Sociology of Scientific Knowledge is a relatively new addition to sociology, emerging only several decades ago in the late 1970’s, and focuses on the theories and methods of science. It is seen as a notable success within the fields of sociology and sociology of science. In its infancy, SSK was primarily a British academic endeavor. These days, it is studied and practiced all over the world, with heavy influences in Germany, Scandinavia, Israel, the Netherlands, France, Australia, and North America.
David Hess tells us that in science, a black box is any device for which the input and output are specified but the internal mechanisms are not. “Sometimes the study of this content is described as ‘opening a black box’” (Whitley 1972). Advocates of SSK have criticized the Institutional Sociology of Science of leaving a black box of content unopened, and examining only the exogenous, institutional aspects of science and technology. Traditionally, studying the content of science from a sociological perspective had been very controversial.
Hess tells us that one way to characterize this s…
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