Boundary work

Scholarship in the social studies of science has argued convincingly that what demarcates science from non-science is not some set of essential or transcendent characteristics methods but rather an array of contingent circumstances and strategic behavior known as “boundary work” (Gieryn 1995, 1999). Although initially formulatedto explain how scientists maintain the boundaries of their community against threats to its cognitive authority from within (e.g., fraud and pseudo-science), boundary work has found useful,
policy-relevant applications-for example, in studying the strategic demarcation between political and scientific tasks in the advisory relationship between scientists and regulatory agencies (Jasanoff1990). This work finds that the blurring of boundaries between science and politics, rather than the intentional separation often advocated and practiced,can lead to more productive policy making.

Gutson, D. Boundary Organizations in Environmental Policy and Science: An Introduction Science, Technology, & Human Values, Vol. 26, No. 4, Special Issue: Boundary Organizations in Environmental Policy and Science (Autumn, 2001), pp. 399-408


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