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Actor-Network Theory in Inaction: Strategies and Limitations of the Anthropological Study of the Russian Physical Laboratory

русская версия

Опубликовано на портале: 11-11-2011
Тематический раздел:
The year 2009 has suddenly become a landmark for Russian science: the critical letter of American-Siberian scientists initiated the public debate about the role of the RAS and has provoked the country’s leadership to make a reform project. At the background were a large number of calls to the press of research teams unhappy with the current situation, and publications of well-known scientists who have been talking about the crisis in Russian science for two decades. The present study was not originally aimed to join this heightened and mostly political discussion. The main idea of the work was to conduct a new type of research in the Russian context — «laboratory study» — anthropological, aimed at the study of everyday culture of the Russian physical
lab within the framework of actor-network theory (ANT). However, the results obtained at the first stage of fieldwork in a laboratory came as a surprise, and reoriented the author from the micro case study to the problems prevailing in the Russian crisis, forcing her to rethink the methodological basis of research. It made the use of “purely scientific” and “far removed from politics” method in the Russian laboratories impossible.
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