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The New Political Sociology of Science

Institutions, Networks, and Power

Edited by Scott Frickel and Kelly Moore

Publication Year: 2006

In the twenty-first century, the production and use of scientific knowledge is more regulated, commercialized, and participatory than at any other time in history. The stakes in understanding these changes are high for scientist and nonscientist alike: they challenge traditional ideas of intellectual work and property and have the potential to remake legal and professional boundaries and transform the practice of research. A critical examination of the structures of power and inequality these changes hinge upon, this book explores the implications for human health, democratic society, and the environment.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

Many edited volumes begin life as a set of conference papers that get revised, edited, bundled together, and presented to readers as an organic product, the outcome of scholarly debate and synthesis. This collection is not one of those. It arose from our conversations with Daniel Kleinman about the structural inequalities flowing from globalization and...

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pp. ix

Many people deserve our sincere thanks in pulling this volume together, not least our contributors. We thank them all for their contributions and cooperation in abiding by the fairly strict set of deadlines we imposed on them between the project’s first and final drafts. At the University of Wisconsin Press, series editors Daniel Kleinman and Jo Handelsman...

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1. Prospects and Challenges for a New Political Sociology of Science

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pp. 3-31

This chapter and the volume it introduces may be read as a scholarly response to contemporary politics in historical context. It maps a research program for sociologists and others concerned about the political impacts of recent transformations in market and regulatory arrangements on the development and use of scientific knowledge, and on scientific...

I. The Commercialization of Science

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2. Contradiction in Convergence: Universities and Industry in the Biotechnology Field

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pp. 35-62

Understanding the emerging knowledge economy should be a central concern of science and technology studies. In this chapter, we hope to contribute to that understanding and to simultaneously illustrate the virtues of a broadly organizational and institutional approach to the study of what Pierre Bourdieu called the “scientific field.” We focus on what...

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3. Commercial Imbroglios: Proprietary Science and the Contemporary University

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pp. 63-90

The last thirty years have witnessed dramatic increases in the depth and variance of university involvement in commerce. Academic institutions play more complicated commercial roles than ever before. University endeavors range from the prosecution and marketing of intellectual property, to active venture capital investment, to intimate in-...

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4. Commercial Restructuring of Collective Resources in Agrofood Systems of Innovation

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pp. 91-121

Network organization has become widely recognized as important to research, policy, and practice. The network perspective, at its core, is relational. Explicit focus on relations between actors invites analysis of institutions, defined here as social, cognitive, and material structures that constrain and enable interactions and resource transfers among actors.

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5. Antiangiogenesis Research and the Dynamics of Scientific Fields: Historical and Institutional Perspectives in the Sociology of Science

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pp. 122-147

In 1958 a Harvard Medical School student named Judah Folkman worked with an MIT engineer to develop an implantable pacemaker. Because the medical school did not seek patents at that time, the two researchers published the results and left the product in the public domain for firms to commercialize (Cooke 2001:37, Folkman and Watkins 1957).

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6. Nanoscience, Green Chemistry, and the Privileged Position of Science

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pp. 148-181

This chapter compares two cases of forefront science. The first, nanoscience, is a classic hot research arena: scientists rush into each niche as soon as it opens; conferences and professional publications buzz with the latest results; pundits offer glowing predictions of benefits to environment, world hunger, and medicine; government officials generously...

II. Science and Social Movements

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7. When Convention Becomes Contentious: Organizing Science Activism in Genetic Toxicology

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pp. 185-214

In the political history of U.S. environmentalism, 1969 stands as a year of pivotal institutional expansion and reform. The federal government initiated a series of highly visible policy actions addressing the biological and ecological impacts of synthetic environmental chemicals. Chief among them, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) man-...

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8. Changing Ecologies: Science and Environmental Politics in Agriculture

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pp. 215-243

What does it take to make a change? Applied science, by definition, is meant to change things in the world, but is science an appropriate and practical mode of social change? This is a pressing question for agricultural science, an area of research that, over the past century, has contributed to radical changes in how food is produced, but at the same...

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9. Embodied Health Movements: Responses to a “Scientized” World

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pp. 244-271

Historically, health social movements (HSMs) have been an important political force in the United States, specifically around issues of health access and quality of care. Previous research has focused on individual cases of health social movements; elsewhere we consider them as a collective group that has been critical for promoting social change (Brown,...

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10. Strategies for Alternative Science

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pp. 272-298

Professor Smith, to his class: This semester we’ve been looking at cultural contradictions of science, including contradictory popular images of science as liberator and science as oppressor, contradictory views of scientific research as autonomous and as socially determined, and contradictory conceptualizations of scientific practice as formal method...

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11. Powered by the People: Scientific Authority in Participatory Science

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pp. 299-323

Over the past three decades, nonscientists have become more involved in the design, production, and use of science. To be sure, professional scientists still create the vast majority of scientific knowledge. Yet there is an unmistakable increase in the types and levels of nonscientist participation in scientific knowledge production and science policy decisions.

III. Science and the Regulatory State

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12. Institutionalizing the New Politics of Difference in U.S. Biomedical Research: Thinking across the Science/State/Society Divides

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pp. 327-350

In this chapter I describe a recent wave of reforms in biomedical knowledge production and pharmaceutical drug development in the United States. The reforms affect how researchers go about designing clinical studies, with downstream consequences for the medical care that all of us receive. More abstractly, they influence how matters such as citizen-...

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13. Creating Participatory Subjects: Science, Race, and Democracy in a Genomic Age

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pp. 351-377

In April of 1993, Kenneth M. Weiss, molecular anthropologist and incoming chair of the North American Regional Committee (NAmC) of the Human Genome Diversity Project, explained in a letter to the U.S. Congress: The National Institutes mandates affirmative action in all of its research grants, to ensure that all of our nation’s people are served by the research...

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14. On Consensus and Voting in Science: From Asilomar to the National Toxicology Program

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pp. 378-404

“You can’t vote to repeal the law of gravity!” is a trump card that defenders of the scientific establishment play when battling critics who would open science up to more democratic impulses. What the former imply by this claim is that the existence of any particular scientific truth is independent of the collective will of even democratic politics. Cou-...

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15. Learning to Reflect or Deflect?: U.S. Policies and Graduate Programs’ Ethics Training for Life Scientists

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pp. 405-431

During a family vacation to Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2003, I visited a new Smithsonian exhibit entitled “Genome: The Secret of How Life Works.” To enter the exhibit, prominently sponsored by the drug company Pfizer, the museumgoer is directed into a narrow passageway that tells “the story of you.” At the first turn, a large-sized pic-...

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16. Regulatory Shifts, Pharmaceutical Scripts, and the New Consumption Junction: Configuring High-Risk Women in an Era of Chemoprevention

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pp. 432-460

On April 6, 1998, the directors of the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast Cancer and Bowel Project (NSABP) called a press conference to announce that they were terminating the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (NSABP) fourteen months ahead of schedule because interim results...


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pp. 461-466


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pp. 467-487

E-ISBN-13: 9780299213336
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299213305

Publication Year: 2006