States of Knowledge: The Co-Production of Science and Social Order

By Sheila Jasanoff | Go to book overview
Save to active project

1

The idiom of co-production

Sheila Jasanoff

Science and technology permeate the culture and politics of modernity. On any day, the headline news provides crude but telling indicators of their influence. A Martian ethnographer visiting planet Earth in the first few years of the third millennium would have encountered a bewildering array of stories whose only discernible connection would have been the pervasive - though perversely inconsistent - role of science and technology in human affairs. The millennium opened with false fears of the so-called Y2K bug that might have made computer systems throughout the world crash at midnight, when 1999 rotated into 2000. In 2001, the seemingly well regulated technological system of American civil aviation was ferociously turned upon itself by young Islamic militants, who not only destroyed New York's tallest buildings, the twin towers of the World Trade Center, but used planes to expose unsuspected vulnerabilities at the heart of US domestic security. In retaliation, the United States launched two militarily successful wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, demonstrating that the advent of “smart weapons” had radically altered the dynamics of battle since the Vietnam era; by the official end of the Iraq invasion, some US observers even wondered (in a luxury permitted only to winners) whether modern warfare any longer needed human bodies on the front lines. Early 2003 also saw the loss of the US space shuttle Columbia with seven crew members, underlining again the fragility of manned space exploration. Behind the dramatic disasters and the violence of terrorism and war, ordinary human attempts to master nature proceeded at slower rhythms, as societies debated how to manage global climate change, AIDS, and other epidemic diseases; how to solve problems of clean water and renewable energy; how to improve crop yields without endangering farmers' livelihoods; how to treat the ancient infirmities of aging, infertility, mental illness, and disease; and how to stave off death itself.

Yet, in analyzing many of the defining phenomena of human history - those arising at the nexus of science, technology, culture and power - large segments of the social sciences seem almost to retreat into a conspiracy of silence. In a world increasingly driven by the market's logic, and by the discovery of knowledge as a resource, neoclassical economics and rational choice models have sought to explain why firms innovate and how governments can steer research and development for higher productivity (Branscomb and Keller 1998; also see Rosenberg

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
States of Knowledge: The Co-Production of Science and Social Order
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 323

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?