Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, 1986 - Science - 294 pages
8 Reviews

This highly original work presents laboratory science in a deliberately skeptical way: as an anthropological approach to the culture of the scientist. Drawing on recent work in literary criticism, the authors study how the social world of the laboratory produces papers and other "texts,"' and how the scientific vision of reality becomes that set of statements considered, for the time being, too expensive to change. The book is based on field work done by Bruno Latour in Roger Guillemin's laboratory at the Salk Institute and provides an important link between the sociology of modern sciences and laboratory studies in the history of science.

  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4
4 stars
2
3 stars
1
2 stars
1
1 star
0

Review: Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts

User Review  - Yoon Lai Yee - Goodreads

I read the book and did my book review on it as my assignment for a paper in my Ph.D in Science Education programme. Eye opening and interesting to read. Gain new insights! Read full review

Review: Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts

User Review  - Robert Campbell - Goodreads

The essential first text for anyone interested in qualitative studies of science and technology. Read full review

Contents

FROM ORDER TO DISORDER
15
The Observer and the Scientist
19
A Participants Resource
21
The Observers Dilemma
23
The Anthropology of Science
27
The Construction of Order
33
Materials and Methods
39
The Organisation of the Argument
40
The Construction and Dismantling of Facts in Conversation
154
The Sociological Analysis of Thought Processes
168
Facts and Artefacts
174
Notes
184
CYCLES OF CREDIT
187
Reward and Credibility
189
Limitations of the Notion of Credit as Reward
192
The Quest for Crdibility
194

Notes
42
AN ANTHROPOLOGIST VISITS THE LABORATORY
43
Literary Inscription
45
The Culture of the Laboratory
53
Articles about Neuroendocrinology
54
The Phenomenotechnique
63
Documents and Facts
69
The Publication List
72
Statement Types
75
The Transformation of Statement Types
81
Conclusion
86
Notes
88
Photograph File
91
THE CONSTRUCTION OF A FACT THE CASE OF TRFH
105
TRFH in Its Different Contexts
107
The Isolation and Characterisation of TRFH
112
A Choice of Strategies
114
The Elimination of Concurrent Efforts by New Investments
119
The Construction of a New Object
124
The Peptidic Nature of TRF
129
Narrowing Down the Possibilities
142
TRF Moves into Other Networks
148
Notes
149
THE MICROPROCESSING OF FACTS
151
Conversion from One Form of Credibility to Another
198
The Demand for Credible Information
201
Strategies Positions and Career Trajectories
208
Positions
211
Trajectories
214
Group Structure
216
Group Dynamics
223
Notes
230
THE CREATION OF ORDER OUT OF DISORDER
235
The Main Elements of Our Argument
236
Order From Disorder
244
A New Fiction For Old?
252
Notes
258
References
263
Postscript to Second Edition 1986
273
How Radical is Radical?
277
The Place of Philosophy
279
The Demise of the Social
281
Reflexivity
282
Conclusion
284
Notes
285
Additional References
287
Index
291
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1986)

Bruno LaTour was born in the French province of Burgundy, where his family has been making wine for many generations. He was educated in Dijon, where he studied philosophy and Biblical exegesis. He then went to Africa, to complete his military service, working for a French organization similar to the American Peace Corps. While in Africa he became interested in the social sciences, particularly anthropology. LaTour believes that through his interests in philosophy, theology, and anthropology, he is actually pursuing a single goal, to understand the different ways that truth is built. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, LaTour has written about the philosophy and sociology of science in an original, insightful, and sometimes quirky way. Works that have been translated to English include The Pasteurization of France; Laboratory Life; Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society; We Have Never Been Modern; and Aramis, or the Love of Technology. LaTour is a professor at the Center for the Sociology of Innovation, a division of the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines, in Paris.

Bibliographic information