Science and technology: socialising what for whom?



In the Handbook on the socialisation of scientific and technological research, edited by Wiebe Bijker and Luciano d’Andrea, ‘socialisation’ is used to both describe and prescribe the ways in which science and technology are used in society. In this comment, ‘socialisation’ is discussed from two other points of view. First, the ways in which science and technology are sometimes used to organize, structure and dominate the social are identified. Second, drawing on Merton’s norms of science, an argument is made against over-socialising science and in favour of acknowledging and preserving the ‘special’ nature of science, for its own sake and because, at its best, science can offer an alternative model for other social activities.