Some years ago, Derek de Solla Price, the historian of science, described his discipline as a first-rate subject of second level importance. Price felt that his subject was a vicarious one. He emphasized the primacy of science as a creative act and considered the historian of science as merely someone who reconstructs the formal act. This “priceless” perspective also marks the professional sense of many literary critics. George Steiner remarked that every time the literary critic looks back, he sees the eunuch’s shadow. He adds that he would rather forge one paragraph of Tolstoy or Dostoevsky than write critical comments on them. This sense of voyeurism has marked both disciplines, a sense of secondariness which literary criticism has at least abandoned after the emergence of Barthes and the discovery of Bakhtin. Literary criticism today is a creative act in its own terms. Science Studies, I am afraid, has still not arrived at this twice-born state.
The Future of Science Studies
by Shiv Visvanathan, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, 01 January, 2005