SOCIOL 1A06 Study Guide - Ulrich Beck, Genetically Modified Food, Risk Society

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Published on 16 Apr 2013
School
McMaster University
Department
Sociology
Course
SOCIOL 1A06
Professor
Chapter 17- science environment and society
o Sociologists of science look at the interactions between science and society.
o A paradigm is the framework within which scientists operate. There are particular
paradigms for particular branches of scientific research.
o According to Thomas Kuhn, normal science is the science conducted within an
existing paradigm. During the practice of normal science, discoveries may be
made that add to or clarify, but don’t challenge, the existing paradigm.
o Thomas Kuhn theorizes that scientific revolutions, also called paradigm shifts,
occur when enough anomalies accrue during the practice of normal science to
challenge the existing paradigm.
o Normative science is the notion that science is unaffected by the personal beliefs
or values of scientists but rather follows objective rules of evidence.
o In practice, however, social factors such as funding availability, government
policies (which in turn can be affected by interest groups), and international
pressure or competition can affect choices about what scientific research is
pursued.
o Boundary work refers to research conducted on the border between legitimate
and non legitimate science, either within a specific scientific discipline or between
disciplines.
o Anthropologists Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar claim that scientific facts don’t
just reveal themselves through experiments and research but are socially
constructed as scientists debate findings, discuss results, and work through
disagreements, all of which is influenced by unequal power relations between
researchers.
o The Matthew effect, a term coined by Robert Merton, refers to the notion that
certain scientific results get more notice and have more influence based on the
existing prestige of the researchers involved.
Agriculture and the environment
o Global warming is the rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and
other greenhouse gases as well as an increased in the average global temperature
o The majority of scientists agree that the roots of global warming can be linked to
human activity such as deforestation and the burning of coal, gas, and oil.
o At the same time, global warming is predicted to have a strong impact on human
society, primarily through devastating natural disasters such as prolonged heat
waves, larger and more frequent hurricanes, and debilitating droughts.
o The term “organic” is often used as a catchall for foods that are seemingly
healthy, “natural,” or produced on a small scale. In the United States specific
guidelines have to be followed in order for food products to be labelled “organic”
or “made with organic ingredients.”
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Document Summary

Chapter 17- science environment and society: sociologists of science look at the interactions between science and society, a paradigm is the framework within which scientists operate. There are particular paradigms for particular branches of scientific research: according to thomas kuhn, normal science is the science conducted within an existing paradigm. Critics of the green revolution argue that farmers become more dependent on a smaller number of crops, which exposes them to risks if those crops fail, reduces the variety in their diet, and depletes the soil of nutrients. Green revolution trends place a great deal of pressure on existing water resources and alter traditional water management techniques. Biotechnology and the human genome: the goal of the human genome project was to identify and map all of the genes in human dna. Researchers involved in the project recognized that understanding the genetic make-up of the human species raised many social, ethical, and legal issues.

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