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What strong sociologists can learn from critical realism: Bloor on the history of aerodynamics

Norris, Christopher 2014. What strong sociologists can learn from critical realism: Bloor on the history of aerodynamics. Journal of Critical Realism 13 (1) , pp. 3-37. 10.1179/1476743013Z.00000000018

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This essay presents a long, detailed, in many ways critical but also appreciative account, of David Bloor’s recent book The Enigma of the Aerofoil. I take that work as the crowning statement of ideas and principles developed over the past four decades by Bloor and other exponents of the ‘strong programme’ in the sociology of scientific knowledge. It therefore offers both a test-case of that approach and a welcome opportunity to review, clarify and extend some of the arguments brought against it by critical realists. This purpose is particularly well served by Bloor’s having here assembled such a wealth of scientific, historical, political and socio-cultural data concerning one specific, very crucial period of research into theories of aerodynamic lift. His book thus provides an exceptionally useful point of engagement for anyone seeking to adjudicate these issues from a critically angled but engaged and constructive standpoint.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Publisher: Acumen
ISSN: 1476-7430
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2019 13:59

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