Introduction

Science/technology as politics by other means

in Focaal

This article introduces a series of ideas about the categories of science and politics, by way of actor network theory, Gell's theories of index and agency, and governmentality studies. It explores the ways in which science has become a discursive element in contemporary government, and examines the tensions between the purifying categorizations of politics and science, and the re-embedding (or hybridizing) of science into national political discourse. What emerges is a series of practices by which science is nationalized, domesticating the ideal of a generalized science into localized political debates at both national and sub-national levels, practices which may be transformed at national boundaries. While we acknowledge that science in practice is not abstract or generalizable (since it must engage with a world which is not abstracted), it is the abstracting and purifying work attributed to science which makes it attractive as a political alibi for particular political projects. Rather than seeing science as politics by other means, perhaps we should be examining the creation of a rehybridized science-politics.

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