European Journal of Social Theory 6 (2):209-231 (2003)

What is so special about science? Taking up the old epistemological challenge, this article seeks to rephrase the question of scientific autonomy beyond conventional essentialist criteria of demarcation between science and society. The specificity of science is primarily sought in its studied `lack of haste', its socially sanctioned withdrawal from the swift pace of everyday life and from `faster' cultures such a politics and business. This `unhastened' quality defines science's peculiar delaying tactics, which systematically slow down and objectify ordinary conversations, actions, and conflicts, attracting `slow' personalities who read and write more and talk less than the `fast cats' who are attracted to more decisionist, stress-driven and hasty cultures. Such a description, rather than claiming performative innocence, simultaneously expresses the ambition to strengthen what it characterizes, i.e. to liberate science from the stress and haste which are increasingly imposed upon it by the `external' pressures and performance criteria of enterprise culture and political correctness, and by the growing impact of media publicity and the academic celebrity system. In this fashion, the article simultaneously advances a new factual description of the specificity of scientific practice and a new normative/political project to enhance scientific and intellectual autonomy.
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DOI 10.1177/1368431003006002004
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References found in this work BETA

We Have Never Been Modern.Bruno Latour - 1993 - Harvard University Press.
Pascalian Meditations.Pierre Bourdieu - 2000 - Stanford University Press.

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