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  • Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society is an influential book by Bruno Latour. The English edition was published in 1987 by Harvard University Press. It is written in a text-book style, and contains a full featured approach to the empirical study of science and technology. Moreover, it also entertains ontological conceptions and theoretical discussions making it a research monograph and not a methodological handbook per se. In the first chapter Latour develops the methodological dictum that science and technology must be studied "in action", or "in the making". Because scientific discoveries turn esoteric and difficult to understand, it has to be studied where discoveries are made in practice. For example Latour turns back time in the case of the discovery of the "double helix". Going back in time, deconstructing statements, machines and articles, it is possible to arrive at a point where scientific discovery could have chosen to take many other directions. Also the concept of "black box" is introduced. A black box is a metaphor borrowed from cybernetics denoting a piece of machinery that "runs by itself".

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