The knowledge content of science and the sociology of scientific knowledge

Several, seemingly unrelated problems of empirical research in the 'sociology of scientific knowledge' can be analyzed as following from initial assumptions with respect to the status of the knowledge content of science. These problems involve: (1) the relation between the level of the scientific field and the group level; (2) the boundaries and the status of 'contexts', and (3) the emergence of so-called 'asymmetry' in discourse analysis. It is suggested that these problems can be clarified by allowing for cognitive factors as independent ('heterogeneous') variables, in addition to and in interaction with (i.e., not only as attributes of) social factors. In the 'sociology of translation', 'heterogeneity' among scientists, cognitions and textual elements has been made a basic assumption. This heterogeneity is bound together in an 'actor network'. However, since the 'actor network' is an empirical category, the methodological problems remain unresolved. This has consequences for the relation between empirical data and theoretical inferences
Keywords sociology of science  sociology of translation  knowledge representations  strong programme  scientometrics  methodology
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DOI 10.1007/BF01801451
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