STS 662 Science and Social Theory Spring 1996
4 credits. Limited to 15 students
Seminar Tu 1.25-4.25
Asst. Prof. Peter Taylor
Department of Science and Technology Studies
624 Clark Hall, 255-7294
Office Hours M 1.15-2.15; Tu 12.15-1.15.
Issues in social theory, or more broadly, social thought, raised by historical
and contemporary studies of science and technology. Focal theme for Spring
1996: Agency and Structure -- connecting individual action to social
structure/dness and the related problem of connecting micro and macro levels of
analysis. Prerequisite: STS 442 or permission of the instructor.
Through this course you should develop an appreciation of the conceptual order
(affinities, tensions & oppositions) among the different approaches to
incorporating social processes into accounts of the dynamics of science. At
the same time you should clarify how you want to inject the theoretical
insights into your own practice in the area of science studies, i.e.,
the course is not just theory for its own sake.
1. Reading (sometimes a lot), attendance, and participation in the
2. Lead (probably with 1 or 2 others) the discussion for 2 seminars. Leaders
must prepare the extra readings (others are encouraged, but not required to),
and interpret their message to the class. Leaders must meet with me in advance
of the class.
3. Before class at least 8 times in the semester students must email to the
class list, STS662-L@cornell.edu, two questions that they would like
4. Each week the first part of the seminar will be reading the 1 page
reflection/discussion provocations that students bring to class (at least 5
times in the semester). Bring enough copies for everyone in the seminar.
Emailing these also in advance to the class list will allow discussion leaders
to prepare better for discussions.
5. The last part of the seminar each week will consist of 1 or 2 students
giving short presentations on the progress of their term paper research,
conforming to the ideal schedule of progress toward the final term paper (see
6. The term paper should delve deeper into some area of social theory and
analyze its (actual or potential) injection into science studies. The final
product should be15-20 pages, properly referenced. Toward this end you must
also submit during the semester the following:
Topic & bibliography 2/20
Draft 4/22, 10am in Clark 624
Final version (revised
following comments) 5/3 (note early date)
7. At least 2 references that you suggest for addition to the syllabus,
annotated to indicate where they fit in chronologically and conceptually. Due
Class participation 10%
Discussion leading 20
Progress reports on term paper 10
Term paper 40
Submission of questions, reflection/discussion provocations, &
bibliographic suggestions 20
Auditors will be allowed provided that they do the reading and participate in
class, including take their turn at leading discussions and submit
Syllabus and readings -- subject to pruning (especially extra readings)
and revision -- apologies for inconsistent formatting.
Readings will be available in Clark 278, open 8.30-4.39 M-F. They should be
read there or borrowed very briefly to be xeroxed in Clark library. (Xerox
cards can be bought at Kex office two doors down from 278).
Depending on demand, the required readings for March and April will be made
into a course packet at Gnomon copy on Eddy Street for about $35 (including
1. Introduction: Definitions, approaches, related problems (macro/micro),
contrasting positions and recurrent issues (power & gender)
Gieryn, Thomas F. "Riding the action/ structure pendulum with those
swinging sociologists of science." In 20th anniversary of Cornell
University Program on Science, Technology & Society in Ithaca, edited
by S. S. Jasanoff, 1992.
Levins, Richard and Richard Lewontin. "Introduction." In The Dialectical
Biologist, Pp. 1-5. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985 .
Gieryn & Pinch's sociology of science course bibliographies.
Collins, R. and S. Restivo (1983). "Development, diversity, and conflict
in the sociology of science." Sociological Quarterly 24: 185-200.
We start by looking at society/ interests/ structure as determining of
action, beliefs, and science. We progressively loosen the degree and scale of
2. Social determination I: Interests:
Barnes, B. "On the 'hows' and 'whys' of cultural change (Response to
Woolgar)." Social Studies of Science 11 (1981): 481-498 .
Hessen, B. "The social and economic roots on Newton's 'Principia'." In
Science at the crossroads, ed. J. Needham and P. G. Werksey. Pp.
149-212. London: Frank Cass, 1971 .
MacKenzie, D.A. "Statistical theory and social interests: a case study."
Social Studies of Science 8 (1978): 35-83 .
Williams, R. (1983). "Interest," in Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and
Society, Oxford University Press, 171-173.
Woolgar, S. "Interests and explanation in the social study of science."
Social Studies of Science 11 (1981): 365-394 .
Dugdale, Ann. "Keller's Degendered Science: Notes and Discussion." Thesis
Eleven 21 (1988): 117-127 .
Longino, Helen. Science as social knowledge. Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 1990.-- selection to be determined
3. Social determination II: Structure
Misa, Thomas J. "How machines make history, and how historians (and
others) help them to do so." Science, Technology and Human Values 13
(3&4, 1988): 308-331.
Wright, Erik Olin. "Reflections on Classes." Berkeley Journal of
Sociology XXXII (1987): 19-49.
or (to be determined)
Wright, E. O. (1996). "A general framework for studying class consciousness and
class formation," in Class Counts. Cambridge, Cambridge University
McLaughlin, P. Obstacles to a new sociology of agriculture: The persistence
of essentialism. 1989. Manuscript
Baudrillard, Jean. The mirror of production. St. Louis: Telos
Press, 1975.-- selection to be determined
Hacking, Ian. "Why does language matter to philosophy?" In Why does
language matter to philosophy?, Pp. 157-187 + notes. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1975 .
Markus, Gyorgy. "Editorial preface & Preface." In Language and
Production, Pp. vii-xv. Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1986 .
4. A digression on explanation
Bhaskar, R. (1986). Scientific realism and human emancipation.
London, Verso. -- selection to be determined
Garfinkel, Alan. "Introduction & Chaps. 1-4." In Forms of
explanation, New Haven: Yale University press, 1981.
Lloyd, C. (1986). "Five themes & Introduction," in Explanation in Social
History. Oxford, Basil Blackwell.
Miller, R. W. (1983). "Fact and method in the social sciences," in D. Sabia and
J. Wallulis (Eds.), Changing social science. Albany, SUNY Press,
Taylor, C. (1989). "A Digression on Historical Explanation," in Source of
the Self: The Making of the Modern Identify. Boston, Harvard University
Press, 199-207, 495-521, 546-593.
Taylor, P. J. (1995). Appendices to "Building on construction: An exploration
of heterogeneous constructionism, using an analogy from psychology and a sketch
from socio-economic modeling." Perspectives on Science 3(1): 66-98.
5. Part A Directed autonomy
Abir-Am, P. "The discourse of physical power and biological knowledge in
the 1930s: A reappraisal of the Rockefeller Foundations's 'policy' in molecular
biology." Social Studies of Science 12 (1982): 341-382.
Yoxen, Edward. "Life as a productive force: Capitalising the science and
technology of molecular biology." In Science, Technology and the Labour
Process, Marxist Studies Vol. 1, ed. L. Levidow and R. Young. Pp. 66-122.
London: CSE Books, 1981.
Abir-Am, P. "Beyond deterministic sociology and apologetic history:
Reassessing the impact of research policy upon new scientific disciplines
(Reply to Fuerst, Bartels, Olby and Yoxen)." Social Studies of Science
14 (2, 1984): 252-63.
Part B Structuration I
Abir-Am, Pnina G. "Biotheoretical Gathering, Trans-Disciplinary Authority and
the Incipient Legitimation of Molecular Biology in the 1930s: New Perspective
on the Historical Sociology of Science." History of Science XXV (1987):
6. Structuration II
Bourdieu, Pierre. "Men and machines." in K. Knorr-Cetina and A. Cicourel
(eds.). Pp. 304-318. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981.
Giddens, A. "Agency, institution, and time-space analysis." In Advances in
social theory and methodology, ed. K. Knorr-Cetina and A. Cicourel. Pp.
161-174 Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981 .
Gieryn, Thomas F. "Riding the action/ structure pendulum with those swinging
sociologists of science." In 20th anniversary of Cornell University Program
on Science, Technology & Society in Ithaca, edited by S. S. Jasanoff,
1992 (see week 1).
Hagendijk, Rob. "Structuration theory, constructivism, and scientific change."
Pp. 43-66 in Theories of science in society, ed. S. E. Cozzens and
Thomas F. Gieryn. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990 .
Sclove, R. (1995). "I'd Hammer Out Freedom: Technology as Politics and
Culture," in Democracy and Technology. New York: Guilford,
Sewell, W. H. (1992). "A theory of structure: Duality, agency and
transformation." American Journal of Sociology 98: 1-29.
Callinicos, Alex. "Conclusion." In Making history: Agency, structure, and
change in social theory. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988 .
Willis, Paul. Learning to Labour. Farnborough, England: Saxon House,
1977, Pp.1-51, 89-159.
7. Local/situational constructivism & ethnomethodology
Knorr-Cetina, Karin. "Introduction: The micro-sociological challenge of
macro-sociology: towards a reconstruction of social theory and methodology." In
Advances in social theory and methodology, ed. K. Knorr-Cetina and A.
Cicourel. Pp. 1-47. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981 .
Knorr-Cetina, Karin. "The ethnographic study of scientific work: Towards a
constructivist interpretation of science." In Science observed: Perspectives
on the social study of science, ed. K. Knorr-Cetina and M. Mulkay. Pp.
115-140. London: Sage, 1983.
Lynch, Michael, Eric Livingston, and Harold Garfinkel. "Temporal order in
laboratory work." In Science observed: Perspectives on the social study of
science, ed. K. Knorr-Cetina and M. Mulkay. Pp. 205-238. London: Sage,
or (/to be determined)
Lynch, M. (1993). "Introduction & Ethnomethodology," in Scientific
Practice and Ordinary Action: Ethnomethodology and Social Studies of
Science. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, xi-xxi, 1-38.
8. Actors in/on networks & neo-Hobbesianism
Callon, M. and B. Latour. "Unscrewing the big Leviathin." In Advances
in social theory and methodology, ed. K. Knorr-Cetina and A. Cicourel. Pp.
277-303. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981 .
Latour, Bruno. "Give me a laboratory and I will raise the world." In Science
observed: Perspectives on the social study of science, ed. K. Knorr-Cetina
and M. Mulkay. Pp. 141-170. London: Sage, 1983.
Latour, Bruno. "Irreduction of 'the sciences'." In The Pastuerization of
France, Pp. 212-236. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988.
Latour, Bruno. "The impact of science studies on political philosophy."
Science, Technology & Human Values 16 (1, 1991): 3-19.
Schuster, J. "Bruno's (no history required) tour of the past." University of
Wollongong Science & Technology Studies, Working Paper No. 1,1991 .
Assumed background (if you haven't read it, do so, but read the articles
Latour, B. Science in Action. Milton Keynes: Open University Press,
Hull, D. (1988). ""The need for a mechanism" & "The visible hand"," in
Science as a Process: An Evolutionary Account of the Social and Conceptual
development of Science. Chicago, University of Chicago Press,
277-321 & 354-396.
By this point, social structures have almost disappeared from the
authors' account. We examine what it means to focus on individuals as source/
explanation of social regularities. Then, taking biography as an intersection
of social conditions, we begin to climb back away from individualism.
Foucault, Michel. "Questions of Method: An Interview with Michel
Foucault." I&C 8 (1981): 3-14.
Hacking, I. (1986), "Making up individuals," in Heller, T., et al. (eds.)
Reconstructing individualism : autonomy, individuality, and the self in
Western thought. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1986.
Henriques, Julian, Wendy Holloway, Cathy Urwin, Couze Venn, and Valerie
Walkerdine. "Constructing the subject." In Changing The Subject, ed.
Julian Henriques, Wendy Holloway, Cathy Urwin, Couze Venn, and Valerie
Walkerdine. Pp. 92-118. London: Methuen, 1984 .
Marginson, S. "The economically rational individual." Arena 84 (1988):
Extra (on methodological individualism):
Burawoy, M. "Marxism without micro-foundations." Socialist Review
89 (2, 1989): 53-86 .
Burawoy, Michael. "Limits of Wright's Analytical Marxism and an Alternative."
Wright, Erik Olin. "Reply to Burawoy's comments on 'Reflections on
Classes'." Berkeley Journal of Sociology 32 (1987): 51-72 .
Lukes, Steven. "Methodological individualism reconsidered." In The
philosophy of social explanation, ed. A. Ryan. Pp. 119-129. Oxford: Oxford
University press, 1973.
Przeworski, A. "Class, production and politics: A reply to Burawoy."
Socialist Review 89 (2, 1989): 87-111.
Sober, Elliott, Andrew Levine, and Erik Olin Wright. "Marxism and
methodological individualism." New Left Review 162 (March/April, 1987):
Woods, Ellen. "Rational choice Marxism: Is the game worth the candle?" New
Left Review 177 (Sept/Oct 1989): 41-88 .
Wright, Erik Olin. "Reflections on Classes." Berkeley Journal
of Sociology XXXII (1987): 19-49 (see week 3)
Keller, Evelyn Fox. "Just what is so difficult about the concept
of gender as a social category." Social Studies of Science 19(1989):
Moore, James. "Darwin of Down: The evolutionist as squarson naturalist." In
The Darwinian Heritage, ed. D. Kohn. Pp. 435-481. Princeton, NJ:
Princeton University Press, 1985.
Richards, Evelleen and John Schuster. "The feminine method as myth and
accounting resource: A challenge to gender studies and social studies of
science." Social Studies of Science 19 (697-720, 1989):
Taylor, P.J. "Technocratic optimism, H.T. Odum and the partial transformation
of ecological metaphor after World War 2." Journal of the History of
Biology 21 (1988): 213-244.
Shapin, Steven. "Who was Robert Boyle? The creation and presentation of an
experimental self." (Manuscript,1991)
or (to be determined)
Shapin, S. (1993). "Personal development and intellectual biography: The case
of Robert Boyle." British Journal for the History of Science 26:
Young, Robert M. "Darwin and the genre of biography." In One Culture,
ed. G. Levine. Pp. 203-224. 1987.
Calhoun, Craig. "Morality, identity, and historical explanation: Charles
Taylor and the sources of the self." Sociological Theory 9 (2, 1991):
Sulloway, Frank. "Review of Bowlby's Charles Darwin: A new life,
New York Review of Books, Oct. 10, '91.
Young, Robert M. "Biography: The basic discipline for human science." Free
Associations 11 (1988): 108-130 .
11. Auto-biography and self-positioning
Collins, H. M. (1984). "Researching spoonbending: Concepts and practice
of participatory fieldwork," in C. Bell and H. Roberts (Eds.), Social
researching: Politics, problems, practice. London, Routledge & Kegan
Fischer, M. "Autobiographical voices (1,2,3) and mosaic memory."
Autobiography and Post-modernism. Ed. K. Ashley. 1992.
Haraway, Donna. "Situated knowledge: The science question in feminism and the
privilege of partial perspective." Feminist Studies 14 (3, 1988):
Hirschauer, Stefan. "The manufacture of bodies in surgery." Social Studies
of Science 21 (1991): 279-319 and his commentary on composing this paper
given at the 1991 meetings of the Society for Social Studies of Science
Kondo, D. K. (1990). "The eye/I," in Crafting selves: Power, gender, and
discourses of identity in a Japanese workplace. Chicago, University of
Chicago Press, 3-48.
Macleod, J. (1987). "Appendix," in Ain't no makin' it: leveled aspirations
in a low-income neighborhood. Boulder: Westview.
Robinson, S. (1984). "The Art of the Possible." Radical Science Journal
12. Social worlds & ecologies of knowledge
Clarke, Adele. "A social worlds research adventure: The case of
reproductive science." In Theories of science in society, ed. S. E.
Cozzens and T. F. Gieryn. Pp. 15-42. Bloominton: Indiana University Press, 1990
Rosenberg, C. "Wood or trees? Ideas and actors in the history of science."
Isis 79 (1988): 565-570.
Taylor, P. "Re/constructing socio-ecologies: Systems dynamic modeling of
nomadic pastoralists in sub-Saharan Africa." In The Right Tool for the Job:
At work in the twentieth century life sciences, ed. A. Clarke and J.
Fujimura. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992.
Taylor, P. J. (1995). "Building on construction: An exploration of
heterogeneous constructionism, using an analogy from psychology and a sketch
from socio-economic modeling." Perspectives on Science 3(1): 66-98 (see
Wolf, E. "Afterword." In Europe and People without History. Berkeley:
U. Calif. Press, 1982.
Lynch, William. "Arguments for a non-Whiggish hindsight: Counterfactuals and
the sociology of knowledge." Social Epistemology 3 (4, 1989): 361-365.
Lynch, William. "Politics in Hobbes' mechanics: The social as enabling."
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science (1991QQ):
Sørensen, Knut, and Nora Levold. "Tacit networks, heterogeneous
engineers, and embodied technology." STHV 17.1 (1992): 13-35.
Star, S. "Introduction: The sociology of science and technology." Social
Problems 35 (1988): 197-205 .
Taylor, P. J. (1993ms.). "Conceptual materials for building heterogeneous
constructionism in science studies." .
Taylor, P. J. (1994ms). "Heterogeneous constructionism as a challenge to
science studies and social theory." paper to Society for Social Studies of
Science, October 1994.
Taylor, P. J. (1995). "Co-construction and process: a response to Sismondo's
classification of constructivisms." Social Studies of Science 25:
Having reached a point where agents position themselves at the
intersection of diverse social worlds and mobilize heterogeneous resources, the
path splits for the last two weeks. We can give agency to non-humans (week 13)
or we can describe, analyze, and intervene the "unruly complexity" that results
from "intersecting processes" (week 14). In fact, if there were more weeks we
would examine the discursive reductions and hidden determinisms within
seemingly complex accounts of science as culture.
13A. Non-human agency
Latour, B. (1994). "On technical mediation -- Philosophy, Sociology,
Genealogy." Common Knowledge 3(2): 29-64.
Pickering, A. (1995). The Mangle of Practice: Time, Agency and
Science. Chicago, University of Chicago Press -- selection to be
Taylor, P. J. (1995ms.). "What's (not) inside the mind of scientific
agents: Implicit psychological models and social theory in the social studies
Downey, G. L., J. Dumit and S. Williams (1995). "Cyborg anthropology."
Cultural Anthropology 10(2): 264-269.
Latour, B. (1993). We have never been modern. Cambridge, MA, Harvard
University Press -- selection to be determined.
13B. Student presentations of drafts
Other students's drafts to be read in advance and commented on.
14. Unruly Complexity and Intersecting Processes
Fish, Stanley. "Anti-Foundationalism, Theory Hope, and the Teaching of
Composition." In Doing What Comes Naturally: Change, Rhetoric, and the
Practice of Theory in Literary and Legal Studies, ed. Stanley Fish. Pp.
343-355. Durham: Duke University Press, 1989.
Haraway, Donna. "Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist
Feminism in the 1980s." Socialist Review 80 (1985): 65-107.
Haraway, D. (1991). "The promises of monsters: A regenerative politics for
inappropriate/d others," in L. Grossberg, C. Nelson and P. A. Treichler (Eds.),
Cultural Studies. New York, Routledge, 295-337.
Haraway, D. J. (1996). "Mice into wormholes: A technoscience fugue in two
parts," in G. Downey, J. Dumit and S. Traweek (Eds.), Cyborgs and Citadels:
Anthropological Interventions on the Borderlands of Technoscience.
Seattle, University of Washington Press.
Taylor, Peter. "Mapping ecologists' ecologies of knowledge." In Philosophy
of Science 1990, Vol. 2: 95-109
Davis, Mike. "Chinatown, Part Two? The Internationalization of downtown
Los Angeles." New Left Review 164 (July/August, 1987): 65-86 .
Downey, G., J. Dumit and S. Traweek (1996). "Locating and intervening," in G.
Downey, J. Dumit and S. Traweek (Eds.), Cyborgs and Citadels:
Anthropological Interventions on the Borderlands of Technoscience.
Seattle, University of Washington Press.
Moore, Sally F. "Epilogue: From types to sequences: social change in
anthropology." In Social facts and fabrications: 'Customary law on
Kilimanjaro, 1880-1980. Pp. 320-329. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1986 .
Penley, Constance and Andrew Ross. "Cyborgs at large: Interview with Donna
Haraway." Social Text 25/25(1990): 8-23 & afterword from Penley
& Ross, Technoscience .
Taylor, P. J., S. Halfon and P. Edwards (1996ms). "Shifting positions for
knowing and intervening in the cultural politics of the life sciences," in P.
J. Taylor, S. Halfon and P. Edwards (Eds.), Changing Life.
Taylor, P. J. and C. E.London (1995ms.). "Re/constructing agency (and other
important things) in the diagramming of social-natural relations."
Unger, Roberto Mangabeira. "Nature and Intentions of the Argument: Explanatory
and Programmatic Themes." In False Necessity: Anti-Necessitarian Social
Theory in the Service of Radical Democracy, Pp. 1-41. Part I. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1987 .
Yurick, Sol. Behold metatron, the recording angel. New York: