Abstract

This paper seeks to contribute to the development of a sociological understanding of scientific change. It first presents a conceptual framework for defining and understanding the conditions that give rise to episodes of cumulative change (both as the selective reconstruction of events and as the patterned structuring of innovations over time and across different settings). It argues that one of the most powerful structuring mechanisms is the existence of standardized research technologies. Then, the development of electroencephalography (EEG) is presented as an illustrative case study. The EEG supported a dramatic episode of development in brain science, and did so primarily through technological standardization and reliability. The case shows how standard and manipulable technologies provide a framework for orderly change both in retrospective accounts and in specific historical periods of scientific practice.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9274
Print ISSN
1063-6145
Pages
pp. 55-85
Launched on MUSE
2004-04-16
Open Access
No
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