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Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society
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Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  410 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Science and technology have immense authority and influence in our society, yet their working remains little understood. The conventional perception of science in Western societies has been modified in recent years by the work of philosophers, sociologists and historians of science. In this book Bruno Latour brings together these different approaches to provide a lively an ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 15th 1988 by Harvard University Press (first published 1987)
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Joichi Ito
Feb 01, 2009 Joichi Ito rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
One of my favorite books.

It approaches the process of the progress of science and the development of "facts" from the human and social perspective. Latour starts out the book by chronicling the discovery of DNA and the development of the Eclipse MV/8000 computer. He shows how "facts" are black boxes that become fact through a process of competition that involves building networks of references until people start to refer to your theory as a fact and use it to build their facts. In fact, black bo
...more
Данило Судин
Книга Бруно Латура не є звичайною працею з соціології науки. Та й до соціології науки її цілком не зарахувати. Чимось вона нагадує Społeczne tworzenie rzeczywistości: Traktat z socjologii wiedzy П.Бергера та Т.Лукмана: наче й про соціологію знання, але більше - про соціальну реальність як таку. Так само і праця Б.Латура.

1. Чому ця праця не є звичайною роботою з соціології знання чи науки. Як не дивно, але більше про це Б.Латур пише в своїй книзі Nigdy nie byliśmy nowocześni. Studium z antropolog
...more
Gergely
Mar 09, 2008 Gergely rated it really liked it
A seminal work on the way in which scientists construct facts. Latour develops an account of a complex process that entangles the personal and political investments of the scientist, interactions among other (often competing) scientists, the influence of funding agencies and other institutions, the intellectual convictions of the scientist, and the technical dance between the scientist and the apparatus from which scientific findings must emerge.

This last interaction is the focus of Latour's the
...more
Melissa
Jun 01, 2007 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: socialsciences
An intriguing concept that for some people is tantamount to sacrilege: the social construction of science. Latour's take on the sociology of science is a topic that is controversial to even teach in some universities due to the unpopular idea that science is no more above social influence than anything else. Latour challenges the Baconian method of teaching science, asserting that nothing in science, even the "black boxes," are as pure and clear cut as we are led to believe. Latour uses many exa ...more
Theresa Sl
Feb 06, 2014 Theresa Sl rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
First off, this book is written very well in a creative sense, a skill that is often lacking in academic texts. Latour writes with wit and poses interesting anecdotes, keeping the reader very engaged while retaining a rigid structure guided by the methods and principles of Science in Action.

Latour shows that truth and Nature are not absolute, as they need a representant in our social world. This representation is science and fact, for which Latour through the multiple social processes that cons
...more
Michael Burnam-Fink
Jun 17, 2012 Michael Burnam-Fink rated it it was amazing
Shelves: academic, 2012, sts
Science in Action is one of the most influential books in STS, and for good reason. Actor Network Theory as laid out here is a powerful description of how scientists make claims about reality, using technical rhetoric to shift claims between 'true' facts and 'falsified' artefacts. Latour moves smoothly from the level of the scientific paper, to researchers, labs, disciplines, and the immense network of technoscience that girdles and organizes the world. Rarely is a theory so useful at every scal ...more
Julio César
May 10, 2014 Julio César rated it it was amazing
Latour's book is a full research program in its own style. His chain of thoughts is so well developed that you don't feel lost at any point of an absolutely magnificent journey. It can be a little dense, though, specially for people who are not familiarised with the "hard sciences" vocabulary. A modern classic which every reader interested in science and the manufacture of knowledge should read.
Karpur Shukla
Mar 06, 2015 Karpur Shukla rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
Perhaps some day Prof. Latour will 1.) understand the difference between the philosophy of science and the sociology of science departments, and 2.) be able to construct a sociology report that could get at least a passing grade in an introductory sociology course. Unfortunately, neither of these came before he finished writing this book.
Dave Peticolas
May 10, 2014 Dave Peticolas rated it really liked it

A comprehensive analysis of science and technology as they are practiced and a guide for further research. Latour's thesis, well-defended, is that science consists of evolving networks of marshalled resources including not only publications and laboratory research, but also whole societies, cultures, and bureaucracies.

Robert
Sep 15, 2009 Robert marked it as to-read
trying to do some of this Bruno Latour SSS/STS ("social studies of science", or "Science and Technology Studies") stuff. I actually like "We Have Never Been Modern" quite a bit, so I'll have to put this one away for a rainy day.
Gwilym
Sep 05, 2008 Gwilym rated it liked it
wasn't sure what I'd think about this one, and still not very sure. He's a talented writer, but it seems a bit 'discursive' at times. Perhaps a little bit dated now? But more up to date than Kuhn and Popper I'd say.
Michael
Sep 13, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
His programmatic statements pale in comparison to his empirical work. Latour should never have written this book. It isn't bad, but now everyone cites it when they need "Latour" and avoids his more daring and rewarding work.
André Holanda
Aug 26, 2011 André Holanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Análise da Ciência no seu processo de construção dos fatos científicos a partir de experimentos, erroneamente considerado como a-realista, na verdade a perspectiva de Latour é realista E "construtivista".
Nick Mather
In many ways the successor to Thomas Kuhn's work, Latour demonstrates how science actually works and how scientific facts are largely a community contruction, challenging the notion of a detached, value free science.
Jessica Zu
May 24, 2015 Jessica Zu rated it it was amazing
a master piece!
Jean
Dec 06, 2007 Jean rated it really liked it
In my brief foray into the culture of science, this was the least obtuse book on this subject. (and i enjoyed it, too)
Morgan
Dec 02, 2008 Morgan rated it liked it
Really excellent illustrations- seriously, and an engaging use of examples/stories to outline Latour's methods for studying science before it is blackboxed.
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Bruno Latour is a French sociologist of science and anthropologist and an influential theorist in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). After teaching at the École des Mines de Paris (Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation) from 1982 to 2006, he is now Professor and vice-president for research at Sciences Po Paris (2007), where he is associated with the Centre de sociologie des organisa ...more
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