Cultural Boundaries Of Science: Credibility on the Line

Paperback | January 15, 1999

byThomas F. Gieryn

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Why is science so credible? Usual answers center on scientists' objective methods or their powerful instruments. In his new book, Thomas Gieryn argues that a better explanation for the cultural authority of science lies downstream, when scientific claims leave laboratories and enter courtrooms, boardrooms, and living rooms. On such occasions, we use "maps" to decide who to believe—cultural maps demarcating "science" from pseudoscience, ideology, faith, or nonsense.

Gieryn looks at episodes of boundary-work: Was phrenology good science? How about cold fusion? Is social science really scientific? Is organic farming? After centuries of disputes like these, Gieryn finds no stable criteria that absolutely distinguish science from non-science. Science remains a pliable cultural space, flexibly reshaped to claim credibility for some beliefs while denying it to others. In a timely epilogue, Gieryn finds this same controversy at the heart of the raging "science wars."




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Science is credible because of its use of objective methods and powerful instruments. Thomas F. Gieryn states in Cultural Boundaries of Science: Credibility on the Line that science doesn’t ultimately prove itself until it enters courtrooms, boardrooms and living rooms. Science is arguably the greatest measuring stick we have to gauge ...

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Why is science so credible? Usual answers center on scientists' objective methods or their powerful instruments. In his new book, Thomas Gieryn argues that a better explanation for the cultural authority of science lies downstream, when scientific claims leave laboratories and enter courtrooms, boardrooms, and living rooms. On such occ...

Thomas F. Gieryn is professor of sociology at Indiana University. He is the editor of three books, most recently of Theories of Science in Society.

other books by Thomas F. Gieryn

Format:PaperbackDimensions:412 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:January 15, 1999Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226292622

ISBN - 13:9780226292625

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Contesting Credibility Cartographically
1. John Tyndall's Double Boundary-Work: Science, Religion, and Mechanics in Victorian England
2. The U.S. Congress Demarcates Natural Science and Social Science (Twice)
3. May the Best Science Win: Competition for the Chair of Logic and Metaphysics at the University of Edinburgh, 1836
4. The (Cold) Fusion of Science, Mass Media, and Politics
5. Hybridizing Credibilities: Albert and Gabrielle Howard Compost Organic Waste, Science, and the Rest of Society
Epilogue: Home to Roost: "Science Wars" as Boundary-Work
Bibliography of Secondary Works
Index

From Our Editors

Science is credible because of its use of objective methods and powerful instruments. Thomas F. Gieryn states in Cultural Boundaries of Science: Credibility on the Line that science doesn’t ultimately prove itself until it enters courtrooms, boardrooms and living rooms. Science is arguably the greatest measuring stick we have to gauge truth.