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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2020

6. The contribution of laboratory studies, science studies and Science and Technology Studies (STS) to the understanding of scientific communication

Gábor Á. Zemplén


During their development, science studies fused the interest in large-scale structures, in temporally extended, often quantitative analysis of scientific communication with in situ observation of scientists and the analysis of their discourse. The chapter overviews the developments in macrosociological and scientometric research as well as in microsociology and anthropology studying laboratory communication. Both internal and external communication is discussed, as is a selection of technocratic and critical strands of the heterogeneous field. Science studies could keep up with new techniques generating, circulating and evaluating scientific content. Overviews of research foci (the journal article, controversies, boundary-work) and methodological debates (over the units of analysis and the use of quantitative methods) link the historical development of the field to current areas of interest and challenges to knowledge structures (open science, platform capitalism). The bulk of the chapter is on constructivist case studies that relate discourse analysis to the patterns of research and the networks of power. The increasing focus of the research field on the citizen, the recipient and user of science is evident, as is its responsiveness to normative challenges resulting from technological and social change.

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