Science is indispensable for the contemporary world, and its power is obvious to all the people. Although science has brought the human well-being, it leads to a number of unfortunate incidents. When people calls the social function of science in question, some outdated sayings once again become our focus of attention: What really is science. Do objectivity, reality and truth belong to the essential qualities of science or the praises we give to it? Is science a true reflection of nature or a kind of subjective social construction? With these problems conspicuous, we have once again began to think about science. Unlike the past, we are no longer restricted to philosophical speculation on science, but concentrate on the investigation of the production process of scientific knowledge and try to reveal the secrets behind the production of scientific knowledge. As the first scene of the production of scientific knowledge, laboratory has undoubtedly become our focus of attention, and therefore laboratory studies came into being.
In the 1960s laboratory studies became an important research field, and it was due to the complex background of social history and culture. In my opinion, there were three manifest reasons: firstly, the conversion of discourse from defense to criticism in the relationship of scientific philosophy to science; secondly, the rise of the sociology of scientific knowledge and microcosmic steering; thirdly, the local regression of anthropology and the rise of anthropology of science and technology. In particular, the laboratory studies, based on the sociology of scientific knowledge, was more attractive, because it was believed that scientific knowledge was the product of social construction, and nature played little role in the production of scientific knowledge. In order to find the first-hand evidence for the social construction of scientific knowledge in the laboratory, some philosophers and sociologists, in their capacity as anthropologists, began to make an in-depth investigation in the well-known laboratories of many countries. In order to find more evidence for their philosophical assertion of social construction,they adopted some new research methods, which were different from the traditional philosophical speculation, such as the methods of naturalism and empiricism, field survey and ethnographic methods of anthropology, and discourse analysis and research methods of ethnomethodology, etc.
Under the guidance of the program of the social construction, Bruno Latour, Knorr-Cetina and others came into the laboratory. They not only investigated and analysed the construction process between science fact and science research in detail, but also pointed out that the scientific knowledge, as they put it, was the product of social construction. However, social constructionism and its laboratory studies, because of the theoretical presupposition, the incompletion and irregularities in method using, and the insularity of conclusion, has suffered from various criticisms, and there was also a differentiation inside the sociology of scientific knowledge. As the expansion of laboratory studies and the improvement of the aboved-mentioned viewpoint, Bruno Latour ,Andrew Pickering and others began to shift the emphasis from the inside of the laboratory to the outside. They no longer simply considered the society as the determinant of scientific knowledge, but proposed the outlook of science, heterogeneous construction and practical construction, through the actor network theory and practice collide theory. Heterogeneous and practical constructivism of science led to the return of nature and broke the binary opposition of subject and object in the traditional philosophy. They not only combined the factors of the human and the non-human, but also in the scientific understanding took the element of time into account, which was undoubtedly of great significance. However, Heterogeneous construction and practical construction are not perfect, and science should be put into a larger context. On the one side, we should pay heed to the interior construction of scientific knowledge; on the other side, the inquiry into the relationship between science and technology also deserves our attention. We should not demonize science, but rather advocate a kind of a outlook of science as daily practice.
The whole dissertation is based on the above idea, and it is divided into six parts, of which, except the Introduction and Conclusion, the main part includes four chapters. In the Introduction, the significance and value of the investigation is demonstrated through the summary of the current situation of laboratory studies at home and abroad. in addition, give a summary elaboration on the research content, research methods and innovation made.In the following two chapters I articulate the background, development route, and the methods of laboratory studies. In the third chapter the content and the main consequence of laboratory studies has been explained in detail and social constructionism and laboratory studies have also been interpreted in different perspectives. The next chapter is concerned with the expansion of laboratory studies.In this chapter I explained the earlier laboratory studies and two improved programs, heterogeneous constructionism and practical constructionism, of which I has made a systematical and deep analysis. As the last part, the Conclusion, however, is very brief, it intensively reflects the main points of my own. After the systematical meditation on laboratory studies，I believe a daily practice scientific outlook will appear, and will become the important basis of understanding science for people.
Through the articulation of the background and methods of laboratory studies and the ductility interpretation of social constructionism, heterogeneous constructionism and practical constructionism, I try to propose a new outlook of science. Because of these, a new perspective, which is helpful to the people to approach, understand and reflect on science, will be supplied. Besides, this dissertation, based on sociology of scientific knowledge, scientific philosophy, sociology of science, anthropology, ethnomethodology and a series of theoretical systems of disciplines and their new progress, and including the comments on many contempory leading scholars, such as Bruno Latour , Knorr-Cetina , Michael Lynch, Andrew Pickering, Ian Hacking ,Joseph Rouse etc, will contribute to the domestic further studies on the involving fields.
Keywords: sociology of scientific knowledge; laboratory studies; social construction; heterogeneous construction; practical construction