The nature of scientific knowledge has been fiercely debated in recent years At the heart of this debate has been the question 'what makes scientific knowledge distinctive?' Traditional realist philosophies of science argue that scientific knowledge is special because of the unique method by which it is produced. In contrast, empirical studies in the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge and other 'post-modern' disciplines have challenged this assertion and blurred the boundaries between science and other activities. Nevertheless, we still talk about 'science', so what is it that makes it different to politics, are the new criteria-ethical, intentional, practical, institutional. That allow us to define, recognise and appreciate science without reifying it?
The conference will bring together leading scholars and young academics to advance the social scientific understanding of science. Papers based on serious empirical research will explore the demarcations of science from non-science, science from policy; progressive science from pathological science and scientific knowledge from lay knowledge. A programme committee of a dozen leading scholars has already been established and keynote speakers will include Wiebe Bijker, Tom Gieryn and Sheila Jasanoff. The workshop will also seek contributions from a range of scholars & young academics. In this way it will promote scientific excellence and encourage the exchange of ideas between researchers. In this way it will promote scientific excellence and encourage the exchange of ideas between researchers. It will also facilitate collaboration between researchers who share common interests and provide the opportunity for existing networks to be reinforced and new ones established. Finally, in designing the programme, particular attention will be paid to existing European expertise in this area, particularly in areas such as science and technology studies, innovation studies, impact assessment and science policy.