Thomas Gieryn. Cultural Boundaries of Science.

Gieryn's book is an outstanding discussion of the cultural baggage and role that science plays. I recommend reading all of it.

Reading questions:

Preface (vii – xii)

Gieryn suggests that scientists (and engineers!) underestimate the authority of their words (and actions, and agendas) downstream (i.e. by the public and by non-technological decision-makers).  Do you agree or disagree with this assessment of the apparent, perhaps unintentional, power of the researcher as he or she acts?

Science as boundary work (pp 15 – 18)

I would argue that leading-edge robotics research and engineering is boundary work by Gieryn’s definition.  Take a specific sub-discipline within robotics and explain how researchers are defining and redefining the boundary constantly—clothe this sub-discipline within Gieryn’s boundary work framework and explain well.