I'd guess the answer is obvious My nextdoor neighbor's field is Linguistics. She specializes in Sociolinguistics---what can you tell about society from the words people use, and avoid using. She can listen to the news coverage of an event and often get an essay out of the linguistic behavior she picks up. yeah, there is quite a Sociology of Science and working scientists love to talk about it---mainly at the level of anecdote. The changing fashions in terminology are only part of the story. But they are an important part. Different groups of scientists will sometimes push different concepts and there can be academic battles over whether or not to use some word. So it would seem there is a Sociolinguistics of Science, or a Sociology of Scientific Language. And I guess a smart Social Science grad student could get a thesis in it. I wish I was more up-to-date on what's going on in Sociology but I think that (well first of all my neighbor the Sociolinguist is wonderful and extremely funny and if she hasnt done something on the Sociology of Science then I'll bet she knows someone who has) A great thesis topic IMO would be the linguistic controversy that seems to be going on about whether to say the word Race or not! ------ I think it is an interesting thing to watch. It mainly has to do with human social behavior and especially contemporary language behavior. If they decide to use the word then they become responsible. they have to take charge of it and use it in a sufficiently sophisticated way that they know what they mean by it in any given context. They have to invent rules of usage, as you can have and may need to have with technical terms. If they decide not to use the word then they have to invent synonyms and also do the same thing: make explicit definitions and rules of usage. ------ By the way, I think in any Sociology of Language discussion the etymology of words should be mentioned. Some people maybe dont care about word origins and dont think they matter. but I disagree. Since there is so much excitement around the word race, i would like to know what language the word comes from and what it originally meant. Anybody know? Just to be fair, same question about posible alternative terms like "cluster" "subspecies" "population group" "scion" "clanoid" "isolate" "gene class". Some of these are not actual words, just possible words, and some mean different things and would have to be re-defined, but that is possible too. My websters says the word Race can either mean root, coming from Latin radix by way of Old French rais like there is this word "deracinate" meaning to up-root and then there are several other meanings like footrace etc. and then there is the meaning we are concerned with, where Websters just says it is related to the Italian word RAZZA and is of "origin unknown". So the word Race that people are making a fuss about is "origin unknown" But I heard someone say it might possibly come from Latin "generatio"---begetting---which would be a connections to genes.