Producing Legitimacy through the Notion of Science in a Multinational Company: An Anthropological Approach to Scientific and Common Sense Knowledge

By Razvan Ionescu-Tugui.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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

If science defines itself as representing a field of knowledge and practices, based on its own methodology and epistemology, using the notion of science or the technologies which are supposed to accompany it in contexts outside the scientific field, as the everyday behavior or the markets, entails a different understanding of its foundations or more then that a legitimating process and not a investigatory one. My position is based on an ethnographic research on what in an anthropological approach I describe as a magical healing ritual in a massage center from Bucharest of a multinational company which operates in the business of selling alternative health care products. This healing ritual consists in a spine massage, which every person can benefit from daily, indefinitely and free of charge as part of the marketing and selling strategy that the company, that also sells massage devices, carries. Showing how science comes to be defined by clients and the employees of the massage center and how it serves as a source of authority for the effectiveness of the massage devices in this particular context, I propose, following loosely the ideas of anthropologist Alfred Gell, that science and its applications in this common sense form are conceived as magic.

Keywords: Science Authority, Common Sense and Science, Legitimation of Markets

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.99-109. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.201MB).

Razvan Ionescu-Tugui

PhD student, Doctoral School of Sociology, National School of Political Science and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania

He is a PhD student in Sociology at the National School of Political Science and Public Administration. His field of interest is medical anthropology and anthropology of the body, being centered on the discourses and practices around the “healthy” body in late capitalism. He has a BA in History at the University of Bucharest with a major in Historiography and History of Ideas. He also has a MA in Anthropology at the National School of Political Science and Public Administration and a MA in Marketing at the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest.