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Surviving Closure: Post Rejection Adaptation and Plurality in Science

Collins, Harold Maurice 2000. Surviving Closure: Post Rejection Adaptation and Plurality in Science. American Sociological Review 65 (6) , pp. 824-845. 10.2307/2657515

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Abstract

Can the procedures and institutions of modern science support more than one version of reality? The early science of gravitational wave detection adapted and survived for a quarter of a century after its findings ceased to be accepted by the majority of the scientific community. Two mutually exclusive approaches to the same physical phenomenon, spawned by the same community, were initially supported by the same institutions and later by only marginally different institutions. The case reveals, then, a surprising plurality within physics, that stretches from publication policies to funding sources. The survival history of what will be called "high visibility gravitational radiation" (HighVGR) research is compared with that of other "rejected sciences" that experienced what might be called "life after death." It is suggested that "core-groups" in physics allow a large degree of license within the formal institutions because their informal controls make sure that rejected science does no harm to progress in the mainstream. When informal controls break down, however, formal controls take over. Analysis of the formal, readily visible face of science reveals little of what is happening in the, often crucial, informal networks.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Publisher: American Sociological Association
ISSN: 0003-1224
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2017 10:55
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/3211

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