Volume 72, 2018
The Frankfurt School, Science and Technology Studies, and the “Entrepreneurial University”
Since World War II social theory has generated two major critical analyses of science as a social phenomenon: that of the Frankfurt School, and of Science and Technology Studies. These academic efforts grew out of a broader movement in Western societies in the decades following the war to reach a better accommodation between science and society, motivated by deep-seated popular anxieties about the challenges posed by the advance of science and technology. In this paper, I first examine the overlooked parallels between these two academic efforts, and go on to explain why they would in the end prove fruitless, indeed somewhat self-defeating. The explanation points to the instrumentalist and constructivist conception of science shared by the two schools which would eventually play into the hands of the “entrepreneurial university” and the commodification of science.