Atoms, Bytes and Genes

Public Resistance and Techno-Scientific Responses

By Martin W. Bauer

© 2014 – Routledge

298 pages | 30 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415958035
pub: 2014-12-18
US Dollars$140.00
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About the Book

"Atom," "byte" and "gene" are metonymies for techno-scientific developments of the 20th century: nuclear power, computing and genetic engineering. Resistance continues to challenge these developments in public opinion. This book traces historical debates over atoms, bytes and genes which raised controversy with consequences, and argues that public opinion is a factor of the development of modern techno-science. The level and scope of public controversy is an index of resistance, examined here with a "pain analogy" which shows that just as pain impacts movement, resistance impacts techno-scientific mobilization: it signals that something is wrong, and this requires attention, elaboration and a response to the challenge. This analysis shows how different fields of enquiry deal with the resistance of social-psychological mentalities in the face of industrial, scientific and political activities inspired by projected futures.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Movement Redirected by Resistance 2. Mobilising a Different Future 3. The Atom: Bombs and Power 4. Environment, Safety and Sustainability 5. Ten Propositions on Learning from Resistance 6. The "Bytes" of Mainframes, PC and Social Media 7. Public Opinion and Its Discontents 8. Genes, Biotechnology and Genomics 9. Some Further Observations on Resistance. Appendix 1: Notes on Social Movement and Social Influence. Appendix 2: Chronologies of Atoms, Bytes and Genes.

About the Author

Martin W. Bauer is Professor of Social Psychology at London School of Economics and Political Sciences and the Editor of Public Understanding of Science.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Sociology

This series presents cutting-edge developments and debates within the field of sociology. It provides a broad range of case studies and the latest theoretical perspectives, while covering a variety of topics, theories and issues from around the world. It is not confined to any particular school of thought.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCI075000
SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects
SOC026000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
TEC052000
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Social Aspects