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History of science and its utopian reconstructions

Paskins, Matthew (2020) History of science and its utopian reconstructions. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, 81. 82 - 95. ISSN 0039-3681

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.shpsa.2019.08.001


In recent years explicitly utopian visions have reappeared across the political spectrum. To a surprising degree these visions have drawn on histories and science and technology. What should scholars of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) make of these developments? The concept of utopia has often been treated with considerable distrust in these fields, as an indication of closed end-directed blueprints, or as an indication of fantasies of limitless technological improvement and purification of categories. Alongside this uneasiness, however, HPS and STS scholars have also projected transformative ambitions, seeking to recover from the past different ways of knowing and relating to the human and non-human world. By engaging with critiques of utopia from thinkers including Karl Popper, Otto Neurath, Bruno Latour, Isabelle Stengers and Donna Haraway, and exploring some of the utopian strands which have recurred in studies of science and technology—including the longing for integration, the association of science with planning, and the ways in which feminist scholars have envisaged alternative forms of science—we can understand the ongoing, and often unrecognised, utopian dimensions of HPS and STS.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 Elsevier Ltd
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
JEL classification: B - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology > B1 - History of Economic Thought through 1925 > B10 - General
B - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology > B2 - History of Economic Thought since 1925 > B20 - General
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2021 11:27
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2024 23:39

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