Beginning with the proposition, then, that the aristocracy of the scientistic turn is not just discursive, but also material, we need to ask what might appear at first as if a simple question: why? This question is calling not just for a simple diagnosis, but a crucial starting point in the critique of the epistemology of capitalism.
The traditional Marxist critique has always fallen at this point: for Marx, (at least at certain moments in his oeuvre) Socialism inevitably operates as a kind of science, a rationalised operative system that must deliver a clean and functional social model for living. The need now, it seems to me, is to go beyond that vulgar rationalism and to understand the relationship between power and resistance as a relationship that is abso;lutely internal to the system itself: in other words, Marx's critique of capitalism has operated always from within, as a symptom of that system.
The point here, without seeking to abandon the most useful elements of a critical Marxist model, would be to re-inscribe critical action into a broader configuration of the political such that it can operate beyond the epistemological straight-jacket of scientism. Where, in the rationalist model of living, might there be room for dirt, for randomness, for transgression? without attending to these matters, social theory from the left is stuck in a rationalizing idealism that in a very important sense belittles what might be termed (not unproblematically) the human.
The human in this new world, would be more than just a universalising principle, other than to note its structuring rather like the Hegelian not-all: it can never be captured as a singular unitary modality of being, never fully articulated through the symbolzations of science. It would operate as a space that is always already more than, ill-suited to, the modeling of societies, of living, of being, always in some sense dissonant (or at least not fully consonant).
Scientism finds such notions abhorrent, since its urge (put very crudely) is to capture and still the world, to explain it. The naive turn of scientism is a naivete that comes of its privilege, of its enthronement at the heart of the contemporary Western episteme.
That turn, as perhaps more materially embedded than ever, is also a turn that points to a certain impoverishment, a symptom of what we used to call its decadence. When science no longer needs to address the fundamental question of its own epistemological underpinning, when the question as to how science might be said to retrieve truth fades under a blistering confidence, that is the point at which it becomes a new kind of dogma, a new theology (and it is no surpise that the Christian right finds its home in the most scientist power of the modern era, the U.S.).
The material ground of this turn, it seems, to me, is a crucial place to start to look to understand how science maintains itself - the economics of epistemological coercion are crucial to the survival of capitalism as we understand it today. Start there and you might begin to unravel something...