The social construction of facts and artefacts: or How the sociology of science and the sociology of technology might benefit each other

Trevor J. Pinch, Wiebe E. Bijker

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The need for an integrated social constructivist approach towards the study of science and technology is outlined. Within such a programme both scientific facts and technological artefacts are to be understood as social constructs. Literature on the sociology of science, the science-technology relationship, and technology studies is reviewed. The empirical programme of relativism within the sociology of scientific knowledge and a recent study of the social construction of technological artefacts are combined to produce the new approach. The concepts of `interpretative flexibility' and `closure mechanism', and the notion of `social group' are developed and illustrated by reference to a study of solar physics and a study of the development of the bicycle. The paper concludes by setting out some of the terrain to be explored in future studies.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)399-441
JournalSocial studies of science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1984


  • IR-98776

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