Social Dynamics of Biomedical Research
An Actionist Perspective on the Sociology of Science


By Michel Dubois

Translated by Peter Hamilton

21st May 2012, hardback, 220pp.
ISBN: 978-1-905622-21-4

GEMAS Studies in Social Analysis Series
Editors: Mohamed Cherkaoui, Peter Hamilton, Bryan S. Turner


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Contemporary biomedical research is of great concern in the scientific community and for society as a whole. It poses key questions, not just for science and medicine, but because of its economic, legal, ethical, and even philosophical ramifications.

In his new book on the social dynamics of biomedical research, Michel Dubois analyses two contemporary areas of rapid scientific growth: stem cells and prion diseases. Through a study of changes in scientific collaboration in these fields, his aim is to offer an alternative to the overly simplistic view of scientific transformation associated with the idea of “technoscience”.

Dubois provides a critical assessment of sociological research programmes such as constructivism and actor–network theory. He develops an innovative theory directed towards the renewal of the sociology of science and defines the principles of a sociological approach based on scientific action and its often unintended consequences.


Contents

Introduction

CHAPTER 1 - Science and Social Action
CHAPTER 2 - Science by Special Dispensation: Modelling Scientific Collaboration—The Stem Cell Research Network
CHAPTER 3 - Prion Diseases: Scientific Marginality and Health Scares
CHAPTER 4 - Merton and the Self-exemplification of the Sociology of Science
CHAPTER 5 - Rhetorical Construction of the Collective: Implicit Aspects of Constructivist Ideas and Actor–Network Theory

Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Michel Dubois is director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris and a member of GEMASS and the editorial board of the Revue Française de Sociologie. He teaches sociology of science at Université Paris IV Sorbonne and Université Paris VII Diderot. His research is concerned with contemporary science and developing the sociological analysis of science.

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