Contemporary articles citing Woolgar S (1988) Sci Very Idea

knowledge, scientific, science, writings, concept, field, immanent, critique, sociological, relational

Brown, RH & EL Malone. 2004. "Reason, Politics, and the Politics of Truth: How Science Is Both Autonomous and Dependent." Sociological Theory. 22:1 106-122. Link
The concept of ``science'' usually includes commitments to reason, objectivity, and disinterest in the search for truth about the nature of the world. In this view, politics, in the sense of maneuvering to gain power, corrupts both the process and the product of science. However, we show that science is political through and through-in the process of constructing scientific knowledge, in maintaining disciplines, and in being responsive to partisan sponsorship. Nevertheless, the practitioners of both science and politics maintain the boundary between the two fields; in fact, the disciplines most dependent upon government support tend also to be the most autonomous. This situation becomes understandable when both fields are considered as discursive practices. Then, scientific debates can be seen as productive precisely because they derive from an objective agreement about science as an autonomous intellectual enterprise, and science itself can be seen as a politics of truth.

Breslau, D. 2000. "Sociology After Humanism: a Lesson From Contemporary Science Studies." Sociological Theory. 18:2 289-307. Link
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. Link
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.

Pels, D. 1996. "Karl Mannheim and the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge: Toward a New Agenda." Sociological Theory. 14:1 30-48. Link
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.''

Pels, D. 1997. "Mixing Metaphors: Politics or Economics of Knowledge?." Theory and Society. 26:5 685-717. Link