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The Social Construction of Facts and Artefacts: Or How the Sociology of Science and the Sociology of Technology Might Benefit Each Other

Trevor J. Pinch and Wiebe E. Bijker
Social Studies of Science
Vol. 14, No. 3 (Aug., 1984), pp. 399-441
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/285355
Page Count: 43
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The Social Construction of Facts and Artefacts: Or How the Sociology of Science and the Sociology of Technology Might Benefit Each Other
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Abstract

The need for an integrated social constructivist approach towards the study of science and technology is outlined. Within such a programme both scientific facts and technological artefacts are to be understood as social constructs. Literature on the sociology of science, the science-technology relationship, and technology studies is reviewed. The empirical programme of relativism within the sociology of scientific knowledge and a recent study of the social construction of technological artefacts are combined to produce the new approach. The concepts of 'interpretative flexibility' and 'closure mechanism', and the notion of 'social group' are developed and illustrated by reference to a study of solar physics and a study of the development of the bicycle. The paper concludes by setting out some of the terrain to be explored in future studies.

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