By Alan Irwin, Brian Wynne
False impression technology? deals a demanding new viewpoint at the public realizing of technological know-how. In so doing, it additionally demanding situations present rules of the character of technology and its relationships with society. Its research and case presentation are hugely suitable to present issues over the uptake, authority, and effectiveness of technology as expressed, for instance, in components corresponding to schooling, medical/health perform, danger and the surroundings, technological innovation. in keeping with a number of in-depth case-studies, and educated theoretically via the sociology of medical wisdom, the booklet indicates how the general public realizing of technological know-how questions increases problems with the epistemic commitments and institutional buildings which represent sleek technology. It means that some of the inadequacies within the social integration and uptake of technological know-how can be triumph over if smooth medical associations have been extra reflexive and open concerning the implicit normative commitments embedded in medical cultures.
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Extra resources for Misunderstanding Science?: The Public Reconstruction of Science and Technology
In any case the typical scientific idiom of certainty and control was culturally discordant with the farmers, whose whole cultural ethos routinely accepted uncertainty and the need for flexible adaptation rather than prediction and control. The structure of the scientific knowledge in play also embodied and, in effect, prescribed a particular social construct of the farmers (Wynne 1992). To summarise this analysis, the degree of certainty expressed in scientific statements denied the ability of the farmers to cope with ignorance and lack of control: and the degree of standardisation and aggregation of the scientific knowledge, for example the spatial units of variation of variables such as caesium contamination, denied the differences between farms, even in a single valley (and even within the same farm).
The farmers drew similar conclusions from MAFF's response to their requests for pre-Chernobyl caesium data on the fell-top vegetation, soils, and sheep; they asked for these in order to test MAFF's assertion that there had been no significant contamination before Chernobyl. However, MAFF's reply was to refer first to an official document which contained only post-Chernobyl data (MAFF 1987), and then to data which included pre-1986 monitoring on the lowland coastal strip, but still no fell-top data.
This expertise was not codified anywhere: it was passed down orally and by apprenticeship from one generation to the next, as a craft tradition, reinforced in the culture of the area. The impact of the scientists' hegemonistic cultural orientation on their general credibility showed itself repeatedly: There was the official who said he expected levels would go down when the sheep were being fed on imported foodstuffs, and he mentioned straw. I've never heard of a sheep that would even look at straw as fodder.