Until recently, the social-technical process of invention has fallen between sociological investigation of the genesis of a new idea (an ideational phenomenon) and the production of a new technology (a material phenomenon). The advent of post-modernism and post-structuralism offered new avenues for theorising invention, accounting for, on the one hand, its material nature, and, on the other, its ideational nature, through the notion of socio-technical ensembles: phenomena constructed through the co-producing, mutually constitutive action of actants (both human and otherwise). This paper argues that despite its potential, theorising within the sociology of science and technology is hampered by insufficient attention to the role of the researcher and the concept and practice of reflexivity. Reflexive practices within this field of knowledge are explored, and drawing on an empirical case study of an antibiotic preparation, a case is made for the necessity of reflexivity in the production of knowledge about invention.


Science, Technology, Reflexivity, and Sociology


The author wishes to acknowledge the kind assistance of all participants in this study.

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