Mapping Scientific Method : Disciplinary Narrations book cover
1st Edition

Mapping Scientific Method
Disciplinary Narrations

ISBN 9781032273525
Published July 19, 2022 by Routledge India
360 Pages

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Book Description

This volume explores how the scientific method enters and determines the dominant methodologies of various modern academic disciplines. It highlights the ways in which practitioners from different disciplinary backgrounds –– the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences –– engage with the scientific method in their own disciplines.

The book maps the discourse (within each of the disciplines) that critiques the scientific method, from different social locations, in order to argue for more complex and nuanced approaches in methodology. It also investigates the connections between the method and the structures of power and domination which exist within these disciplines. In the process, it offers a new way of thinking about the philosophy of the scientific method.

Part of the Science and Technology Studies series, this volume is the first of its kind in the South Asian context to debate scientific methods and address questions by scholars based in the global south. It will be useful to students and practitioners of science, humanities, social sciences, philosophy of science, and philosophy of social science. Research scholars from these disciplines, especially those engaging in interdisciplinary research, will also benefit from this volume.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Method-o-logical Diversity: Seeking Disciplinary Narrations

Gita Chadha and Renny Thomas


Introduction to Part I

1. Methods in Substantivist Linguistics

Probal Dasgupta

2. 'If Not Precisely a Science': The Provocations of Literary Studies

Sharmila Sreekumar

3. Philosophy and Method

Sundar Sarukkai


Introduction to Part II

4. The Methods of Mathematics

Amber Habib

5. Questions of Method: The Philosophy and Practice of Modern Human Genetics

Chitra Kannabiran

6. Chemistry, Method, Science, and Society: A Conversation

Gita Chadha, Ram Ramaswamy and Renny Thomas

7. 'Between Clearing and Concealment': Knowledge-making in Physics

K. Sridhar


Introduction to Part III

8. Decolonising Method: Where Do We Stand in Political Studies?

Aditya Nigam

9. Betwixt And Between?: Anthropology’s Engagement with the Sciences and Humanities

Kamala Ganesh

10. Economics, Feminist Economics, and Women’s Studies: Methodological Orientations and Disciplinary Boundaries

Neetha N.

11. Method, Object, and Praxis: Marx and the Historians of Science

Rahul Govind

12. Psychology in India: Knowledge, Method, Nation

Sabah Siddiqui

13. Geography in India: Gendered Concerns and Methodological Issues

Saraswati Raju

14. Beyond the Postcolonial: Speculations on the Indian Contemporary

Yasmeen Arif

15. Towards New Ecologies of Method: A Speculative Afterword

Sasheej Hegde

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Gita Chadha is a faculty member at the Department of Sociology, University of Mumbai, India. Her areas of academic interests are sociological theory, feminist epistemologies, feminist science studies and visual cultures. Her publications include Feminists and Science: Critiques and Perspectives in India, Vo 1 & 2 (2015, 2017) and Reimaging Sociology in India: Feminist Perspectives (2018).


Renny Thomas is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Social Anthropology at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. He is the author of Science and Religion in India: Beyond Disenchantment (2022).


"Mapping Scientific Method is a superb addition to studies of the scientific method. Challenging the idea of any singular scientific method, the authors of this volume narrate the richness of disciplinary methods, and the innovations and imagination of the sciences. Taking on the "method ladenness" of knowledge, Chadha and Thomas have assembled a path breaking volume that adds to our understanding of the Eurocentrism of science, and more importantly offering us alternate genealogies and methods from the histories and sociologies of the sciences of South Asia. Eschewing claims of an idealized and false unity of science, the authors call for a multiplicity and diversity of method. They present on-the-ground complexities of how science is done in India in a variety of the natural and social sciences, and the humanities. Deeply committed to a project of reclaiming "science" as a critically important site for dealing with the complexities of the world, the volume reckons with science’s deep and wide global roots. With our growing interest in decolonization, this anthology will prove to be an indispensable collection of how we might diversify not only our methods and methodologies, but also our history, sociology and anthropology of the sciences." 

Banu Subramaniam, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA.


"How has the career of the ‘scientific method’ shaped our ways of knowing the world? This innovative and important collections suggests that decolonizing knowledge requires a head-on engagement with this question. And, that it is something more than cutting and pasting ‘other’ people’s histories into dominant historical and cultural narratives. It necessitates nuanced and localised immersion in the history of methods across disciplines at sites beyond the Euro-American academia. This, the volume argues, carries the potential for renewing the possibilities of critical thinking itself. As contributors to the volume lucidly demonstrate, such reflections also allow for an understanding of the post-colonial condition as well as alternatives to the hegemonies of both western scientific method and its caricatures in the non-western world."

Sanjay Srivastava, University College London, UK.