Life Among the Scientists: An Anthropological Study of an Australian Scientific Community

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Oxford University Press, 1989 - Science - 304 pages
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This book provides a fascinating study of a community of scientists at the prestigious Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Science in Melbourne, Australia. These scientists are mainly concerned with investigating the immune system, which enables us to cope with the many bacteria and viruses that invade our bodies. The Hall Institute scientists are part of a distinctive subculture, with its own myths and rites of passage, which can be investigated in much the same way as anthropologists investigate 'primitive' cultures. The volume shows how scientific programs and methods are shaped by cultural factors, including social, political, and economic constraints, and by the Institute's setting and the ethos of the new biology. The emphasis is on how science is actually done in concrete situations as distinct from what scientists say they do, and what philosophers and historians and sociologists of science theorize about what they do. Life Among the Scientists will be of great interest to scientists, students of the philosophy, history, and sociology of science, anthropologists and social scientists, and the general reader who wants to know what the scientific life is really like.

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Contents

Ancestor Worship and Culture Heroes
20
The Emergence of the New Biology
38
The Institutes Setting
52
Copyright

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