Dropping the brand of Edinburgh School: An interview with Barry Barnes

Author Info
Rong-Xuan Chu
Chih-Tung Huang
PhD Candidate, University of Edinburgh
Postdoctoral Fellow, National Chiao Tung University

Professor Barry Barnes is a major contributor to the Strong Programme in the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (SSK). He is well known for his ground-breaking study on collective action, self-referring knowledge, and systems of power. His enormous influence helps transform the discipline of Science, Technology and Society (STS). This interview started from his naturalistic commitment, insisting that science should be studied in the same way as any other human activities. We then move onto the basic relation between knowledge and society. According to him, problems to do with knowledge and those to do with power are in fact two sides of one coin. His work on agency, collective action, power or even finitism can all be understood as analyzing different forms of the same awareness, rather than as a change of subject. At the end of this interview, we asked Professor Barnes’ suggestions toward the budding East-Asian STS research. He encouraged scholars in East-Asia to combine the Western resources with their own ones, and advised them not to simply follow a “Programme” as it constrains their vision.

Taiwanese Journal for Studies of Science, Technology and Medicine, Number 11 (October 2010), 341-376