Contentious Knowledge: Science, Social Science, and Social Movements

Program or topic

Institute for the Social Sciences 2006-09 theme project on “Contentious Knowledge:  Science, Social Science, and Social Movements”

Department(s) or Unit(s)

Dept. of Government

Contact Information

Kenneth Roberts

Professor, Government


Program Goals

The project sought to understand how and why scientific knowledge and technical expertise become politically contested by social actors.

Brief Description

This project brought together an interdisciplinary team of nine Cornell faculty members and two post-doctoral fellows to study how “authoritative” scientific and technical knowledge becomes a focal point of political contention.  Team members included political scientists, sociologists, historians, and a micro-biologist, and together studied a broad range of substantive areas where claims to authoritative knowledge have been contested by societal actors.  Research activities focused on the social construction of authoritative knowledge, the mechanisms of ideational and social movement diffusion, biotechnology and genetically modified foods, and authoritative models of economic development.

For more information

Web Links:

Kenneth Roberts’ Homepage

Contentious Knowledge Project

Category: Government, Policy, Social Science

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