Recently, Steven Shapin have identified a pathological form of professionalism in the history of science. He calls the disease hyperprofessionalism. Its symptoms include self-referentiality, self-absorption, and a narrowing of intellectual focus. Partly as a result of hyperprofessionalism, the history of science profession now suffers from a crisis of readership?. In contrast, ever since the publication of Dava Sobel?s surprising bestseller, Longitude, popular history of science has dramatically increased its readership. Some historians of science lament the Sobel Effect, whereas others take up the challenge by writing books for a broader audience. In effect, historians of science seemed to be faced with the choice between hyperprofessionalisation and hyperpopularisation. This paper attempts a first deconstruction of the twin notions of hyperprofessionalisation vs. hyperpopularisation.
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Challenging hyperprofessionalism: The intradisciplinarity of science, technology, medicine and climate studies, 2008