Department of Humanities and Social Sciences

Indian Institute of Technology Ropar

HSS Seminar

‘Coevolution of Science and Society’


Dr. Sambit Mallick

March 8, 2019, Friday, at 10:30 AM

Venue:  Conference Room 2


In the 1990s, the post-world war II consensus on science and the state began to be  disintegrated not just in the developed world but most parts of the developing world drawn into the frame of science and development during the decades of decolonization. This disintegration was itself a product of the coevolution of state and science, as well as the mutual transformations engendered by this parallel evolution. These transformations have been studied, analysed and investigated by sociologists of science in the West, who have identified for us; (a) the transformations in the world of knowledge production and the move from so-called mode 1 to mode 2 knowledge production, and (b) the changes in the ethos of science from Merton’s CUDOS to Ziman’s PLACE which then marks the emergence of so- called post-academic science.

The intent of this lecture is to engage with the different dimensions of such phenomenon, and

to reflexively turn upon and examine the realms of changing relationship between science, state and society. It is then suggested that the contributors take up concepts, theories and  frameworks that shape contemporary discussion on the science, state and society relationship

in India and establish how the contexts of the elaborations of these concepts and frames have

changed – approaching very specific manifestations in their respective domains of investigation. In other words, the seminar is expected (a) to chronicle the transformations of the relationship between science and society in a variety of spheres, and (b) at the same time engage and situate the changing conceptual and theoretical developments that enable us to frame this relationship.

This lecture highlights how science in the capitalist world has entered into a state of crisis, due primarily to the subjugation of scientific research to the capitalist monopolies and to military purposes, and the conflict between new discoveries and old idealist and metaphysical ideas. As the general crisis of capitalism has developed and become more acute, so has the confusion in scientific theory and distortion of scientific practices developed and increased with it. In this context, it is important to deploy science as a weapon for its self-introspection and advancement, as a social and philosophical investigation. The more scientific research has expanded and the greater these requirements has become, the more it has fallen under the control of the monopolies and their governments, and particularly the military. Science is  expected to contribute to profits and wars, and to answer just those particular problems in which the capitalist monopolies are interested, which is by no means the same as answering the problems bound up with the further development of science and with the interests of the people. Thus science becomes more commercialized, militarized, disorganized and distorted.


About the speaker:

Dr. Sambit Mallick is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati. Dr. Mallick obtained his PhD, M.Phil and MA Degrees from the Department of Sociology, School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad. His research interests include Sociology of Science and Technology; Historical Sociology, Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation and Philosophy of the Social Sciences.  His recent works cover Rice Biotechnology Research in India, Politics of Genetically Modified Crops and Intellectual Property Rights in relation to Plant Molecular Biology in India.