Sociology of Knowledge

Edited by Markus Seidel (University of Münster)
Assistant editor: Charlott Becker (University of Münster)
About this topic
Summary Sociology of Knowledge aims at an understanding of the social aspects of knowledge. It comprises research about all kinds of knowledge like e.g. scientific knowledge, common knowledge and practical knowledge.
Key works Mannheim 1946 can rightly be called one of the classics of sociology of knowledge, Berger & Luckmann 1966 argues for a new approach in the sociology of knowledge that takes into account 'what everybody knows'.  Schutz 1973 is the vantage point for a phenomenological tradition in the sociology of knowledge.  Foucault ms introduces the influential Archeology of Knowledge.
Introductions Hamilton 1974 is a general introduction to the field, Meja & Stehr 1999 provides a collection of key essays from the beginning of sociology of knowledge
Related categories

196 found
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  1. Anthropology and the Missions: A Critical Epistemological Perspective.J. Abbink - 1985 - Methodology and Science 18 (4):253-270.
    This paper is a attempt to clarify the relationship between anthropology and missionary work as to their basic knowledge claims and 'value orientations' from a rationalist perspective.
  2. Interpreting Mannheim.N. Abercrombie & B. Longhurst - 1983 - Theory, Culture and Society 2 (1):5-15.
  3. The Sociology of Knowledge and its Consciousness.Theodor W. Adorno - 2005 - In Nico Stehr & Reiner Grundmann (eds.), Knowledge: Critical Concepts. Routledge. pp. 5--52.
  4. Race and the Race for the White House: On Social Research in the Age of Trump.Musa Al-Gharbi - 2018 - American Sociologist 32.
    As it became clear that Donald Trump had a real base of political support, even as analysts consistently underestimated his electoral prospects, they grew increasingly fascinated with the question of who was supporting him (and why). However, researchers have also tended to hold strong negative opinions about Trump, and have approached research with uncharitable priors about the kind of person who would support him and what they would be motivated by. This essay presents a series of case studies showing how (...)
  5. A Lack of Ideological Diversity is Killing Social Research.Musa al-Gharbi - 2017 - Times Higher Education 2298:27-28.
    The lack of ideological diversity in social research, paired with the lack of engagement with citizens and policymakers who come from other places on the ideological spectrum, poses an existential risk to the continued credibility, utility and even viability of social research. The need for reform is urgent.
  6. From Political Liberalism to Para-Liberalism: Epistemological Pluralism, Cognitive Liberalism & Authentic Choice.Musa al-Gharbi - 2016 - Comparative Philosophy (2):1-25.
    Advocates of political liberalism hold it as a superior alternative to perfectionism on the grounds that it avoids superfluous and/or controversial claims in favor of a maximally-inclusive approach undergirded by a "free-standing" justification for the ideology. These assertions prove difficult to defend: political interpretations of liberalism tend to be implicitly ethnocentric; they often rely upon a number of controversial, and even empirically falsified, assumptions about rationality--and in many ways prove more parochial than their perfectionist cousins. It is possible to reform (...)
  7. Building on Nietzsche's Prelude: Reforming Epistemology for the Philosophy of the Future.Musa al-Gharbi - 2013 - Dissertation, University of Arizona
    Drawing from the "anti-philosophies" of Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, and deploying a methodology which synthesizes critical theory with evolutionary psychology and contemporary cognitive science, our analysis demonstrates: 1. Justifications, in any context, are oriented towards social manipulation and bear no relation to any "cognitive processes." 2. The role of logic is overstated, both with regards to our justifications, and also our cognition. 3. Truth and falsity are socio-linguistic functions which have no bearing on any "objective reality." Insofar as these claims are (...)
  8. Technological Seduction and Self-Radicalization.Mark Alfano, Joseph Adam Carter & Marc Cheong - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
    Many scholars agree that the Internet plays a pivotal role in self-radicalization, which can lead to behaviours ranging from lone-wolf terrorism to participation in white nationalist rallies to mundane bigotry and voting for extremist candidates. However, the mechanisms by which the Internet facilitates self-radicalization are disputed; some fault the individuals who end up self-radicalized, while others lay the blame on the technology itself. In this paper, we explore the role played by technological design decisions in online self-radicalization in its myriad (...)
  9. Comments on Tim Kenyon's "Oral History and the Epistemology of Testimony".Ben Almassi - 2015 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective.
  10. Expertise In Agriculture.Ben Almassi - 2014 - Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics.
  11. The Reflexive Thesis: Wrighting Sociology of Scientific Knowledge.Malcolm Ashmore - 1989 - University of Chicago Press.
    This unusually innovative book treats reflexivity, not as a philosophical conundrum, but as a practical issue that arises in the course of scholarly research and argument. In order to demonstrate the concrete and consequential nature of reflexivity, Malcolm Ashmore concentrates on an area in which reflexive "problems" are acute: the sociology of scientific knowledge. At the forefront of recent radical changes in our understanding of science, this increasingly influential mode of analysis specializes in rigorous deconstructions of the research practices and (...)
  12. The Sociology of Knowledge and Buddhist-Christian Forms of Faith, Practice and Knowledge.Morris J. Augustine - 1981 - Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 8 (34):237.
  13. Thinking Twice About Virtue and Vice.Guy Axtell - manuscript
    [FREE PUBLISHED VERSION AT LINK BELOW]. This chapter provides an empirical defense of credit theories of knowing against Alfano’s the-ses of inferential cognitive situationism and of epistemic situationism. It also develops a Nar-row-Broad Spectrum of agency-ascriptions in reply to Olin and Doris’ ‘trade-off problem.’ In order to support the claim that credit theories can treat many cases of success through heuristic cognitive strategies as credit-conferring, the paper develops the compatibility between VE and dual-process theories (DPT) in cognitive psychology. A genuine (...)
  14. Sociology of Scientific Knowledge.Zaheer Baber - 1992 - Theory and Society 21 (1):105-119.
  15. The Place of Sociology of Knowledge in Alfred Schutz's Phenomenology.Michael David Barber - 1985 - Dissertation, Yale University
    Alfred Schutz's phenomenology provides a philosophical context in which the sociology of knowledge can find its locus and limits. Schutz's The Phenomenology of the Social World describes those structures which are essential to consciousness, intersubjective understanding, and the social world. Unlike Husserl, whose transcendental method brackets the social world, Schutz turns to a phenomenology of that world in non-transcendental terms. Hence, his account of social reality is based on a phenomenology of what Husserl called the "natural attitude." ;There are four (...)
  16. Relativism as a Completion of the Scientific Project.Barry Barnes - 2011 - In Richard Schantz & Markus Seidel (eds.), The Problem of Relativism in the Sociology of (Scientific) Knowledge. ontos. pp. 23-40.
  17. "Durkheim's Philosophy of Science and the Sociology of Knowledge: Creating an Intellectual Niche," by Warren Schmaus. [REVIEW]Barry Barnes - 1996 - Isis 87 (4):743-744.
  18. How Not to Do the Sociology of Knowledge.Barry Barnes - 1994 - In Allan Megill (ed.), Rethinking Objectivity. Duke University Press. pp. 31.
  19. Sociological Theories of Scientific Knowledge.Barry Barnes - 1990 - In R. C. Olby, G. N. Cantor, J. R. R. Christie & M. J. S. Hodge (eds.), Companion to the History of Modern Science. Routledge. pp. 60-73.
  20. "On Anthropological Knowledge" by Dan Sperber.Stanley R. Barrett - 1989 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 19 (1):103.
  21. Yes, No, Maybe So: A Veritistic Approach to Echo Chambers Using a Trichotomous Belief Model.Bert Baumgaertner - 2014 - Synthese 191 (11):2549-2569.
    I approach the study of echo chambers from the perspective of veritistic social epistemology. A trichotomous belief model is developed featuring a mechanism by which agents will have a tendency to form agreement in the community. The model is implemented as an agent-based model in NetLogo and then used to investigate a social practice called Impartiality, which is a plausible means for resisting or dismantling echo chambers. The implementation exposes additional factors that need close consideration in an evaluation of Impartiality. (...)
  22. Implicit Bias and the Idealized Rational Self.Nora Berenstain - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5:445-485.
    The underrepresentation of women, people of color, and especially women of color—and the corresponding overrepresentation of white men—is more pronounced in philosophy than in many of the sciences. I suggest that part of the explanation for this lies in the role played by the idealized rational self, a concept that is relatively influential in philosophy but rarely employed in the sciences. The idealized rational self models the mind as consistent, unified, rationally transcendent, and introspectively transparent. I hypothesize that acceptance of (...)
  23. Epistemic Exploitation.Nora Berenstain - 2016 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 3:569-590.
    Epistemic exploitation occurs when privileged persons compel marginalized persons to educate them about the nature of their oppression. I argue that epistemic exploitation is marked by unrecognized, uncompensated, emotionally taxing, coerced epistemic labor. The coercive and exploitative aspects of the phenomenon are exemplified by the unpaid nature of the educational labor and its associated opportunity costs, the double bind that marginalized persons must navigate when faced with the demand to educate, and the need for additional labor created by the default (...)
  24. Vilfredo Pareto and the Sociology of Knowledge.Brigitte Berger - forthcoming - Social Research.
  25. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge.Peter Berger & Thomas Luckmann - 1966 - Anchor Books.
    This book reformulates the sociological subdiscipline known as the sociology of knowledge. Knowledge is presented as more than ideology, including as well false consciousness, propaganda, science and art.
  26. ON THE EXISTENCE OF BRUNO LATOUR'S MODES.Terence Blake - manuscript
    In this article I take a critical look at the origins and sources of Bruno Latour's pluralism as it is expressed in his book AN INQUIRY INTO MODES OF EXISTENCE, and compare it to other similar projects (Wittgenstein, Feyerabend, Badiou). I consider the accusations of reductionism and of relativism, and demonstrate that Latour's «empirical metaphysics» is not an ontological reductionism but a pluralist ontology recognising the existence of a plurality of entities and of types of entities. Nor is it an (...)
  27. Argument as Combat.Jonny Blamey - manuscript
    Abstract Argument is seen as central to philosophy, especially epistemology. It is often said that philosophy teaches you to argue for any position. Arguments are used to justify beliefs and many people suppose that for a belief to be counted for knowledge it must be justified. In science, scientific theories must be backed by the evidence and it has been proposed that the relationship of evidence to theory is that of argument to conclusion. But is argument really so important? Arguments (...)
  28. Classification and the Sociology of Knowledge.David Bloor - 2005 - In Nico Stehr & Reiner Grundmann (eds.), Knowledge: Critical Concepts. Routledge. pp. 5--139.
  29. The Trap of Intellectual Success: Robert N. Bellah, the American Civil Religion Debate, and the Sociology of Knowledge.Matteo Bortolini - 2012 - Theory and Society 41 (2):187-210.
    Current sociology of knowledge tends to take for granted Robert K. Merton’s theory of cumulative advantage: successful ideas bring recognition to their authors, successful authors have their ideas recognized more easily than unknown ones. This article argues that this theory should be revised via the introduction of the differential between the status of an idea and that of its creator: when an idea is more important than its creator, the latter becomes identified with the former, and this will hinder recognition (...)
  30. Karl Mannheim and Political Ideology.Peter Breiner - 2013 - In Michael Freeden, Lyman Tower Sargent & Marc Stears (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies. Oxford University Press. pp. 38.
    This chapter argues that the famous ‘Mannheim paradox’ regarding the ideological understanding of ideology in Ideology and Utopia merely serves as a preparation for a far more complex and persistent paradox that poses a recurrent problem for any political science seeking to understand the relation of political ideologies to political reality: namely, when we try to understand contending political ideologies at any one historical moment and test them for their ‘congruence’ with historical and sociological ‘reality’, our construction of this context (...)
  31. Crossing Cultures of Knowledge.Denisa Butnaru - 2012 - Schutzian Research 4:79-90.
    The aim of the present article is to draw attention on a historical development in the French sociological tradition. Being a heritage of the Germanintellectual context, the tradition of the comprehensive sociology was not among the main trends in France. Furthermore, the phenomenological orientationin social theory mostly associated with the work of Alfred Schütz was also a side interest until the 1980s. From this decade on, a new paradigm becomesgradually institutionalized, a paradigm which gathers different intellectual and theoretical positions and (...)
  32. Nos vérités sont-elles pertinentes? L’œuvre de Fernand Dumont en perspective.Serge Cantin & Marjolaine Deschênes (eds.) - 2009 - Presses de l'Université Laval.
  33. Scientific Community Through Grid-Group Analysis.A. Cerroni & Z. Simonella - 2014 - Social Science Information 53 (1):119-138.
    Mary Douglas introduced the grid-group map as a tool of anthropological analysis. Several studies have been applying this approach to study social phenomena, but very few concerning the scientific community. This article aims to bridge the current gap, building sociological ideal-types in the scientific community based on grid-group analysis. First, we illustrate the main features of Douglas’s grid-group analysis, up to and including the latest studies developed in the social sciences. Then, we apply Douglas’s approach to a sample of scientists, (...)
  34. Ethos and Symbolic Violence Among Women of Science: An Empirical Study.A. Cerroni & Z. Simonella - 2012 - Social Science Information 51 (2):165-182.
    While scientific challenges raise relevant debates about the ethics of science, the scientific ethos, shattered by post-Mertonian studies, has received neither due attention nor further conceptualizations in view of the transition to knowledge society. On the contrary, in our investigation of Italian women scientists, it appears to have survived as a reference for scientists, even if the context has changed. Indeed, the ethos of scientists is no longer conceivable as exclusive, but is instead seen as open and dynamic in interaction (...)
  35. Steps Towards a Theory of the Knowledge-Society.Andrea Cerroni - 2018 - Social Science Information 57 (2):322-343.
    During the last decades, knowledge has attracted the greatest attention in a growing number of disciplines, generating a deluge of literature. However, it has yet to become the object of a fully established sociology of knowledge able to fulfil the challenges of present society, often called the knowledge-society. We posit knowledge as a basis on which to model social life, proposing a three-dimensional approach to social reality (i.e., individuals, social aggregates, knowledge). Looking at knowledge as at ‘a cooperative good’ and (...)
  36. Fact/Value Holism, Feminist Philosophy, and Nazi Cancer Research.Sharyn Clough - 2015 - Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 1 (1):1-12.
    Fact/value holism has become commonplace in philosophy of science, especially in feminist literature. However, that facts are bearers of empirical content, while values are not, remains a firmly-held distinction. I support a more thorough-going holism: both facts and values can function as empirical claims, related in a seamless, semantic web. I address a counterexample from Kourany where facts and values seem importantly discontinuous, namely, the simultaneous support by the Nazis of scientifically sound cancer research and morally unsound political policies. I (...)
  37. Uncovering Rationality - a Perspective in African Thought.P. H. Coetzee - 2000 - South African Journal of Ethnology 23 (1/2):63-82.
    The reigning, disjunctive view of cultural relations holds that one either belongs to culture A or B. The alternative conjunctive view argues that the world contains many cultures and people inhabit the world within and between some, many or all of these actual cultures. The conjunctural point of view posits a historically derived shared core of transcultural meanings and denies that the elements of a people's tradition are all autochthonous in their genesis. A coherent conjunctural reading of culture depends on (...)
  38. Getting Things Less Wrong: Religion and the Role of Communities in Successfully Transmitting Beliefs.Caleb Cohoe - 2016 - Res Philosophica 93 (3):621-636.
    I use the case of religious belief to argue that communal institutions are crucial to successfully transmitting knowledge to a broad public. The transmission of maximally counterintuitive religious concepts can only be explained by reference to the communities that sustain and pass them on. The shared life and vision of such communities allows believers to trust their fellow adherents. Repeated religious practices provide reinforced exposure while the comprehensive and structured nature of religious worldviews helps to limit distortion. I argue that (...)
  39. Primitive Classification Revisited.Lewis A. Coser - 1988 - Sociological Theory 6 (1):85-90.
  40. The Sociology of Knowledge: A Reader.James E. Curtis - 1970 - London: Duckworth.
  41. Islam, Science, and Cognitive-Propositionalism.Amir Dastmalchian - 2014 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective.
  42. (Meta-Philosophy) All-Inclusive Theory.Ulrich De Balbian - 2018 - Frankfurt: Create Space.
    I explore the frame of reference of the multiverse and the universe as point of reference for the meta-philosophical reflection on philosophy and the doing of philosophy. -/- Some of the many topics being dealt with in this frame of reference and from this perspective of the bigger picture are - -/- Determinism, -/- The absence of Free Will, -/- Consequences of this for Law, -/- God and determinism, -/- Embodied Consciousness and Conscious Embodiment, -/- Radical Scepticism, -/- Nihilism, -/- (...)
  43. KNOWLEDGE, TRUTH, INSIGHT, WISDOM.Ulrich De Balbian - 2017 - Oxford: Academic Publications.
    An exploration of the umbrella notion‭ '‬knowledge‭' ‬and related notions,‭ ‬truth,‭ ‬wisdom,‭ ‬knowing,‭ ‬insights,‭ ‬understanding,‭ ‬perception,‭ ‬etc.‭ ‬The‭ ‬philosophical approach,‭ ‬such as that of Gettier,‭ ‬to this notion.
  44. Fact‐Totems and the Statistical Imagination: The Public Life of a Statistic in Argentina 2001.Martin de Santos - 2009 - Sociological Theory 27 (4):466-489.
    Statistics are key elements of contemporary life. They figure prominently in the media, in political discourse, and in daily conversations. They also weigh heavily within the economic and political spheres of modern societies. Yet, the study of statistics in the public sphere has been neglected by social scientists in favor of a focus on their production and history. This article remedies this lacuna by focusing on the public life of statistics. Through a case study of a financial indicator—country risk—that exhibited (...)
  45. The Uses of Ambiguity in Sociological Theorizing: Three Ethnographic Approaches.Andrew Deener - 2017 - Sociological Theory 35 (4):359-379.
    Claims of causality and generalizability are the primary means through which sociologists triumph over ambiguity. Yet ambiguity also has significant uses in the process of theorizing. This article identifies and examines three ethnographic approaches: (1) Ambiguity in shared situations highlights how subjects create and resolve disruptions in face-to-face interactions, (2) ambiguity as a transitional social form addresses certain stages and spaces as persistently ambiguous types of situations and phenomena, and (3) ambiguity as separating means from ends identifies mechanisms that conceal (...)
  46. The Problem of Fake News.M. R. X. Dentith - 2016 - Public Reason 8 (1-2):65-79.
    Looking at the recent spate of claims about “fake news” which appear to be a new feature of political discourse, I argue that fake news presents an interesting problem in epistemology. Te phenomena of fake news trades upon tolerating a certain indiference towards truth, which is sometimes expressed insincerely by political actors. Tis indiference and insincerity, I argue, has been allowed to fourish due to the way in which we have set the terms of the “public” epistemology that maintains what (...)
  47. Taking Conspiracy Theories Seriously.Matthew R. X. Dentith (ed.) - forthcoming - Rowman & Littlefield International.
    The contributors to this volume argue that whilst there is a commonplace superstition conspiracy theories are examples of bad beliefs (and that the kind of people who believe conspiracy theories are typically irrational), many conspiracy theories are rational to believe: the members of the Dewey Commission were right to say that the Moscow Trials of the 1930s were a sham; Woodward and Bernstein were correct to think that Nixon was complicit in the conspiracy to deny any wrongdoing in the Watergate (...)
  48. In Defence of Particularism: A Reply to Stokes.Matthew R. X. Dentith - 2016 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5 (11):27-33.
    A reply to Patrick Stokes' “Between Generalism and Particularism About Conspiracy Theory".
  49. Clearing Up Some Conceptual Confusions About Conspiracy Theory Theorising.Matthew R. X. Dentith & Martin Orr - 2017 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 6 (1):9-16.
    A reply to Gérald Bronner, Véronique Campion-Vincent, Sylvain Delouvée, Sebastian Dieguez, Nicolas Gauvrit, Anthony Lantian, and Pascal Wagner-Egger's piece, '“They” Respond: Comments on Basham et al.’s “Social Science’s Conspiracy-Theory Panic: Now They Want to Cure Everyone”.
  50. Social Epistemology as Public Philosophy.Susan Dieleman, María G. Navarro & Elisabeth Simbürger - 2016 - In James H. Collier (ed.), The Future of Social Epistemology. A Collective Vision. Rowman & Littlefield International. pp. 55-64.
    The Future of Social Epistemology: A Collective Vision sets an agenda for exploring the future of what we – human beings reimagining our selves and our society – want, need and ought to know. The book examines, concretely, practically and speculatively, key ideas such as the public conduct of philosophy, models for extending and distributing knowledge, the interplay among individuals and groups, risk taking and the welfare state, and envisioning people and societies remade through the breakneck pace of scientific and (...)
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