Looking at how scientists like Andrew Weaver, James Hansen, Stephen Schneider (and, more recently featured on ES, Mike Hulme) have ventured on to the public scene (with their general audience books) and have also had to “dig into” domains other than what their academic position titles denote, one finds reason to argue that these are all examples of deconstructing

1) disciplinarity (e.g., climate scientists going into economics, energy production), and
2) the idea of science, and academic scholarship in general, as a social-political recluse.

Are the above Western incarnations of the Confucian scholar-official concept, where those who have knowledge also have the social obligation to participate in the management of the state?

More interestingly, is the epistemological fluidity parallel to and independent of, or even licensed by the contemporaneous ubiquity of communication technologies?

Even more curiously, are these epistemological flows simultaneously a symptom of and a conduit for the flattening of hierarchical societal structures, which have been the norm for most of recorded history?

Ultimately, what part of the processes at work is expressible/perceivable through overt discourse? And what part belongs to a kind of “collective non-conscious” channeling human history, theorized more or less indirectly through concepts like Aristotle’s–Bourdieu’s “habitus”, Cornelius Castoriadis’s “imaginary”, and I’d tag likewise what underlies the Peircean a priori (what-feels-right) method of attaining to belief/resolving doubt?