Undone science: Charting social movement and civil society challenges to research agenda setting

Scott Frickel, Sahra Gibbon, Jeff Howard, Joanna Kempner, Gwen Ottinger, David J. Hess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

415 Scopus citations


"Undone science" refers to areas of research that are left unfunded, incomplete, or generally ignored but that social movements or civil society organizations often identify as worthy of more research. This study mobilizes four recent studies to further elaborate the concept of undone science as it relates to the political construction of research agendas. Using these cases, we develop the argument that undone science is part of a broader politics of knowledge, wherein multiple and competing groups struggle over the construction and implementation of alternative research agendas. Overall, the study demonstrates the analytic potential of the concept of undone science to deepen understanding of the systematic nonproduction of knowledge in the institutional matrix of state, industry, and social movements that is characteristic of recent calls for a "new political sociology of science.".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-473
Number of pages30
JournalScience Technology and Human Values
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Human-Computer Interaction


  • Environmental health
  • Research agendas
  • Science policy
  • Social movements
  • Undone science


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