The Sisyphus Challenge of the 21st Century
Chapter 1: Knowledge, Technology and Production: A Conceptual Framework
This chapter introduces a set of basic concepts that will be used throughout the book. It begins with a discussion of prevailing views regarding the diffusion of Western science and then proposes an integrative framework to view the interactions between knowledge, technology and production and service activities. 1.1 THE DIFFUSION OF WESTERN SCIENCE In a well-known and widely inﬂuential paper George Basalla1 proposed a conceptual framework to explain the spread of Western science throughout the world. His model consists of three partly overlapping stages. In the ﬁrst stage, the non-scientiﬁc or pre-scientiﬁc society of the developing world constitutes a source of problems for European science to delve into; in the second, there is an incipient development of what Basalla calls ‘colonial science’; and in the third stage, developing countries struggle to establish an independent scientiﬁc tradition of their own. During the ﬁrst stage, a few European scientists visit the new lands, explore and collect fauna and ﬂora, study the geographical and physical characteristics of unexplored areas, and then return to their place of origin to complete their scientiﬁc work. In their relatively tranquil home academic settings, they put forward their theories and describe their empirical ﬁndings. A dependent ‘colonial science’ emerges in the second stage. Natural history continues to be the main focus of interest and attention, but the range of scientiﬁc activities and problems studied begins to expand until it almost coincides with that of the colonizing power. The colonial scientist is dependent...
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