Legitimization of Science and Technology: From the French Pragmatic Sociology and the Annales School to Complex and Recursive Recombination

Jürgen Poesche

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph

Abstract

This dissertation deals with the impact of society on the legitimization of science and technology. Society impacts which science and technology is legitimate in society and the time-dependent legitimization within science and technology. The focus of this dissertation is the Romanic Branch of the Occidental Tradition starting with its roots – the Greco-Roman Heritage and Occidental Christianity. Within the research time span from BC 500 to AD 1789 three case studies are analysed. In taking the long-term view in the footsteps of the Annales School and the work of, e.g., Fernand Braudel and Lucien Febvre, this dissertation is able to assess changes in the legitimization of science and technology over time. The Annales School is a French historical research tradition emphasizing the use of a holistic long-term approach and social scientific methods. This dissertation also follows the Annales School by adopting the view of the supremacy of society in all activities, including science and technology. This dissertation's approach differs from the usual approach used by the Annales School: It uses neuroscience rather than mentalité as the foundation of the inertia in the legitimization of science and technology. Inertia is evident in the case study of the Aztec medicine which was not legitimized by the Greco-Roman Heritage and Occidental Christianity. The French Pragmatic Sociology founded by, e.g., Émile Durkheim and Gabriel Tarde offers another way to consider inertia, particularly Gabriel Tarde's views on imitation. A key finding of two of the three case studies is that developments within science and technology may violate the existing criteria of legitimacy. The case study of l'Ancien Régime illustrates that in a reinterpretation different roads forward may emerge which result in societal tensions, or even in the delegitimization of the societal structure – in this case the fall of l'Ancien Régime. Based on the case studies a new concept, Complex and Recursive Recombination, describing and explaining the legitimization of science and technology was developed in this dissertation. The concept of Complex and Recursive Recombination assists business in two ways. First, it offers a tool to understand the limits to and time-dependence of the economic value of technological innovation and scientific knowledge. Second, it shows that science is society-dependent thus giving a rationale for having R&D facilities in different societies.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Kauranen, Ilkka, Supervisor
  • Myllyntaus, Timo, Advisor
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-952-60-6047-7
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-6048-4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

Keywords

  • long-term changes
  • scientific development
  • society
  • technological innovation

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