The Politics of Professionally Disparaging Professionals Privately

Peter Redfield, anthropologist and former resident of Kroeber Hall, returns to UC Berkeley this coming week as a visiting scholar. In addition to the usual presentations of current research, Professor Redfield will also conduct a private ‘forum’ at the request of the Kroeber Anthropological Society: Life Beyond Kroeber: Professionalization and Publication.

Merton's science and society

Merton's doctoral thesis, Science, Technology and Society in 17th century England (1938) inquires into science as a vocation, drawing heavily on Weber in all aspects of the work. He begins with a basic question: why has science become such a dominant arena of activity in modern Western society? The object-premise that he adopts is interest or motivation. He argues that the dominant arena of activity in a society is a consequence of interests which guide and motivate individuals to direct their activity towards certain areas. Why are scientists doing science at all?

Canguilhem: beyond medicine and antimedicine, nature and counter-nature


European Anthropology Meetings: Critique and Diplomacy

The European Assoc. of Social Anthropologists 2012 Plenary featured a roundtable with Didier Fassin, Bruno Latour, Martin Holbraad, and Phillipe Descola, discussing the question “what kind of critique does anthropology produce?” Two points stood out for me: 1. Fassin began with a brief re-iteration of Foucault’s essay, with the suggestion pace the Toy Story character Buzzlightyear, that we go to Foucault and Beyond. The Foucault was a slightly reductive suggestion that for Foucault critique is simply a matter of making the necessary contingent.

Can we get our problematization back, please?

This is to a large extent a footnote to Lyle’s post , which I re-visited after unfortunately coming across two strange critiques of Canguilhem from with the (post) ANT literature. I began writing this post due to the following facetious dismissal:

"But at least don’t tell us that [Isabelle Stengers] is a whiggish historian of science looking, like Gaston Bachelard or Georges Canguilhem, for the ways by which hard science finally escapes from history?”

Are There Modes of Veridiction in Science Studies?

Why is the Anthropology of the Contemporary not STS? I received this question in an email. I had an initial response, which I think needs more thought

From culture to enacted reality or problematization?

I recently read Annmarie Mol's The Body Multiple.  In reading this book, I came to understand with more clarity why I have always had two minds about the works of the 'actor-network' school, broadly considered (Latour, Callon, John Law, Mol). On the one hand, I have always found their critique of the “culture concept”, or efforts to go beyond the binary presumptions of sociology ('society') and economics ('rational individual), impressive and effective. And yet when I read on to their own work (the 'beyond culture'), I come away at best unconvinced and more likely displeased.


In this week's Nature Biotechnology: "Planning for an exit" by Kenneth E. Eheman Jr (sic)
"as the biotech industry has matured, the exit process has evolved. Entrepreneuts need to build today's companies based on the new exit paradigm."
Box1: Structure in-licenses for flexibility.


Bruno Latour’s book “Reassembling the social” is a strong attack on science and society as separate and real entities.
Why then does Berkeley inaugurate a program in Science and Society?


As Weber observed in 1917, the ever increasing specialization of the sciences is in an inverse ratio with significance and meaning.
Today, there is every reason to doubt that the ever increasing sub-specialization is producing progress although it continues to evaucate significance.
How to overcome this –not in a reform sense but in a survival sense– is the problem.