Latour, B. (1987). Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Latour asks interesting questions about who actually does science. When we think of scientists, we think of the lonely researcher, alone at a workbench, separate from the rest of society. However, Latour demonstrates that this picture is incomplete. He traces the itinerary of a laboratory director as he flies around the world, talking to government officials to drum up more funding, talking to journal editors to convince them to open up a new section for submittals, talking to companies to refine their instruments to make the research that his lab does more effective. Is this lab director doing science in the colloquial sense? Certainly not! But when the researcher in the lab uses the extra funding to buy the new improved instruments to get results for a paper to be published in the new section of the journal, it becomes clear that the director is indispensable to science.

So who is actually doing the science? Latour answers the question by noting that because science must enlist many social actors in order to happen. So, in a sense, everybody is contributing to science. Governments through their funding, companies through their instruments, etc. He mentions the more typical theory that a genius scientist comes up with a brilliant theory which steamrolls its way across society, forcing millions of people to follow in its wake. He contrasts this with his theory that the millions of people are enlisted before the theory ever comes into existence, through various re-alignment of interests performed by the scientist. Since the people already have an interest in the research succeeding, once it does produce a theory, it is no wonder that it sweeps across society so fast.