10 Nov 2010 2:30pm - 4:30pm CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge




Prof. Barry Barnes ( University of Exeter,  University of Edinburgh)


References to the co-production of scientific knowledge have become increasingly widespread and prominent over the last couple of decades, not primarily in response to the rise of new phenomena but as a way of expressing new epistemic tastes. They constitute a new mode of description inspired in part by the impulse toward greater public participation in science and by intensified criticism of its traditionally strong disciplinary boundaries and exclusivity, an impulse itself inspired by the secular decline of a culture of deference and an increasing distaste for status distinctions and the boundaries and hierarchies defined in terms of them. The existence of co-production implies the weakness and permeability of the boundaries around scientific fields and an interdependence between the key knowledge generation processes that go on within them and externalities.  To refer to co-production is to acknowledge and enhance the epistemic standing of non-specialists and ordinary members, who are set more on a par with specialised

knowledge producers and professional natural scientists than heretofore, as custom currently prefers. This talk accepts that current  accounts of  co-production have their merits particularly in correcting some traditional stereotypes of science, but it also uses examples to point out ways in which references to co-production are liable to mislead. At the same time the discussion helps us to reflect on the relationship between traditional scientific and social scientific disciplines, STS, and legal and policy-oriented fields of study.


Barry Barnes is well-known for his pioneering work on the sociological study of knowledge generation in science. He combines work in this area with a long-standing interest in the fundamental problems of the social sciences.  One example of this latter interest are phenomena of self-referring knowledge, which will also be discussed as part of the STBS Forum latter in the year. 


Open to all. No registration required.

Part of the Science, Technology and Bio-Social Studies Forum (STBS) seminar series. 
For more information about the group please visit the link on the right hand side of this page.

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