STS 662 Science and Social Theory Spring 1996

Peter Taylor
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.

Course description

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.

Course goals

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 discussion.
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,, two questions that they would like discussed.
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 below.).
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
Outline 3/12
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 4/30.


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 reflection/discussion provocations.

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 copyright permissions).

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 that determination.

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 Press.

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, 73-101.

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): 1-70.

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, 10-24, 246-247.

Sewell, W. H. (1992). "A theory of structure: Duality, agency and transformation." American Journal of Sociology 98: 1-29.

Recommended :
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, 1983.
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 first):
Latour, B. Science in Action. Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1987.

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.

9. Individuality
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): 105-114 .

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): 67-84.

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)

10. Biography

Keller, Evelyn Fox. "Just what is so difficult about the concept of gender as a social category." Social Studies of Science 19(1989): 721-724..

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: 335-345.

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): 232-263 .

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 Paul, 54-69.

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): 575-599.

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 (ms.).

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 15: 122-148.

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 week 4)

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: 348-359.

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 determined.

Taylor, P. J. (1995ms.). "What's (not) inside the mind of scientific agents: Implicit psychological models and social theory in the social studies of science."

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: Semiotext(e), 1985