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Demarcations in crisis: the second Scientific Revolution and the 19th century science in Brazil

Grant number: 12/16899-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2012
Effective date (End): September 02, 2015
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology - Other specific Sociologies
Principal researcher:Leila da Costa Ferreira
Grantee:Marcelo Fetz de Almeida
Home Institution: Núcleo de Estudos e Pesquisas Ambientais (NEPAM). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:08/58159-7 - Urban growth, vulnerability and adaptation: social and ecological dimensions of climate change on the coast of São Paulo, AP.PFPMCG.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):13/12895-2 - Social Studies of Science: sociological perspectives of the social demarcation of scientific knowledge, BE.EP.PD


The "demarcation problem", an 'objective' criteria used by scientists to distinguish between science and non-science (pseudoscience), has constantly been criticized by sociologists, anthropologists and philosophers of science and, as result, we saw the growing of new ways to understanding the connection among different systematic discourses and different social agents, responsible for the development of new scientific practices. This research aims to contribute to the study of the "crisis of demarcation" through a sociological analysis of the Second Scientific Revolution worldview influence on the rising of Brazilian science in the nineteenth century (cultural background of a pre-institutional scientific activity) to, in sequence, provide a theoretical reflection about the problems of interdisciplinarity and integration of different scientific research programs and the communication of different social types (scientists, technicians and politicians) that are present in the current scientific frontier. This study will empirically improve the sociological reflections presented in the FAPESP 08/54743-6 doctoral project, detailing the importance of the scientific travel narratives formulated under the horizon of romantic science to the rising of Brazilian science, and should equally contribute to the elucidation of the scientific concerns presented in the FAPESP 08/58159-7 Thematic Project, highlighting the notoriety of a "sociology of social interests" as an intellectual principle to the comprehension of the emergence of scientific boundaries and their consequences to a social division of the research labor with an epistemological legitimacy. In a first stage, we propose an empirical study (an analysis of primary and secondary sources) focused on the explanation of the Second Scientific Revolution as part of the brazilian pre-institutional cultural background of the science development; in a second step, we propose a theoretical study of the crisis of demarcation criteria, resulted from the difficulty of defending the existence of an universal and ahistorical inflection point in the features of scientific thought. (AU)

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