticommunism and the Cold War
No professional group in the United States benefitted more from World War II than the scientific community. After the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, scientists enjoyed unprecedentedExpand
Science against modernism: the relevance of the social theory of Michael Polanyi.
  • C. Thorpe
  • Sociology, Medicine
  • The British journal of sociology
  • 2001
Polanyi's relevance for social theory is explicated, through a comparison with Weber's essay 'Science as a Vocation', and an understanding of the personal dimensions of trust and authority in science suggests practical limits to the position of Giddens on the disembedding of social relations and on the scepticism and reflexivity of modernity. Expand
A Fragile Power: Scientists and the State
When the National Science Foundation funds research about the earth's crust and the Department of Energy supports studies on the disposal of nuclear wastes, what do they expect for their money? MostExpand
Quantification and the Accounting Ideal in Science
Objectivity in science has normally been defined by scholars as almost synonymous with realism. It may be advantageous to think of it instead in terms of impersonality, an ideal that would replaceExpand
From Truth to Disinterestedness in the Seventeenth Century
Words have social as well as lexical meanings. This paper traces a semantic shift of the word `objective', and the issues arising from it, in the seventeenth century. A word attaching to the conceptExpand
Scientists Protect their Cognitive Authority: The Status Degradation Ceremony of Sir Cyril Burt
Our inquiry begins with an observation by historian M.D. King, put forth in 1971 and then widely ignored: The sociologist…must discover the sources of scientific authority and the manner of itsExpand
Objectivity and the Escape from Perspective
Scientific objectivity is neither monolithic nor immutable: our current usage is compounded of several meanings - metaphysical, methodological and moral - and each meaning has a distinct history, asExpand
Science and Security before the Atomic Bomb: The Loyalty Case of Harald U. Sverdrup
Abstract In the summer of 1941, Harald Sverdrup, the Norwegian-born Director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) in La Jolla, California, was denied security clearance to work onExpand
The Coming of Post-Industrial Society, a venture in Social Forecasting
  • D. Bell
  • Political Science, Economics
  • 1974
In 1976, Daniel Bell's historical work predicted a vastly different society developing--one that will rely on the "economics of information" rather than the "economics of goods." Bell argued that theExpand
Conditions of Successful Degradation Ceremonies
Communicative work directed to transforming an individual's total identity lower in the group's scheme of social types is called a "status degradation ceremony." To reconstitute the other as a socialExpand