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.
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.