Description: This collection of essays and reviews explores the current thinking about the social psychology of science. At issue is the question, "What really drives science?"
Purpose: The purpose is to expand the understanding of the forces that produce science, stepping beyond the overused tenets of cognitive psychology to emphasize the social and situational aspects of knowledge production. The authors succeed in collecting some of the best minds in the area into a single readable volume.
Audience: Although the stated audience for this book is the broad spectrum of social science practitioners, the volume will be of more interest to social science graduate students and academics interested in the philosophy of science. It is a book for those who want to understand the big picture, not day-to-day practice.
Features: Given the conceptual nature of the subject matter, it is not surprising that the book contains no color and few black-and-white illustrations. The book has a decidedly professional quality and is well supported by current reference citations. The annotated reading list in the back of the book is an added attraction.
Assessment: Like many edited volumes, the book is uneven in terms of the intellectual quality of the presentation. Although a number of the contributors are leaders in their fields and are able to share with the reader a valuable overview, other contributors seem caught up with esoteric points. The book is at its best when discussing theoretical issues, but fails expectations when trying to detail the practical implications of those theories. A good summary chapter is needed to elevate the work from a collection of essays to an integrated statement of a perspective.