Scientific Disciplines and Organizational Specificity: The Social and Cognitive Configuration of Laboratory Activities

  • Terry Shinn
Part of the Sociology of the Sciences a Yearbook book series (SOSC, volume 6)


In some respects this essay complements the analysis formulated in three of the previous studies. James Fleck and Arie Rip both allude either directly or obliquely to the specificity of the social and cognitive processes present in the domains of artificial intelligence and chemistry (1). This paper takes that emphasis one step further as it compares the intellectual and social structures of a range of disciplines (2); this with the aim of drawing fuller attention to the unique character of research practices in different fields of scientific investigation. In addition, Edward Yoxen, together with Fleck and Rip, all stress the importance of instrumentation to the activities of their respective sciences. Again, in this contribution the use of different scientific instruments in various sub-fields is examined in detail as a key determinant of laboratory morphology. Thus, while Fleck, Rip and Yoxen concentrate on the macroscopic issues of disciplinary development and evolution, here the emphasis will be placed on the microscopic facets of laboratory organization and operations.


Scientific Discipline Organizational Specificity Mineral Chemistry Senior Scientist Technical Personnel 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 9.
    See E. F. Caldin, The Structure of Chemistry in Relation to the Philosophy of Science, Sheed and Ward, London and New York, 1961.Google Scholar
  2. 11.
    See D. K. C. MacDonald, ‘Physics and Chemistry: Comments on Caldin’s View of Chemistry’, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 2 (1960/62) 222–3.Google Scholar
  3. 13.
    See F. Suppe, The Structure of Scientific Theories, University of Illinois Press, Chicago, London, 1974, p. 58.Google Scholar
  4. See A. Sloman, The Computer Revolution in Philosophy, Harvester Press, Hassocks, 1978.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terry Shinn
    • 1
  1. 1.C N R SParisFrance

Personalised recommendations