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Do you Floss?

Lawrence Lessig: The sharing economy, 18 August 2005

The Success of Open Source 
by Steven Weber.
Harvard, 312 pp., £19.95, August 2004, 0 674 01292 5
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Democratising Innovation 
by Eric von Hippel.
MIT, 208 pp., £19.95, May 2005, 0 262 00274 4
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... trend in social research that governments, and corporations, would be wise to keep track of. Steven Weber’s The Success of Open Source explores the economy that has produced the ‘open source’ and ‘free software’ movements. Eric von Hippel’s Democratising Innovation looks at an economy involving a much wider range of user-supplied ...

Trust me

Steven Shapin: French DNA, 27 April 2000

French DNA: Trouble in Purgatory 
by Paul Rabinow.
Chicago, 201 pp., £17.50, October 1999, 0 226 70150 6
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... DNA research. That book was explicitly offered as an ethnographic meditation on a theme from Max Weber, and so, too, is French DNA. In his 1917 lecture ‘Science as a Vocation’, Weber explored the tension between virtue and expertise, autonomy and institutional discipline, in the changing identity of 20th-century ...

Tod aus Luft

Steven Shapin: The Rise and Fall of Fritz Haber, 26 January 2006

Between Genius and Genocide: The Tragedy of Fritz Haber, Father of Chemical Warfare 
by Daniel Charles.
Cape, 313 pp., £20, September 2005, 0 224 06444 4
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... and great science, but he could also be cold, overbearing, pompous, ruthless and amoral. Max Weber’s 1918 address on ‘Science as a Vocation’ endorsed the amorality of science, but only by claiming that the possession of scientific knowledge didn’t give the scientist – acting in the person of a scientist – an intellectual basis or an ...

Many Causes, Many Cases

Peter Hall, 28 June 1990

Confessions of a Reluctant Theorist 
by W.G. Runciman.
Harvester, 253 pp., £30, April 1990, 0 7450 0484 9
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... its uses, but neither seemed to take up the challenge that the classical sociologists, like Marx, Weber and Durkheim, had posed for the field: namely, to describe the relations that held societies together and to explain the processes whereby these might continue or change. British sociology, by contrast, was displaying the advantages of backwardness. Perhaps ...

Homo Duplex

Barry Glassner, 5 May 1983

Positivism and Sociology: Explaining Social Life 
by Peter Halfpenny.
Allen and Unwin, 141 pp., £10.95, October 1982, 0 04 300084 3
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The Rules of Sociological Method and Selected Texts on Sociology and its Method 
by Emile Durkheim and Steven Lukes, translated by W.D. Halls.
Macmillan, 264 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 333 28071 7
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The Sociological Domain: The Durkheimians and the Founding of French Sociology 
edited by Philippe Besnard.
Cambridge, 296 pp., £24, March 1983, 0 521 23876 5
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Durkheim and the Study of Suicide 
by Steve Taylor.
Macmillan, 249 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 333 28645 6
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... of positivism in sociology has been Emile Durkheim, who among the founding sociologists (Marx, Weber, Simmel, Durkheim) was most sympathetic to positivist dogma. Unlike Marx, Durkheim is not represented by sections of sociological associations, nor do journals and political groups bear his name. Nor is his writing Germanically dense. ...

It’s like getting married

Barbara Herrnstein Smith: Academic v. Industrial Science, 12 February 2009

The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation 
by Steven Shapin.
Chicago, 468 pp., £15, October 2008, 978 0 226 75024 8
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... or the nature of ‘science itself’? In posing these questions and seeking to answer them, Steven Shapin has produced a work of exceptional originality, power and significance. He has also given readers much to chew over in regard to contemporary developments and perennial issues. The Scientific Life departs along several lines from the more strictly ...

The Darwin Show

Steven Shapin, 7 January 2010

... several others on sunspots; Leibniz and Newton on the calculus; Priestley and Scheele on oxygen; Steven Weinberg and Abdus Salam on electroweak gauge theory; and, of course, Darwin and the undercelebrated Alfred Russel Wallace on evolution by natural selection. Every instance of what has been called ‘simultaneous discovery’ lends credence to the notion ...


Jenny Diski: Hairdressing, 2 March 2000

... when they talk to each other, their vital interest is in using their skills to make a living. Steven Zdatny offers the articles of Emile Long as a particular view of the social history of the early years of the 20th century, and it is a very particular view indeed. The years from 1910 to 1920 were not uneventful in Europe, but for Emile Long writing in a ...


Dmitri Levitin: The Islamic Enlightenment, 22 November 2018

The Republic of Arabic Letters: Islam and the European Enlightenment 
by Alexander Bevilacqua.
Harvard, 340 pp., £25.95, February 2018, 978 0 674 97592 7
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The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle between Faith and Reason 
by Christopher de Bellaigue.
Vintage, 404 pp., £10.99, February 2018, 978 0 09 957870 3
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... and political liberalisation. For some, this metanarrative is a cause for celebration (Steven Pinker, for example, in his recent book Enlightenment Now); others – religious opponents of secularisation (Alasdair MacIntyre), or Marxist critics of liberal modernity (Theodor Adorno) – are more condemnatory. The second conception is typically held ...

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