Epistemic Cultures How the Sciences Make Knowledge

ISBN-10: 0674258940
ISBN-13: 9780674258945
Edition: 1999
List price: $39.00
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Description: How does science create knowledge? Epistemic cultures, shaped by affinity, necessity, and historical coincidence, determine how we know what we know. In this book, Karin Knorr Cetina compares two of the most important and intriguing epistemic  More...

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Book details

List price: $39.00
Copyright year: 1999
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 5/1/1999
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 340
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

How does science create knowledge? Epistemic cultures, shaped by affinity, necessity, and historical coincidence, determine how we know what we know. In this book, Karin Knorr Cetina compares two of the most important and intriguing epistemic cultures of our day, those in high energy physics and molecular biology. Her work highlights the diversity of these cultures of knowing and, in its depiction of their differences--in the meaning of the empirical, the enactment of object relations, and the fashioning of social relations--challenges the accepted view of a unified science. By many accounts, contemporary Western societies are becoming "knowledge societies"--which run on expert processes and expert systems epitomized by science and structured into all areas of social life. By looking at epistemic cultures in two sample cases, this book addresses pressing questions about how such expert systems and processes work, what principles inform their cognitive and procedural orientations, and whether their organization, structures, and operations can be extended to other forms of social order. The first ethnographic study to systematically compare two different scientific laboratory cultures, this book sharpens our focus on epistemic cultures as the basis of the knowledge society.

A Note on Transcription
Introduction
The Disunity of the Sciences
The Cultures of Knowledge Societies
Culture and Practice
The Structure of the Book
Physics Theory, and a First Look at the Field
Issues of Methodology, and More about the Field
What Is a Laboratory?
Laboratories as Reconfigurations of Natural and Social Orders
From Laboratory to Experiment
Some Features of the Laboratory Reconsidered
Particle Physics and Negative Knowledge
The Analogy of the Closed Universe
A World of Signs and Secondary Appearances
The "Meaninglessness" of Measurement
The Structure of the Care of the Self
Negative Knowledge and the Liminal Approach
Moving in a Closed Universe: Unfolding, Framing, and Convoluting
Molecular Biology and Blind Variation
An Object-Oriented Epistemics
The Small-Science Style of Molecular Biology and the Genome Project
The Laboratory as a Two-Tier Structure
"Blind" Variation and Natural Selection
The Experiential Register
Blind Variation Reconsidered
From Machines to Organisms: Detectors as Behavioral and Social Beings
Primitive Classifications
Detector Agency and Physiology
Detectors as Moral and Social Individuals
Live Organism or Machine?
Are There Enemies?
Physicists as Symbionts
Taxonomies of Trust
Primitive Classifications Reconsidered
From Organisms to Machines: Laboratories as Factories of Transgenics
A Science of Life without Nature?
Organisms as Production Sites
Cellular Machines
Industrial Production versus Natural (Re)production
Biological Machines Reconsidered
HEP Experiments as Post-Traditional Communitarian Structures
Large Collaborations: A Brief History
The Erasure of the Individual as an Epistemic Subject
Management by Content
The Intersection of Management by Content and Communitarianism
Communitarian Time: Genealogical, Scheduled
The Multiple Ordering Frameworks of HEP Collaborations
The Birth Drama of an Experiment
Delaying the Choice, or Contests of Unfolding
Confidence Pathways and Gossip Circles
Other Ordering Frameworks
Reconfiguration Reconsidered
The Dual Organization of Molecular Biology Laboratories
Laboratories Structured as Individuated Units
Becoming a Laboratory Leader
The Two Levels of the Laboratory
The "Impossibility" of Cooperation in Molecular Biology
Toward an Understanding of Knowledge Societies: A Dialogue
Notes
References
Index

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