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Dissertation Information for Susan Leigh Star

NAME:
- Susan Leigh Star
- (Alias) Leigh Star

DEGREE:
- Ph.D.

DISCIPLINE:
- Library and Information Science

SCHOOL:
- University of California, San Francisco (USA) (1983)

ADVISORS:
- None

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
- None

MPACT Status: Incomplete - Not_Inspected

Title: SCIENTIFIC THEORIES AS GOING CONCERNS: THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE LOCALIZATIONIST PERSPECTIVE IN NEUROPHYSIOLOGY, 1870-1906

Abstract: This thesis in the sociology of science describes the development of a scientific perspective as based in daily work, professional and institutional constraints. The development of the localizationist perspective in British neurophysiology from 1870-1906 is analyzed. This perspective developed from four lines of work (neurology, physiology, surgery and pathology), and with several intersecting contexts (the growth of medical specialization, lack of support for British physiology, professionalization of physicians and surgeons, the antivivisection battle, and patients' physical and economic situations). Its components included the ideas that mind is carried upon an anatomical substrate, within a hierarchically-ordered nervous system; that the individual mind is contained within the skull; and that nervous system functions may be observed by deleting parts of it.

The thesis argues that these multiple contexts combined to form a perspective that became both robust (drawing on and applicable in many sites) and obdurate (constructed in ways that were not publicly replicable). As a successful perspective, localizationism had five properties: inertia (once set in motion stayed in motion), momentum (rapid spread), progressive inseparability of parts, cumulative reification, and incompleteness at any one point.

The data for the study are drawn from several sources: laboratory notebooks of localizationist David Ferrier; records of the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic, London; nineteenth century medical and scientific journals, and modern secondary sources. A pilot study was conducted at a modern neurophysiology lab in order to develop theoretical sampling questions about daily work. The analytic perspective employed here is symbolic intraction/Pragmatism, emphasizing work and negotiations as well as the material constraints upon them. The data are analyzed with the grounded theory method, a comparative, inductive technique used here qualitatively.

The six chapters of the thesis analyze different aspects of the perspective's development: the formal analytic properties of a perspective; institutional and professional contexts; uncertainty in daily work and triangulation of clinical and basic evidence; tactics in the debate about localization; the adoption of psychophysical parallelism by neurophysiologists; and the persistence of the perspective and an overview of its fate to the present. Two appendices present translations of excerpts from the work of antilocalizationists F. Goltz and M. Panizza.

MPACT Scores for Susan Leigh Star

A = 0
C = 4
A+C = 4
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2012-07-30 16:20:23

Advisors and Advisees Graph

Directed Graph

Students under Susan Leigh Star

ADVISEES:
- None

COMMITTEESHIPS:
- Mark Aaron Spasser - University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (1998)
- John Isenhour - University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2000)
- Laura Jeanne Neumann - University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2001)
- Cory Philip Knobel - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2010)