Science And Technologies Effects On Society

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Science and Technologies Effects on Society

Science and Technologies Effects on Society


Science and development reinforced the need for each other; each legitimized the other in a circular fashion popularly rendered 'I scratch your back, you scratch mine.' If development had had no special relationship with science, there would have been no need to displace subsistence and the new standard of living that development proposed. Science and technology, viewed from a sociological perspective, is understood as a specialized field of study, sometimes referred to as a subfield of the sociology of knowledge that examines the normative and institutional basis of the development of scientific and technological knowledge. Originating in the United States in the twentieth century, especially through the work of American sociologist Robert Merton, the sociology of science addresses various aspects of science and technology at different levels, including the social organization of the field of science, the interplay between scientists and scholars from other disciplines, and the impact of social issues and public policy on scientific research.

Thesis Statement

Science and technology was desired because it made development possible.


The development of modern science along with the rise of capitalism gave scientists strong incentives for understanding and discovering new knowledge as a means of both economic and social progress. In his book The Sociology of Science (1970), first published in 1942, Merton suggested that a normative structure for scientific study emerged, characterized by four identifiable norms. First, all scientific contributions are examined for merit, independent of the scientist. This norm of universalism deems factors such as the religion, race, or nationality of the scientist irrelevant. Second, disclosure of knowledge is required. This norm of communism suggests that scientists have a responsibility to share discoveries with the public and other scientists. In turn, they are rewarded by receiving recognition and credit from their peers and society. Third, although not bound to altruism, scientists are expected to act independently of financial gain. This norm of disinterestedness creates an environment in which private gain for scientific contributions is not acceptable. Finally, Merton added the norm of organized skepticism, which not only permits but expects that challenges will be made to claims of knowledge. (Zuckerman 2008) (Wynne 2008)

Merton's understanding of the social processes within the scientific community as functional interactions dominated the field of sociology of science, as other theorists either expanded Merton's ideas or reacted against them. Ian Mitroff accepted Merton's basis of normative structures but argued in his 1974 article “Norms and Counternorms in a Select Group of Scientists: A Case Study in the Ambivalence of Scientist,” which appeared in American Sociological Review, that a parallel set of norms also exists that is exactly opposite of those described by Merton. Based on interview data, Mitroff suggested that sometimes such criteria as personal merit and emotional commitment are viable considerations that can contribute to scientific development. In “Interpretation and the Use of Rules: The Case of Norms in Science,” appearing in Science and Social Structure: A Festschrift for Robert ...
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