Contemporary articles citing Fleck L (1979) Genesis Dev Sci Fact
science, concept, rather, sociological, agency, knowledge, explain, his, draws, approach
- Silver, Daniel. 2011. "The Moodiness of Action." Sociological Theory. 29:3 199-222.
- This article argues that the concept of moodiness provides significant resources for developing a more robust pragmatist theory of action. Building on current conceptualizations of agency as effort by relational sociologists, it turns to the early work of Talcott Parsons to outline the theoretical presuppositions and antinomies endemic to any such conception; William James and John Dewey provide an alternative conception of effort as a contingent rather than fundamental form of agency. The article then proposes a way forward to a nonvoluntarist theory of action by introducing the notion of moodiness, highlighting how the concept permits a richer conceptualization of actors' prereflexive involvement in and relatedness to nonneutral, demanding situations. Effort is reconceptualized as a moment in a broader process of action, where the mood is fragile and problematical. Finally, the article draws all of these elements together in an outline of a unified portrait of the pragmatist action cycle that includes both creativity and moodiness as essential moments.
- Reay, Mike. 2010. "Knowledge Distribution, Embodiment, and Insulation." Sociological Theory. 28:1 91-107.
- This article looks at how parts of a social stock of knowledge can become insulated from each other via their uneven distribution both ``horizontally'' across time and space, and ``vertically'' with respect to degrees of embodiment in unconscious habits and routines. It uses ideas from Alfred Schutz, Peter Berger, Thomas Luckmann, Michael Polanyi, and others to argue that this insulation can produce a highly dynamic structuring of knowledge, awareness of which has the potential to help explain the existence of ignorance, misperception, and multiple interpretations in different social settings. This potential is illustrated with examples taken from a study of American economists, showing how an approach considering insulation can improve understanding of at least one currently influential branch of knowledge. The article also suggests briefly how such an approach might augment recent theories of habitual action by accounting for both stability and change, and even help with some longstanding epistemological problems in social theory.
- Abbott, Andrew. 2007. "Against Narrative: a Preface to Lyrical Sociology." Sociological Theory. 25:1 67-99.
- This article develops a concept of lyrical sociology, a sociology I oppose to narrative sociology, by which I mean standard quantitative inquiry with its ``narratives'' of variables as well as those parts of qualitative sociology that take a narrative and explanatory approach to social life. Lyrical sociology is characterized by an engaged, nonironic stance toward its object of analysis, by specific location of both its subject and its object in social space, and by a momentaneous conception of social time. Lyrical sociology typically uses strong figuration and personification, and aims to communicate its author's emotional stance toward his or her object of study, rather than to ``explain'' that object. The analysis considers many examples and draws on literary criticism, the philosophy of time, and the theory of emotion. It also addresses contemporary debates in ethnography.
- 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.
- Turner, S. 1999. "The Significance of Shils." Sociological Theory. 17:2 125-145.
- Edward Shils was a widely recognized but misunderstood thinker The original contexts of his thought are not well understood and greatly distorted by associating him with the concerns of Parsons. Shils provides a fully comparable alternative to the thought of Habermas and Foucault, with essentially similar roots: practice theory, the dissolution of Marxism in the twenties, and Carl Schmitt. Though Shils was indebted to the American sociological tradition with respect to these issues his sources were outside it: in Hendrik de Man, T. S. Eliot, and Michael Polanyi. It is shown how Shils responded to Schmitt's argument about the inherent conflict between democracy and liberalism in terms of an account of civility and tradition, and how this argument results in a critique of Foucault, Habermas, and collectivistic liberalism.
- Jones, MP. 1996. "Posthuman Agency: Between Theoretical Traditions." Sociological Theory. 14:3 290-309.
- With his recent introduction of ``posthumanism,'' a decentered variant of constructivist sociology of science, Andrew Pickering advertises novel conceptual resources for social theorists. fn fact, he tenders nothing less than a fundamental reordering of social thought. By invoking the concept of ``material agency,'' Pickering seeks to redefine the relationship between ``Nature `` and ``Society,'' while dismissing the ``humanist bias'' inherent in sociological inquiry. However, for all its ambition and good intentions, posthumanism delivers only analytical inconsistencies, the consequences of an uneasy synthesis of pragmatist and poststructuralist influences. When translated into the language of conventional sociological theory, these problems surface as an inadequate treatment of human agency The works of the original pragmatists, particularly C.S. Peirce and G.H. Mead, illustrate how the objectives of posthumanism can be achieved without decentering, suggesting a renewed appreciation of ``humanist'' sociologies.
- Swedberg, Richard. 2012. "Theorizing in Sociology and Social Science: Turning to the Context of Discovery." Theory and Society. 41:1 1-40.
- Since World War II methods have advanced very quickly in sociology and social science, while this has not been the case with theory. In this article I suggest that one way of beginning to close the gap between the two is to focus on theorizing rather than on theory. The place where theorizing can be used in the most effective way, I suggest, is in the context of discovery. What needs to be discussed are especially ways for how to develop theory before hypotheses are formulated and tested. To be successful in this, we need to assign an independent place to theorizing and also to develop some basic rules for how to theorize. An attempt is made to formulate such rules; it is also argued that theorizing can only be successful if it is done in close unison with observation in what is called a prestudy. Theorizing has turned into a skill when it is iterative, draws on intuitive ways of thinking, and goes beyond the basic rules for theorizing.