Cultures of science: translation and knowledge
DOI link for Cultures of science: translation and knowledge
Cultures of science: translation and knowledge book
By way of a conclusion, I want to ask how we can claim to know things about cultures. This may sound odd after a whole book suggesting different ways of interpreting different forms and practices. However, we have not asked how we might assess whether they are truthful accounts of the world-what is called their epistemology. In cultural geography this often raises the ideas of relativism, reflexivity and self-reflexivity. On the first count, relativism is often part of the background of cultural studythough not always, and rarely without reservations. Many would regard it as unethical, and often counter-productive, to study a different culture with a view to saying how it is worse than our own or to take our own culture as normal. This does not mean we can never criticise but that we need to be careful that it is not just our prejudices shaping such a criticism. For instance, peoples who live by hunting and gathering may have developed very elaborate cultures - with as many rules and quirks as our own; they may have very sophisticated local know ledges, though they may not have as much technological knowledge. Why call these cultures primitive? A trite example from the developed world would be to attempt to evaluate the culture of a jazz fan with a blues fan-a careful comparison might reveal interesting differences, but saying which is better is likely to prove impossible. This is not to say cultural geographers can never judge. It might be better to say they should be careful never to prejudge.