Improper Instrument for Criticizing Science

Science as Politics. Les Levidow, ed. Free Association Books, London, 1986. 180 pp. £5.95. The last 20 years have seen the flowering of literally dozens of different political critiques of science and technology. The majority have had their roots in the late-1960s movement for social responsibility in science. Most have been broadly left of the political center, and most (but not all, as the continuing strength of the environmental movement amply testifies) have had almost no discernible in

John Durant
May 3, 1987
Science as Politics. Les Levidow, ed. Free Association Books, London, 1986. 180 pp. £5.95.


The last 20 years have seen the flowering of literally dozens of different political critiques of science and technology. The majority have had their roots in the late-1960s movement for social responsibility in science. Most have been broadly left of the political center, and most (but not all, as the continuing strength of the environmental movement amply testifies) have had almost no discernible influence on the conduct of science and technology.

For more than a decade, the Radical Science Journal has been developing a distinctive kind of Marxist science criticism. Setting out from the remarkable thesis that modern science is an intrinsically capitalist enterprise (remarkable because, of course, Marx described his own political philosophy as "scientific socialism"), the radical science collective has moved through a form of labor process theory to the view that, in the...