Science in the community; an ethnographic account of social material transformation




Lee, Stuart Henry

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This dissertation is about the learning and use of science at the level of local community. It is an ethnographic account, and its theoretical approach draws on actor-network theory as well as neo-Marxist practice theory and the related notion of situated cognition. This theoretical basis supports a work that focuses on the many heterogeneous transformations that materials and people undergo as science is used to help bring about social and political change in a quasi-rural community. The activities that science becomes involved in, and the hybrid formations as it encounters local issues are stressed. Learning and knowing as outcomes of community action are theorized. The dissertation links four major themes throughout its narrative: scientific literacy, representations, relationships and participatory democracy. These four themes are not treated in isolation. Different facets of their relation to each other are stressed in different chapters, each of which analyze different particular case studies. This dissertation argues for the conception of a local scientific praxis, one that is markedly different than the usual notion of science, yet is necessary for the uptake of scientific information into a community.



Science, Social aspects, Local government, Community organization, Sociology, Urban