Contemporary articles citing Bloor D (1991) Knowledge Social Ima
knowledge, sociological, scientific, finally, science, decades, should, ethical, epistemological, critique
- Abend, G. 2006. "Styles of Sociological Thought: Sociologies, Epistemologies, and the Mexican and Us Quests for Truth." Sociological Theory. 24:1 1-41.
- Both U.S. and Mexican sociologies allege that they are in the business of making true scientific knowledge claims about the social world. Conventional conceptions of science notwithstanding, I demonstrate that their claims to truth and scientificity are based on alternative epistemological grounds. Drawing a random sample of nonquantitative articles from four leading journals, I show that, first, they assign a different role to theories, and indeed they have dissimilar understandings of what a theory should consist of. Second, whereas U.S. sociology actively struggles against subjectivity, Mexican sociology maximizes the potentials of subjective viewpoints. Third, U.S. sociologists tend to regard highly and Mexican sociologists to eagerly disregard the principle of ethical neutrality. These consistent and systematic differences raise two theoretical issues. First, I argue that Mexican and U.S. sociologies are epistemologically, semantically, and perceptually incommensurable. I contend that this problem is crucial for sociology's interest in the social conditioning of scientific knowledge's content. Second, I suggest four lines of thought that can help us explain the epistemological differences I find. Finally, I argue that sociologists would greatly profit from studying epistemologies in the same fashion they have studied other kinds of scientific and nonscientific beliefs.
- Breslau, D. 2000. "Sociology After Humanism: a Lesson From Contemporary Science Studies." Sociological Theory. 18:2 289-307.
- The field of science studies is the site of an explicit reflection on the ontological premises of sociology, with rival approaches defined by distinctive ways of specifying the basic constituents of reality. This article takes advantage of this debate to compare three types of ontological schemes in terms of their internal coherence and their consequences for sociology. Sociological in terms of their internal coherence and their consequences for sociology. Sociological humanism-represented by proponents of the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK)-distinguishes between an immanent domain of social relations, a transcendent and meaningless material reality, and an intermediate, socially constructed level of knowledge, meaning and culture. Symmetrical humanism-as found in the recent writings of Andrew Pickering-insists that society too should be placed among the constructions, thereby disqualifying it as a source of explanations of human agency and leaving a detached and self-moving human agent. The relational ontology-exemplified by the ``actor-network'' approach of Bruno Latour adn others-make no a priori distinctions between humans and others, or between trandscendent reality and construction, treating these properties as outcomes. The two humanist approaches are found to be incoherent as ontological schemes and also, contrary to the antisociological stance of the actor-network approach, it is found that the relational ontology provides a consistent basis for sociological explanations of human practices.
- Vandenberghe, F. 1999. "``the Real Is Relational'': an Epistemological Analysis of Pierre Bourdieu's Generative Structuralism." Sociological Theory. 17:1 32-67.
- An internal reconstruction and an immanent critique of Bourdieu's generative structuralism is presented. Rather than starting with the concept of ``habitus,'' as is usually done, the article tries to systematically reconstruct Bourdieu's theory by an analysis of the relational logic that permeates his whole work. Tracing the debt Bourdieu's approach owes to Bachelard's rationalism and Cassirer's relationalism, the article examines Bourdieu's epistemological writings of the 1960s and 70s. It tries to make the case that Bourdieu's sociological metascience represents a rationalist version of Bhaskar's critical realism, and enjoins Bourdieu to give heed to the realist turn in the philosophy of the natural and the social sciences. The article shows how Bourdieu's epistemological assumptions are reflected in his primary theoretical constructs of ``habitus `` and ``field.'' To concretize their discussion, it analyzes Bourdieu's reinterpretation of Weber in his theory of the field of religion and of the young Mannheim in his theory of the scientific field.
- Martin, JL. 1998. "Authoritative Knowledge and Heteronomy in Classical Sociological Theory." Sociological Theory. 16:2 99-130.
- This article traces the impact of philosophical questions regarding the grounds of moral autonomy and heteronomy (rule-from-another as opposed to rule-from-oneself) on classical sociological theory, arguing that both Weber and Durkheim understood sociology to have a contribution to make in the debate,with Kant over the grounds of ethical action. Both insisted that the only possible ethical action was one within the bounds of rational knowledge that was inherently authoritative, but this sat uneasily with their focus on the relation between concrete social authority and the authoritativeness of beliefs in the sociology of religion. In rejecting Comte's explicit avowal of the embodiment of moral authority in the secular priesthood of sociologist, Weber and Durkheim had to paper over the social authority supporting the formulation of this rational knowledge. Each then produced a sociology of knowledge without a well-specified mechanism, in turn encouraging the development of the sociology of knowledge as ct flawed sub-discipline.
- Pels, D. 1996. "Karl Mannheim and the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge: Toward a New Agenda." Sociological Theory. 14:1 30-48.
- In previous decades, a regrettable divorce has arisen between two currents of theorizing and research about knowledge and science: the Mannheimian and Wittgensteinian traditions. The radical impulse of the new social studies of science in the early 1970s was initiated not by followers of Mannheim, but by Wittgensteinians such as Kuhn, Bloor, and Collins. This paper inquires whether this Wittgensteinian program is not presently running into difficulties that might be resolved to some extent by reverting to a more traditional and broader agenda of research. A social theory of knowledge (or social epistemology) along Mannheimian lines would not only reinstate the ``magic triangle'' of epistemology, sociology, and ethics, and hence revive the vexed problem of ``ideology critique,'' but would also need to reincorporate the social analysis of science into a broader macrosocial theory about the ``knowledge society.''
- GOLDMAN, H. 1994. "From Social-theory to Sociology of Knowledge and Back - Karl Mannheim and the Sociology of Intellectual Knowledge Production." Sociological Theory. 12:3 266-278.
- This paper proposes a reconsideration of Karl Mannheim and his work from the viewpoint of the needs of sociological theory. It points out certain affinities between Mannheim and some contemporary theorists, such as Gramsci and Foucault, and then reflects on certain problems in Mannheim's work, particularly the response to `'relativism'' and the hope of creating new `'syntheses'' through the sociology of knowledge. Finally, it proposes ways to draw on the sociology of intellectuals, inspired by Mannheim, in order to advance the understanding of social theory.
- Breslau, D. 2003. "Economics Invents the Economy: Mathematics, Statistics, and Models in the Work of Irving Fisher and Wesley Mitchell." Theory and Society. 32:3 379-411.
- The ``embeddedness'' of economic life in social relations has become a productive analytical principle and the basis of a penetrating critique of economic orthodoxy. But this critique raises another important, social and historical question, of how the economy became ``disembedded'' in the first place - how the multitude of transactions designated (somewhat arbitrarily) as economic were abstracted from the rest of social life and reconstituted as an object, the economy, which behaves according to its own logic. This article investigates the social sources of some innovations in economic thought that contributed to the emergence of the economy, particularly statistical indicators and mechanical models. By examining the redefinitions of the object of economic research developed by Irving Fisher and Wesley Mitchell in the 1890s and the first decades of the twentieth century, I argue that the abstraction of the economy from the remainder of social life was a strategy linked to the position of these innovators within the field of economics, conceived as a social structure. Possessing a specialized scientific cultural capital, but lacking upper class background, contacts, and dispositions that characterized the founders of academic economics, Fisher and Mitchell elaborated new definitions of their discipline's object of study, and a new type of economic expertise.
- Abend, Gabriel. 2008. "Two Main Problems in the Sociology of Morality." Theory and Society. 37:2 87-125.
- Sociologists often ask why particular groups of people have the moral views that they do. I argue that sociology's empirical research on morality relies, implicitly or explicitly, on unsophisticated and even obsolete ethical theories, and thus is based on inadequate conceptions of the ontology, epistemology, and semantics of morality. In this article I address the two main problems in the sociology of morality: (1) the problem of moral truth, and (2) the problem of value freedom. I identify two ideal-typical approaches. While the Weberian paradigm rejects the concept of moral truth, the Durkheimian paradigm accepts it. By contrast, I argue that sociology should be metaphysically agnostic, yet in practice it should proceed as though there were no moral truths. The Weberians claim that the sociology of morality can and should be value free; the Durkheimians claim that it cannot and it should not. My argument is that, while it is true that factual statements presuppose value judgments, it does not follow that sociologists are moral philosophers in disguise. Finally, I contend that in order for sociology to improve its understanding of morality, better conceptual, epistemological, and methodological foundations are needed.
- Fukase-Indergaard, Fumiko & Michael Indergaard. 2008. "Religious Nationalism and the Making of the Modern Japanese State." Theory and Society. 37:4 343-374.
- This article explores the role of religious nationalism in the making of the modern Japanese state. We describe a process of adaptation featuring bricolage, as an alternative to imitation accounts of non-Western state formation that privilege Western culture. The Meiji state, finding it could not impose Shinto as a state religion, selectively drew from religio-nationalist currents and Western models for over two decades before institutionalizing State Shinto. Although we see some similarities to Europe, distinctive features of the Japanese case suggest a different path to modernity: a lack of separation between state and religion, an emphasis on ritual and a late (and historically condensed) development of popular religious nationalism, which was anchored by State Shinto disciplinary devices including school rituals and shrines deifying the war dead.