The possibility of a mathematical sociology of scientific communication

The focus on discourse and communication in the recent sociology of scientific knowledge offers new perspectives for an integration of qualitative and quantitative approaches in science studies. The common point of interest is the question of how reflexive communication systems communicate. The elaboration of the mathematical theory of communication into a theory of potentially self-organizing entropical systems enables us to distinguish the various layers of communication, and to specify the dynamic changes in these configurations over time. For example, a paradigmatic discourse can be considered as a virtual communication system at the supra-individual level. Communication systems, however, cannot be directly observed. One observes only their instantaneous operations. The reflexive analyst is able to attribute the observed uncertainty to hypothesized systems that interact in the events. The implications of this perspective for various programmes in the sociology of scientific knowledge are discussed
Keywords Scientometrics  communication  sociology of knowledge  self-organization
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DOI 10.1007/BF02262616
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