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By Diane Waldman

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For example, early efforts to explain how controversies end, in both science and technology (Richards and Martin 1995; Nelkin 1992; Bijker et al. 1987; Barnes 1977), often represented closure as a negotiated sorting out of competing social interests. Such work assumed, along with mainstream scholarship in economics and political science, that society can be unproblematically conceptualized as composed of interest groups with clearly articulated (exogenous) positions and preferences. These interests, or stakes, were then invoked to explain the positions taken by different actors concerning knowledge claims and their technological embodiments.

The disorder of the riots disclosed, albeit fleetingly, how the very composition of the dominant cane varieties embodied complex accommodations between nature and society. 10 Finally, with respect to possible “conditional relationships” between science and politics – Shapin and Schaffer’s third site of interaction – both Polanyi (1962) and more recently Yaron Ezrahi (1990) have argued for the strong case that modern science provides the template for a particular form of politics: liberal democracy.

His monumental legacy, however, is less well suited to exploring how diversity keeps reappearing and reasserting itself, even in the most entrenched institutions of modernity, such as expert bureaucracies. Some of the chapters in this volume address this problematic. With the other contributors to this volume, I suggest that we have now arrived at a point at which we can usefully begin to pull together what has been learned in S&TS about the interpenetration of science and technology with cultural expressions and social authority.

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