S. Barry Barnes

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S. Barry Barnes (born 27 March 1943) was Professor of Sociology at the University of Exeter.

Barnes worked at the 'Science Studies Unit' at the University of Edinburgh with David Bloor from the 1970s through the early 1990s, where they developed the strong programme in the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge. He moved to the sociology department in Exeter in 1992. Barnes is known for regarding science as one form of culture among the variety of cultures in the human lifeworld and as defending a relativist approach to knowledge and science. This view was elaborated in his book: Scientific Knowledge and Sociological Theory (1974).

Main works[edit]

  • Scientific Knowledge and Sociological Theory,London ; Boston : Routledge and K. Paul, 1974.
  • Interests and the growth of knowledge, London ; Boston : Routledge and K. Paul, 1977.
  • with Steven Shapin (ed.), Natural order : historical studies of scientific culture, Beverly Hills, Calif ; London : Sage Publications, 1979.
  • with David Edge (ed.), Science in context : readings in the sociology of science, Milton Keynes : Open University Press, 1982.
  • About science, Oxford : Basil Blackwell, 1985.
  • The Nature of power, Cambridge : Polity, 1988.
  • Grays Thurrock district : a pictorial history, Chichester : Phillimore, 1988 ; 1991.
  • The Elements of social theory, London : UCL Press, 1995.
  • with David Bloor & John Henry, Scientific knowledge : a sociological analysis, Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Selected articles[edit]

  • On the Conventional Character of Knowledge and Cognition in: Philosophy of the Social Sciences 11/3, 1981, pp. 303–333-
  • Relativism, Rationalism and the Sociology of Knowledge (with David Bloor) in: Hollis, M./Lukes, S. (ed.): Rationality and Relativism, Cambridge (Mass.), MIT Press, 1982, pp. 21–47.
  • On the Extensions of Concepts and the Growth of Knowledge in: Sociological Review 30/1, 1982, pp. 23–45.
  • Relativism as a Completion of the Scientific Project in: Schantz, R./Seidel, M. (ed.): The Problem of Relativism in the Sociology of (Scientific) Knowledge, Frankfurt, ontos, 2011, pp. 23–39.


  • M. Mazzotti (ed.), Knowledge as Social Order. Rethinking the Sociology of Barry Barnes. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008.

External links[edit]