Science, Politics, and the Two Cultures Issue: A Contribution to the External History of the Origin of the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge

Libor Benda



The study deals with the so far unexplored external history of the origin of the sociology of scientific knowledge. Its aim is to analyse the external factors which contributed to the emergence of this discipline, for the purpose of explaining why it emerged right in the 1970s at the Science Studies Unit at the University of Edinburgh and in the very form of the so-called strong programme in the sociology of knowledge. Through the Unit's founder C. H. Waddington the study focuses on two episodes: the emergence of the politically engaged movement of British left-wing scientists in the 1930s pushing forward the concept of a social function of science, and the politicisation of the so-called two cultures issue in the post-war Great Britain that lead to changes in British scientific policy and educational system. In its concluding part the study then turns attention to the individual interests of those members of the Unit who were directly behind the development of the strong programme.


sociální funkce vědy, problém dvou kultur, vnější dějiny, sociologie vědeckého poznání, silný program

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: /// email: