Grass-counters, stock-feeders, and the dual orientation of applied science :the history of range science, 1895-1960
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According to the predominant image, applied science is a linear, sequential process, the application of science. First scientists or applied scientists develop knowledge that satisfies the epistemic criteria of science, and applied scientists then find ways to use this certified knowledge to solve society's problems. There is, therefore, a sharp distinction between epistemic or scientific criteria and social criteria. The historical development of the applied ecological discipline called range science or range management demonstrates instead that applied science is a simultaneous process. Range science developed at a time when America increasingly looked to science to solve social, political, and economic problems in the hope that science's ability to predict could provide the basis for organization and rational management. The institutionalization of range science industrialized ranching. Ranchers appealed to a variety of traditional American values in response to this industrialization, but in the new context surrounding ranching those values had become illegitimate. From the outset, range science acquired a dual orientation toward both the epistemic criteria of science and the social criteria of society. That dual orientation introduced a tension into range science because it was not obvious how range scientists should satisfy both sets of criteria simultaneously. Researchers in different institutional contexts developed distinct resolutions to that tension. The most significant difference between the institutions were their political objectives and a difference in the power relations between range researchers and their audiences. Those institutional contexts defined the social criteria and provided the background to judge the acceptability of particular resolutions of the tension, in the process providing the motivation and justification for range science. Nevertheless, range science was not just politics by another means because range scientists also satisfied the epistemic criteria of science. The distinction between epistemic and social criteria therefore did not exist in the historical development of range science because range scientists simultaneously satisfied the epistemic criteria of science and the social criteria that flowed from different political objectives and different power relations between researchers and ranchers.
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