Harry Collins

For other people named Harry Collins, see Harry Collins (disambiguation).
Harry Collins

Collins at a STS workshop in 2010
Born (1943-06-13) 13 June 1943
United Kingdom
Occupation Sociologist
Known for Bath School, Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (SSK)

Harry Collins (born 13 June 1943),[1] is a British sociologist of science at the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Wales. In 2012 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. His best known book is The Golem: What You Should Know About Science (1993).[2]


While at the University of Bath Professor Collins developed the Bath School approach to the sociology of scientific knowledge.

In Changing Order: Replication and Induction in Scientific Practice,[3] Collins outlines a general theory of sociology of science. Drawing from the concepts of "Language Game" and "Forms of Life", derived from the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, he seeks an explanation for how scientists follow rules and patterns when performing experiments and scientific practice. Collins' perspective is usually called a relativist position, although this is a strong oversimplification.

Collins has written for over 30 years on the sociology of gravitational wave physics. His publications in this area include: "The Seven Sexes: Study in Sociology of a Phenomenon, or Replication of Experiments in Physics" "Son of Seven Sexes: The Social Destruction of a Physical Phenomenon".[4] He has traced the search for gravitational waves, and has shown how scientific data can be subject to interpretative flexibility, and how social or 'non-scientific' means can be sometimes used to close scientific controversies.

In an article in Science as Practice and Culture, Collins and his co-writer Steven Yearley argue that the Actor-network theory (ANT) approach is a step backwards towards the positivist and realist positions held by early theory of science.[5]

More recently, Collins along with Dr Robert Evans, also of Cardiff University, has published works on what they term the "Third Wave of Science Studies" and, in particular, the idea of interactional expertise. This aims to address questions of legitimacy and extension and public involvement in scientific decision-making. They continue to research and publish on this topic.[6]

Selected works


Chapters in books

Journal articles


  1. "Collins, H. M. (Harry M.), 1943-". Library of Congress. Retrieved 15 February 2015. data sheet (b. 6/13/43)
  2. Collins, Harry M.; Pinch, Trevor (1998) [1993]. The golem: what you should know about science (2nd ed.). Cambridge England New York, New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107604650.
  3. Collins, Harry M. (1985). Changing order: replication and induction in scientific practice. London Beverly Hills: Sage Publications. ISBN 9780803997172.
  4. Collins, Harry M. (May 1975). "The seven sexes: a study in the sociology of a phenomenon, or the replication of experiments in physics". Sociology. Sage. 9 (2): 205–224. doi:10.1177/003803857500900202.
  5. Collins, Harry M.; Yearley, Steven (1992), "Epistemological chicken", in Pickering, Andrew, Science as practice and culture, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 301–327, ISBN 9780226668017.
  6. Collins, Harry M.; Evans, Robert (April 2002). "The third wave of science studies: studies of expertise and experience". Social Studies of Science. Sage. 32 (2): 235–296. doi:10.1177/0306312702032002003.

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 9/10/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.