This highly original work presents laboratory science in a deliberately skeptical way: as an anthropological approach to the culture of the scientist. Drawing on recent work in literary criticism, the authors study how the social world of the laboratory produces papers and other "texts,"' and how the scientific vision of reality becomes that set of statements considered, for the time being, too expensive to change. The book is based on field work done by Bruno Latour in Roger Guillemin's laboratory at the Salk Institute and provides an important link between the sociology of modern sciences and laboratory studies in the history of science.
"The pioneering 'laboratory study' in the sociology of scientific knowledge. . . . The first and, deservedly, the most influential book-length account of day-to-day work in a single laboratory setting."--ISIS
"Laboratory Life succeeds and will continue to succeed, and to win friends and allies, because it contains good, persuasive ideas, such as the analyses of modalities and of splitting. These ideas have been generated by excellent social scientists. All the rest is so much window undressing."--H. M. Collins, Isis
"Eight years after Laboratory Life first came out, it is still one of my favourite books on the social studies of science. . . . [F]or those in the business of reflecting on the nature of science who have not yet read Laboratory Life, here is a good opportunity to catch up and do so."--Ditta Bartels, Metascience