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Science in Action Hardcover – Oct 1986

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Open University Press (Oct. 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0335153577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0335153572
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,977,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


One cannot but be impressed by the scope of Latour's work...This is no mere bricolage, but a coherent and powerful framework for research. I predict that Science in Action will have an impact comparable to Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions both as a provocation to philosophers and as an inspiration to sociologists and historians of science. -- Nicholas Jardine Times Literary Supplement Latour's Science in Action is a "must read" for all sociologists, not just because the sociology of science is a dynamic and growing subdiscipline, but more importantly because Latour's thesis challenges the notions that underlie sociologists' efforts to distinguish our field as a "science"...Latour's thesis is that science, including sociology, is collective action and that facticity is a consequence, not a cause, of collective action...An excellent and enjoyable introduction to the sociology of science. -- Joan H. Fujimura Contemporary Sociology There is a wealth of material and some titillating insight into discoveries beginning with the framed race to find the structure of DNA--the double helix--and in Latour's hands, it becomes a true cliffhanger...This [book] will reward those who want to probe science and the modern world in depth. Kirkus Reviews This account of science as composed of drifting, recombining networks is presented with considerable charm and humour. There are many brief case histories to enliven the text, and the book works very well as a guide through scientific reasoning. -- Steven Yearly Nature --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Bruno Latour is Professor and Vice-President for Research at the Sciences Po, Paris. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book

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Where can we start a study of science and technology? Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
You will like this book if you are interested in organizations and organizing. My favorit part is the last chapter about "Centres of Calculation", but I am sure you will find your own. Latour also argues about research method and gives us (reseachers) one view on how to follow scientits and engineers around.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
68 of 75 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant view on scientific truth as a network of strength 4 April 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Latour today can be regarded as one of the leading philosophers of science and technology. After his first work with Steve Woolgar, "Laboratory life", this is his second major work in which he generalises on various topics that he only touched in a very preliminary way in the above work. Latour adopts a very original way of following scientists in their struggle to "produce" scientific truth. He studies them as if they were a tribe (Latour is originally an ethnographer).
His conclusion is that scientific truth and the designing of succesful technological artefacts is not so much a "unveiling of some hidden truth behind things" or a logical construction, but a very heterogeneous project in which money, resources, statements, objects, people and numerous other things are linked in such a way that a strong chain is formed. Something is true if the chains is strong enough to withstand "trials of strength". Latour does away with metaphysical ideas of "The Truth" but insist in stead that truth is very much a stage in a process of negotiation between human and non-human actors. The idea that truth is the result of a logical process in which an abstract "reality" is discovered is, according to Latour, a story that is told afterwards to defend the theory itself and not something that is inherent in the forming of the theory itself.
In a very easy-to-read way Latour guides his readers through the work of science and technology "in the making". A must for any student in science and technology as well as for any scholar in social sciences and philosophy.
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
extremely though-provoking 6 Feb. 2009
By ingonyama - Published on
Format: Paperback
In 20 years in higher ed. in the social sciences, I am hard pressed to think of a book that immediately and permanently transformed the way I understand the world more than this one. It opens up hundreds of questions and is a delight to read. Probably the best starting point for a newcomer to Latour's ouevre, too.
Buy and Keep Handy 13 Sept. 2014
By KDonovan - Published on
Format: Paperback
One of the most helpful reads in history that I've read. This is a book that you KEEP, read and reread for years to come. The process of scientific evaluation is highly regarded for many reasons and this book enables you to participate in this exploration. I highly recommend.
18 of 28 people found the following review helpful
An Engineer's Opinion... 10 Oct. 2000
By "b_arkis" - Published on
Format: Paperback
I'm an electrical and electronics engineer, working for a governmental R&D Institution. I also study on Science and Technology Policy Studies for an M.S. degree. I found the book quite useful, especially in its aspect of analyzing the scientist and engineer in his own time, his own context, his own psychology... It is a well organized, fluent, clear book. It may not be a complete guide or a definitive study, but it is a good point to start. Recommended...
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Deeply Engaging Read 19 Oct. 2013
By Nick Hirsch - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bruno Latour provides an excellent framework for understanding the production of scientific knowledge. His "black box" theory of the development of facts is a useful metaphor which can be extended beyond science studies into the other arenas of intellectual discourse and fact-making. Anyone interested in the social construction of knowledge should give this volume a close read.
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