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  1. Explanations and Excuses in French Sociology.Federico Brandmayr - 2021 - European Journal of Social Theory 24 (3):374-393.
    The terrorist attacks that struck France in 2015 had reverberations throughout the country’s intellectual fields. Among the most significant was a widespread polemic that turned around whether sociological explanations of the attacks amounted to excuses and justifications for terrorists. When prominent politicians and pundits made allegations of this nature, sociologists reacted in three main ways: most denied the allegations, others reappropriated the derogatory label of excuse, while others still accepted criticism and called for a reformation of sociology. These epistemological stances (...)
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    Social Science as Apologia.Federico Brandmayr - 2021 - European Journal of Social Theory 24 (3):319-337.
    The social sciences are predominantly seen by their practitioners as critical endeavours, which should inform criticism of harmful institutions, beliefs and practices. Accordingly, political attacks on the social sciences are often interpreted as revealing an unwillingness to accept criticism and an acquiescence with the status quo. But this dominant view of the political implications of social scientific knowledge misses the fact that people can also be outraged by what they see as its apologetic potential, namely that it provides excuses or (...)
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    Order and Conflict Theories of Science as Competing Ideologies.Federico Brandmayr - 2018 - Social Epistemology 32 (3):175-195.
    Science is sometimes depicted, both in scholarly and lay accounts, as a consensual and orderly progression in the direction of truth; at other times, it is portrayed as an arena in which lone geniuses struggle against rivals and authorities to impose unconventional interpretations of reality. The paper introduces the concept of ‘order-conflict dichotomy’ to stabilize the content of these definitions. It then shows, through an in-depth analysis of the Irving trial, an English libel suit involving historical knowledge about World War (...)
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  4. How Social Scientists Make Causal Claims in Court: Evidence From the L’Aquila Trial.Federico Brandmayr - 2017 - Science, Technology, and Human Values 42 (3):346-380.
    This paper contributes to two topics that have received insufficient attention in science and technology studies: the social dimensions of causal reasoning and how the knowledge-making site of expert testimony affects the production and reception of social scientific knowledge. It deals with how social scientists make causal claims when testifying as expert witnesses in trials where causal claims are relevant, using as a case study the so-called L’Aquila trial, in which experts were summoned by the parties to testify on the (...)
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    Are Theories Politically Flexible?Federico Brandmayr - 2021 - Sociological Theory 39 (2):103-125.
    Social theories are politically flexible if people use them to support opposite political claims. But is this even possible? And what kind of theories have such a property? Moving beyond epistemological debates about neutrality and value-leadenness, this article defends an empirical approach to the study of flexible and rigid political uses of social theories. I identify two main sources of flexibility: endogenous properties of theories, notably their generality, ambiguity, and neutrality, and exogenous features of the contexts in which they are (...)
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    Book Review: The Crisis of Expertise. [REVIEW]Federico Brandmayr - 2021 - European Journal of Social Theory 24 (2):306-310.
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