Science, Culture and Society: Understanding Science in the 21st Century / Edition 1

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What is science? Science, Culture and Society tackles this difficult question. We used to be quite certain about science, and science used to be quite certain about the world: it was the form of knowledge and set of practical activities that would allow us to unravel the 'mysteries of creation' and the 'laws of nature'. Yet despite the important contribution made by science to today's knowledge economies and knowledge societies, it is considered by many to be remote, and even dangerous. As science becomes more important, we have less understanding of what science actually is.

Science, Culture and Society attempts to redress this knowledge gap and to provide an alternative framework for making sense of science. The book addresses key questions of what science is and how it is carried out, what the relationship between science and society is, how science is represented in contemporary culture, and how scientific institutions are structured. Drawing on methods from cultural studies and sociology the book locates science in a social and cultural perspective and provides a wide-ranging introduction to the social and cultural dimensions of science.

Designed as a primary text for undergraduates at all levels it will be key reading on courses in the sociology of science, cultural studies of science and technology, philosophy of science, and science and technology studies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A timely, accessible and engagingly written overview of theinterdependence between 'formal' scientific practice and knowledgeand wider social and cultural representations of science."

"What is notable about this book is not only that it covers theground that you would expect in an undergraduate text book withthis title, but that it also makes a sustained argument."
New Genetics and Society

"Erickson's examination of the ways in which science isrepresented within culture is compelling and his argument for theinclusion of analyses of science fiction within STS is bothrefreshing and convincing. His advice on how students might goabout completing a small research project in the cultural studiesof science will be particularly useful."
BSA Network

"Science and technology studies is a field that claims manydisciplinary allegiances and areas of substantive concern. MarkErickson's Science, Culture, Culture and Society is thefirst textbook to provide an entry point into all of them. Whetheryou're classically trained in history, philosophy or sociology, onthe one hand, or someone with a background in science, technologyor art, on the other hand, or even simply a fan of science fiction,you will be invited to see your field with fresh eyes fromperspectives that are bound to increase in significance in thecoming years."
Steve Fuller, University of Warwick

"This is fresh, vivid look at science as a process and a socialsystem. Erickson has brilliantly redrawn the map of science studiesto encompass art, philosophy, popular culture, science fiction andsociology. He is right on target when he identifies science asprofoundly dispersed, unfolding across multiple domains, andengaging not only with the laboratory but also with the mass media,trash fiction, high theoretical philosophy and Congressionalhearings. Vonnegut, Paolozzi, William Gibson, the Terminator, andRichard Feyman join Fleck, Kuhn, Popper, Latour and other standardcharacters in science studies in this clear-eyed exploration of thestate of the field. In the process Erickson illuminates thepowerful networks of knowledge production that reflecttwenty-first-century, in all its uncertainty and hopefulness. Thisaccessible and engaging book should be required reading for everyundergraduate, or for anyone who has to make their way through theforms of life that constitute science in culture."
Susan Lindee, University of Pennsylvania

"Erickson has a gift for explaining complex philosophical ideasin accessible terms without doing damage to them. This lively,readable book does a fine job of demystifying science whileintroducing the reader to key ideas in the important new field ofscience studies. In an era where our lives are increasinglydominated by science and technology, this is an indispensableintroduction to an exciting set of ideas."
Hugh Gusterson, MIT

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745629742
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/3/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 0.63 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Erickson, is Senior Lecturer in Sociology, School of Applied Social Science, University of Brighton.

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Table of Contents

List of Boxes.

List of Illustrations.



Part I - Language, Art and Science.

1. Paolozzi and Faraday: Science and Art.

Part II Doing Science.

2. In the Laboratory.

3. Scientific Knowledge.

4. History.

5. Scientists and Scientific Communities.

Part III Representing Science.

6. Popular Science Books.

7. Science Fiction.

Part IV Living with Science.

8. Investigating Science in a Cultural Framework.



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