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Anthropology, Sociology, and Parapsychology
Record Type: Review   ID: 1031

Deviant Science: The Case of Parapsychology

McClenon, James

 McClenon, who is both a sociologist and a parapsychologist, offers a sociology of science approach to the problem of parapsychology's lack of acceptance as a legitimate science. Attempts to scientifically investigate claims of phenomena labeled paranormal have been underway for over a century, yet no consensus regarding the facticity or ontological status of the phenomena has been achieved. And yet, stable social patterns have evolved surrounding the small number of scientists investigating the paranormal. According to the major theoretical orientations within the sociology of science, this shouldn't happen! Usually such groups last about 10 or 15 years, and then either become absorbed into mainstream science or die out. Neither has happened to parapsychology. The study on which this book is based involves the social processes by which legitimacy is granted or denied new forms of scientific inquiry, using parapsychology as an example. In conducting the study McClenon surveyed the attitudes of elite scientists towards ESP, parapsychology, and anomalous experience and interviewed parapsychologists.
Publisher Information:Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984. 282p. Bibl: 253-273; 4 figs; Ind: 275-282; 1 questionnaire; 17 tables
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