Science, Culture and Society: Understanding Science in the 21st Century
September 2005, Polity
Science, Culture and Society attempts to redress this knowledge gap and to provide an alternative framework for making sense of science. The book addresses key questions of what science is and how it is carried out, what the relationship between science and society is, how science is represented in contemporary culture, and how scientific institutions are structured. Drawing on methods from cultural studies and sociology the book locates science in a social and cultural perspective and provides a wide-ranging introduction to the social and cultural dimensions of science.
Designed as a primary text for undergraduates at all levels it will be key reading on courses in the sociology of science, cultural studies of science and technology, philosophy of science, and science and technology studies.
List of Illustrations.
Part I - Language, Art and Science.
1. Paolozzi and Faraday: Science and Art.
Part II Doing Science.
2. In the Laboratory.
3. Scientific Knowledge.
5. Scientists and Scientific Communities.
Part III Representing Science.
6. Popular Science Books.
7. Science Fiction.
Part IV Living with Science.
8. Investigating Science in a Cultural Framework.
- Easily accessible textbook that addresses key questions about
science, and the relationship between science, culture and
- Explains clearly the central social theoretical and
philosophical approaches to science.
- Provides a cogent and stimulating explanation of key scientific
theories, such as genetic engineering, and uses a wide range of
lively examples of science in a cultural context.
- Designed as a primary text for undergraduate courses in the sociology of science, cultural studies of science and technology, philosophy of science, and science and technology courses.
"What is notable about this book is not only that it covers the
ground that you would expect in an undergraduate text book with
this title, but that it also makes a sustained argument."
New Genetics and Society
"Erickson's examination of the ways in which science is
represented within culture is compelling and his argument for the
inclusion of analyses of science fiction within STS is both
refreshing and convincing. His advice on how students might go
about completing a small research project in the cultural studies
of science will be particularly useful."
"Science and technology studies is a field that claims many
disciplinary allegiances and areas of substantive concern. Mark
Erickson's Science, Culture, Culture and Society is the
first textbook to provide an entry point into all of them. Whether
you're classically trained in history, philosophy or sociology, on
the one hand, or someone with a background in science, technology
or art, on the other hand, or even simply a fan of science fiction,
you will be invited to see your field with fresh eyes from
perspectives that are bound to increase in significance in the
Steve Fuller, University of Warwick
"This is fresh, vivid look at science as a process and a social
system. Erickson has brilliantly redrawn the map of science studies
to encompass art, philosophy, popular culture, science fiction and
sociology. He is right on target when he identifies science as
profoundly dispersed, unfolding across multiple domains, and
engaging not only with the laboratory but also with the mass media,
trash fiction, high theoretical philosophy and Congressional
hearings. Vonnegut, Paolozzi, William Gibson, the Terminator, and
Richard Feyman join Fleck, Kuhn, Popper, Latour and other standard
characters in science studies in this clear-eyed exploration of the
state of the field. In the process Erickson illuminates the
powerful networks of knowledge production that reflect
twenty-first-century, in all its uncertainty and hopefulness. This
accessible and engaging book should be required reading for every
undergraduate, or for anyone who has to make their way through the
forms of life that constitute science in culture."
Susan Lindee, University of Pennsylvania
"Erickson has a gift for explaining complex philosophical ideas
in accessible terms without doing damage to them. This lively,
readable book does a fine job of demystifying science while
introducing the reader to key ideas in the important new field of
science studies. In an era where our lives are increasingly
dominated by science and technology, this is an indispensable
introduction to an exciting set of ideas."
Hugh Gusterson, MIT