Science - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Sociology

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Science

Sociologists of science study the social organization of science, the relationships between science and other social institutions, social influences on the content of scientific knowledge, and public policy regarding science. The definition of the term "science" is problematic. Science can refer to a changing body of shared knowledge about nature or to the methods used to obtain that knowledge; in that form, science has existed for millennia. Research on "indigenous scientific knowledge" is reviewed in Watson-Verran and Turnbull (1995). Sociologists of science are more likely to define science in institutional terms, and most research in that area studies those who work in differentiated social institutions. The "demarcation" problem of distinguishing between science and nonscience persists. Gieryn (1995, 1998) argues that scientists and their advocates continually engage in contested "boundary work" to demarcate science. He discusses the rhetorical and organizational devices used in those contests; thus, scientists are likely to emphasize the...

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This section contains 5,144 words
(approx. 18 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Science Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Sociology
Science from Encyclopedia of Sociology. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.