Governmentality through Science Communities

By Linda Lucia Lubrano.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.33-48. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 940.301KB).

Prof. Linda Lucia Lubrano

Professor, Comparative and Regional Studies, School of International Service, American University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Professor of Comparative and Regional Studies at the School of International Service, American University, in Washington, D.C., Linda Lucia Lubrano was Director of the AU Graduate Research Center on Europe at the University of Trento, Italy from 1999 to 2004, a Senior Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Smithsonian Institution (1988-89), a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University (1981-82), and frequently a Visiting Scholar at the USSR/Russian Academy of Sciences between 1974 and 1997. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University in 1969. Her publications include Soviet Sociology of Science (1976), The Social Context of Soviet Science (with Susan Gross Solomon, 1980), contributions to edited volumes, and articles in such journals as Science, Technology & Human Values, Soviet Union/Union Sovietique, Social Studies of Science, Journal of Contemporary History, and The Discourse of Sociological Practice. Her current research interests are the politics and sociology of science, the anthropology of medical practice, and a political theorization of social enterprise.