Researching the Precambrian biosphere: Constructing knowledge and shaping the organization of scientific work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Sociologists have employed various metaphors to depict science in a way which distances it from epistemological privilege. Among these metaphors, portraying science as ‘work' stands out both because, for many people, science is work, and because there is a well developed sociological literature on the topic. However, using this image, it is easy to assume that the characteristics of scientific work are set by the natural world. This paper uses a study of the construction of knowledge about early life (Precambrian paleobiology) to show how much choice there is in the organization of scientific work. It is argued that, at least in this case, the organization of scientific work and the cognitive ‘products' of science are equally negotiated. Moreover, the cognitive products are seen to be shaped by decisions about work organization. Studying science as work therefore complements the sociology of scientific knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-332
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Studies of Science
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 1990

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