Principal AimsDocumenting the establishment of modern science and technology in both European and non-European societies is essential to the attainment of a number of closely related aims and objectives:
Understanding how a particular scientific locality assimilates and institutionalizes the procedures and values of modern science cannot be based on knowledge of a single country alone. Rather, many localities of great cultural, political and economic diversity must be studied together. The attempt must be made to formulate a comparative analytical framework that will accord with theoretical perspectives in a number of academic disciplines while not requiring Procrustean contortion of the various cultural traditions. No small task, but a systematic start surely involves defining comparative categories based on the existing scholarly literature.
- To facilitate cross-cultural comparison of the many and varied social and intellectual environments in which modern science and technology have come into being.
- To help understand the processes by which local institutional accommodation may promote or inhibit the initial success and sustained hegemony of Western science and technology.
- To identify the contribution of particular cultural traditions to human intellectual advancement.
- To better understand the diffusion of ideas, and the transplantation of institutional structures, from one cultural setting to another.
- To examine globally the local integration of the networks that constitute Western science and technology, seeking to discover the relationship of this process to economic development, to political and economic independence, and to the conservation of cultural integrity.
- To help clarify the nature of modern science itself: separating apparently universal elements - institutionally and methodologically invariant - from apparently local elements - diverse in structure and content.
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