Cultural Boundaries of Science: Credibility on the Line

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University of Chicago Press, Jan 15, 1999 - Science - 398 pages
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Why is science so credible? Usual answers center on scientists' objective methods or their powerful instruments. In his new book, Thomas Gieryn argues that a better explanation for the cultural authority of science lies downstream, when scientific claims leave laboratories and enter courtrooms, boardrooms, and living rooms. On such occasions, we use "maps" to decide who to believeŚcultural maps demarcating "science" from pseudoscience, ideology, faith, or nonsense.

Gieryn looks at episodes of boundary-work: Was phrenology good science? How about cold fusion? Is social science really scientific? Is organic farming? After centuries of disputes like these, Gieryn finds no stable criteria that absolutely distinguish science from non-science. Science remains a pliable cultural space, flexibly reshaped to claim credibility for some beliefs while denying it to others. In a timely epilogue, Gieryn finds this same controversy at the heart of the raging "science wars."




  

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Contents

Contesting Credibility Cartographically
3
John Tyndalls Double BoundaryWork Science Religion and Mechanics in Victorian England
39
The US Congress Demarcates Natural Science and Social Science Twice
67
May the Best Science Win Competition for the Chair of Logic and Metaphysics at the University of Edinburgh 1836
117
The Cold Fusion of Science Mass Media and Politic
185
Hybridizing Credibilities Albert and Gabrielle Howard Compost Organic Waste Science and the Rest of Society
235
House to Road Science Wars as BoundaryWork
338
Bibliography of Secondary Works
365
Index
385
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Thomas F. Gieryn is professor of sociology at Indiana University. He is the editor of three books, most recently of Theories of Science in Society.

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