About the Attempt to Unlock the Black Boxes of Science

Arūnas Poviliūnas
Vilniaus universiteto Filosofijos fakulteto
Sociologijos ir socialinio darbo institutas
El. paštas: arunas.poviliunas@fsf.vu.lt

Antanas Voznikaitis
Vilniaus universitetas
El. paštas:

Lina Mačiulė
Vilniaus universitetas
El. paštas:

Monika Juknienė
Vilniaus universitetas
El. paštas:

Elena Sinkevičiūtė
Vilniaus universitetas
El. paštas:

Rima Žilinskaitė
Vilniaus universitetas
El. paštas:

The presentation discusses the results of an experiment in the field of didactics of sociology. The experiment aimed to facilitate an epistemological break from the sociology of the social and to foster a shift towards the sociology of translation or the Actor-Network Theory (ANT). The experiment included two focus group discussions with PhD students of the life sciences. The focus groups were conducted by sociology master degree students. The first discussion group was an attempt to practice the principles of the sociology of the social (Mertonian type institutional sociology of science), whereas the second one was an attempt to break the limits of the sociology of the social and to induce an epistemological break in order to reveal the principles of the sociology of translation. To provoke Latourian critique of purification, which is the kernel of Modernity, the example of a Latourian hybrid of “genetic scissors”, or, more specifically, the genome-editing tool (CRISPR/Cas9), was utilised as a key topic during the discussion. The conceptualization of the didactic experiment is based upon ‘the new scientific spirit’ and the theory of its formation as elaborated by the French scientist and philosopher G. Bachelard, and introduces H. White`s theory of tropes that provides a novel interpretative framework for the formation of ‘the new scientific spirit’. The presentation also includes students’ reflections about the origin and role of the epistemological break in the formation of their sociological habitus.