This paper introduces a political theorization of science through Michel Foucault’s concept of governmentality. Based on qualitative and quantitative research on Russian science communities from 1910 to 1951, the paper argues that organic chemists in the science schools of N. D. Zelinskii and A. N. Nesmeianov governed themselves through normative regimes imbedded in their personal conduct and professional relationships. Their intellectual authority (scientific knowledge) and social relations (conduct in relation to others) carried a political dimension within them, whether it was the will to pursue certain lines of inquiry or the will to resist power that would alter their conduct. The branching and merging of scientific fields in chemistry, for example, shifted power relations among scientists and led to the social restructuring of scientific institutions and the rise of new science schools. These activities constituted a form of government outside the state—a navigation of the social where scientists could act in resistance to power. The study is significant in its use of Foucault’s discourse on knowledge/power and Nikolas Rose’s work on ethico-politics to reveal the art of government through science communities.
|Keywords:||Governmentality, Ethico-Politics, Science Communities, Russian History, Michel Foucault|
Professor, Comparative and Regional Studies, School of International Service, American University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA