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Science, Society and Power

Science, Society and Power
Environmental Knowledge and Policy in West Africa and the Caribbean


  • Date Published: October 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521535663

£ 39.99

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About the Authors
  • In this book, James Fairhead and Melissa Leach bring science to the heart of debates about globalisation, exploring transformations in global science and contrasting effects in Guinea, one of the world's poorest countries, and Trinidad, a more prosperous, industrialised and urbanised island. The book focuses on environment, forestry and conservation sciences that are central to these countries and involve resources that many depend upon for their livelihoods. It examines the relationships between policies, bureaucracies and particular types of scientific enquiry and explores how ordinary people, the media and educational practices engage with this. In particular it shows how science becomes part of struggles over power, resources and legitimacy. The authors take a unique ethnographic perspective, linking approaches in anthropology, development and science studies. They address critically prominent debates in each, and explore opportunities for new forms of participation, public engagement and transformation in the social relations of science.

    • Brings science to the heart of debates about globalisation
    • A highly distinctive comparative study of science, drawing on anthropology, development and science studies
    • A detailed ethnographic approach based on sustained use of primary fieldwork gathered by the authors in the Republic of Guinea, and Trinidad and Tobago
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In this timely book, Fairhead and Leach … effectively demolish persistent stereotypes associated with science, governance, development, and globalization … Science, Society, and Power presents a rich and detailed narrative accompanied by insightful analysis. It should provoke a much-needed re-evaluation of the 'Risk Society' hypothesis, which characterizes community engagement with science as a peculiarity of late modernity.' Steve Rayner, Director, ESRC Science in Society Programme and Professor of Science in Society, University of Oxford

    'A remarkable and fascinating book. Fairhead and Leach combine the ethnographic study of two 'developing' countries with a thorough grasp of wider theoretical debates over science and society. They bring a much-needed anthropological perspective to issues of scientific governance and the social relations of science and policy. Our understanding of the international and local dynamics of environmental practice is accordingly transformed. This book has significant implications for both social scientific understanding and the development of future forms of governance. At a time when the interaction of social life and scientific practice is more important than ever, Science, Society and Power addresses crucial issues and deserves a very wide readership.' Alan Irwin, Brunel University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2003
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521535663
    • length: 284 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • contains: 11 b/w illus. 4 maps 6 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Science and society: an ethnographic approach
    2. Science and globalising in governance
    3. Science and policy in Trinidad and Guinea: comparative settings
    4. Biodiversity and conservation in Guinea
    5. Biodiversity and conservation in Trinidad
    6. Sustainable timber production and forest management in Guinea
    7. Sustainable timber production and forest management in Trinidad
    8. Science and policy in society: mass-media and education
    9. Reflections on science, society and power.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • People, Places and Ecosystems
  • Authors

    James Fairhead, University of Sussex
    James Fairhead is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex. He has jointly authored, with Melissa Leach, Misreading the African Landscape: Society and Ecology in a Forest-Savanna Mosaic (CUP, 1996) and Reframing Deforestation: Global Analyses and Local Realities - Studies in West Africa (1998).

    Melissa Leach, University of Sussex
    Melissa Leach is Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. She has jointly authored, with James Fairhead, Misreading the African Landscape: Society and Ecology in a Forest-Savanna Mosaic (CUP, 1996) and Reframing Deforestation: Global Analyses and Local Realities - Studies in West Africa (1998).

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