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Science of Science and Reflexivity

  • ID: 2250494
  • Book
  • September 2004
  • 168 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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One of the world s leading social thinkers, Bourdieu s work has become increasingly influential throughout the social sciences and humanities. In this new book he embarks on a sociological analysis of science and its legitimacy.

Bourdieu argues that that emergence of the social sciences has had the effect of calling in to question the objectivity and validity of scientific activity, by relating it to its historic conditions. It is this relativistic and at times nihilistic interpretation of science that Bourdieu sets out to challenge, in an attempt to combine an accurate vision of the scientific arena with a realist theory of knowledge. The book also offers an elaboration of Bourdieu s notion of the scientific field and uses it to address a range of issues and debates in the natural and social sciences.

This is a clear and accessible introduction to Bourdieu s views on science that will appeal to students of sociology, philosophy and the social sciences.

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I. The state of the question.

1. An enchanted vision.

2. Normal science and scientific revolutions.

3. The strong programme .

4. A well–kept open secret.

II. A world apart.

1. The craft of the scientist.

2. Autonomy and the conditions of entry.

3. Scientific capital, its forms and distribution.

4. A regulated struggle.

5. History and truth.

III. Why the social sciences must take themselves as their object.

1. Objectivating the subject of objectivation.

2. Sketch for a self–analysis.



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′Bourdieu′s ideas are more accessible in his lectures and interviews, and this book, consisting as it does of the final lecture course given by the author at the College de France, is relatively easy going. It is made livelier still by the asides inserted by the author whilst preparing the lectures for publication – they serve, rather like Goffman′s footnotes, to draw one′s attention to unlikely and therefore stimulating comparisons.′

The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

′It is a book that embodies well both the very apparant strengths and some of the more hidden weaknesses of the sociological, ethical and political positions he developed and advocated in the last decade of his life. (T)he book is a valuable record of mature ideas of a major intellectual. It is an invigorating and sometimes even amusing read.′

European Journal of Social Theory

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