OBSTACLE COURSE: Former 4S president Sal Restivo fears downsizing more than science wars.
Science and technology studies (STS), and their attempts to explain science by social constructs such as language and culture, have given sociologists of science new opportunities for teaching and research. However, STS is viewed by many natural scientists as a dangerous attack on rationality and truth, and not worthy of academic legitimacy. The "science wars" that have arisen between STS's critics and defenders have left science sociologists concerned about the future of the field.

Traditional sociology of science was pioneered by Robert K. Merton, now a University Professor, emeritus, at Columbia University, in the 1930s. It examines the structure of scientific institutions and organizations and the demographic issues of science, such as the makeup of the scientific community. Researchers in more recently established STS programs take those studies further; they apply history, sociology, philosophy, and politics to...

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