The Butterfly and the Frigate: Social Studies of Science in Japan

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Contributed date

July 18, 2018 - 12:33am

Critical Commentary

In this 1989 "Country Report," Low argues that "despite some exceptions, much of the stimulating work on Japanese science has come from outside the country."  (313) Low explains that literature in Japan on Japanese science serves to mystify science and perpetuate stereotypical banaries such as "us/them," "East and West", and "victim and aggressor." 

According to Low, social studies of science in general and the history of science in particular have suffered from poor institutional support, giving rise to a class of "scientist-historians" who write about science from from the perspective of their own positions within the sciences. 

Low devotes the bulk of his article discussing the discursive conditions in which Japanese understandings of science have developed, using a framework of "colonial science," to challenge the binaristic framings of Japanese history. 



Cite as

Morris Low, "The Butterfly and the Frigate: Social Studies of Science in Japan", contributed by Grant Jun Otsuki, STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 12 August 2018, accessed 21 June 2024.