Science has a peculiar status in modern society. Its institutions and practitioners are widely perceived as being neutral, objective, value free, above mere human politics. Yet this is far from being the case. The history of science, its errors as well as its successes, its peculiar obsessions and its ideological role as a legitimator of the social order, cannot be understood unless we recognize that scientists can only approach the world in ways which are shaped by their own class perspectives and their assumptions as predominantly white males in a racist and patriarchal society. This is not to say that knowledge about the material world cannot be obtained or is entirely subjective, but that there is a constant dialectic between the scientist as a social being, living and working in a particular historical conjuncture, and the material reality of the world being studied.
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