Intellectual Cohesion and Organizational Divisions in Science
Science and technology are characterized by considerable intellectual and institutional fragmentation –a product of unceasing specialization. In this article T. Shinn shows how a little studied transverse science and technology community, the research-technology movement, promotes “pragmatic-universality”. The multi purpose and generalist instruments generated by research-technology foster a technical lingua-franca in academia, industry, state technical services, the military and so forth. Research-technology also facilitates cognitive and institutional boarder crossings between disciplines and professional spheres. Shinn argues that divisions of labor in science and engineering are not detrimental to universality but are instead basic to its establishment. Demarcated niche audiences independently test and validate ideas and usage. Those which survive diverse and locally imposed testing are ultimately held in common by all groups, thereby becoming a universally accepted consensual stock of knowledge.