My research covers a wide range of topics. The connections among the varied strands may not be clear to readers who come across just one or two books or articles. This page offers an overview of my work as a whole.
The links below connect to major theoretical themes and empirical focal points in my published work. Each briefly describes how I treat that theme or topic and offers a short list of illustrative publications. These lists contain pieces that have been anthologized or treated as classics, as well as pieces that represent my recent thinking.
- Much of my work centers on the construction of public reason in contemporary democracies. What makes this work distinctive is that, in contrast to classical political theory, I analyze how practices of expert knowledge-making and background beliefs about science influence the modes of argument and persuasion that count as good justification for public policies and legal decisions.
- Unlike much STS scholarship that focuses primarily on the construction of facts and artifacts, my work also explores the reception and uptake of scientific claims and technical constructs in the public sphere. A particular focus is on what I call civic epistemologies, that is, the stylized, culturally specific ways in which publics demand knowledge for governance to be produced, tested, and put to use.
- My theoretical work demonstrates the ongoing co-production of natural and social orders in modern societies, especially at the macro-scales of national and global science and technology policy (see also global governance). I show how the metaphysical project of getting the world right as an object of knowledge is inseparable from the social and political project getting the right world as a place of good order, norms, and governance.
- Methodologically, my work is especially identified with comparative studies of scientific and political cultures. Though STS has done much to display the contingency of facts and claims, my comparative research demonstrates the surprising durability of modes of reasoning and routines of knowledge-making in political cultures.
- In recent work, I explore the role of sociotechnical imaginaries in perpetuating collective understandings of the ends to be gained through science and technology.
- The substantive areas that my work has helped illuminate include, most importantly, law, science, and technology; risk and regulation; expertise and science advice; biotechnology and bioethics; and global governance.