The dichotomy between the conceptual and the empirical is part of common sense, yet its organizing force also extends to intellectual life more generally, including the disciplinary life of science and technology studies. This article problematizes this dichotomy as it operates in contemporary STS discussions, arguing instead that the conceptual and the empirical form unstable hybrids. Beginning with a discussion of the “discontents” with which the dominant theory methods packages in STS are viewed, it is suggested that STS has entered a phase resembling Kuhnian normal science. Based on a discussion of the making of cognitive dissonance theory, it is then argued conceptual–empirical mixtures are unavoidable in actual research practice. This situation can be taken as an encouragement for more sustained exploration of conceptual–empirical relations and their inventive potentials. Invoking Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of “continuous variation,” the article concludes that STS as a discipline is well served by promoting an ethos of empirical and conceptual experimentation.
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DOI 10.1177/0162243913502866
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References found in this work BETA

We Have Never Been Modern.Bruno Latour - 1993 - Harvard University Press.
Knowledge and Social Imagery.David Bloor - 1976 - University of Chicago Press.

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