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SOCIOLOGY OF KNOWLEDGE

Intellect, Wisdom, Memory, Knowledge, Epistemology, Books On Sociology Of Knowledge

Knowledge is a store of information available to draw on. The fact or condition of having information acquired by study or research, or of being instructed. A person's range of information or learning.

Sociology of knowledge is the study of the social bases of what is known, believed or valued both by individuals and society.

The essential idea is that knowledge itself, how it is defined and constituted, is a cultural product shaped by social context and history.

Scholars have convincingly demonstrated over the past decade that natural scientific knowledge is a product of social, cultural, historical and political processes.

In this view knowledge cannot be treated as a thing in itself, as an objective, universally true body of facts and theory, but must be understood in the social context in which it originated.

The principal ideas of postmodernism are closely linked to this long tradition in philosophy and the social sciences.

"increased awareness of diversity has altered the way we view the world." Richard Harvey Brown, University of Maryland.

From Hegel to the Sociology of Knowledge: Contested Narratives - Austin Harrington 
Examines Randall Collins's magnum opus, The Sociology of Philosphies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change in relation to a number of discourses bearing on the sociology of knowledge and the sociology of philosophies, from Hegel and 19th-century historicism to Mannheim, Foucault, Bourdieu and Gillian Rose's Hegel Contra Sociology. The article interprets Collins's work as a classic application of Durkheimian sociological principles to the analysis of knowledge.

Knowledge and Utility: Implications for the Sociology of Knowledge - Michael Mulkay 
It is suggested that in identifying scientific knowledge as epistemologically special, and as exempt from sociological analysis, sociologists have tended to make two basic assumptions; namely that scientific theories can be clearly validated by successful practical application and that the general theoretical formulations of science do regularly generate such practical applications. These assumptions, as customarily interpreted, pose a major challenge for any sociological analysis which views scientific knowledge as the contingent outcome of interpretative and context-dependent social acts.  

Social Work and the Sociology of Knowledge - JOHN PALEY - Department of Social Policy, School of Policy Studies, Cranfield Institute of Technology, Cranfield, Bedford MK43 0AL.
The research literature on social workers' use of theory suggests that social work, conceived as a form of knowledge in action, is amenable to a sociology of knowledge approach.

Idealism and the Sociology of Knowledge - David Bloor 
Science Studies Unit, Department of Sociology, University of Edinburgh
The sociology of scientific knowledge is an empirical discipline. Critics have sometimes claimed that it is committed to a form of `idealism', that is, to discounting or playing down the input of the material world. Sociologists often sum up their conclusions by saying that `knowledge is a social institution', or that `concepts are institutions'. If we think of social institutions according to the self-referential or performative model outlined by Barry Barnes, this may at first seem to reinforce and justify the charge of idealism. While an `idealist' account of institutions is correct, the conclusion alleged by the critics does not follow. A secondary purpose is to compare Barnes' account of institutions with recent work by John Searle, and to show the significance of their different underlying assumptions about the nature of meaning.

Sociology of Knowledge: New Perspectives - Part One - Norbert Elias
Amsterdam and at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague 
The core problems of sociological and philosophical theories of knowledge remain insoluble and unrelated as long as both theories start from static models. The problems can be solved, and the respective theories related to each other, without undue difficulties if the acquisition of knowledge is conceptualized as a long-term process which takes place within societies also considered as long-term processes. Paper indicates what needs to be unlearned and what to be learned in order to prepare the way for such a unified theoretical framework which can serve as a guide to, and which can be in turn corrected by, empirical sociological studies of all types of knowledge, scientific and practical as well as non-scientific or ideological.

Sociology of Knowledge: New Perspectives - Part Two - Norbert Elias 
The Hague and Leicester 
The paper shows that it is possible to work out a science-theoretical paradigm which avoids the pitfalls of both philosophical absolutism and sociological relativism. It suggests that instead of discussing criteria of a fictitious absolute end-state of knowledge, one might try to discover criteria and conditions for the advance of knowledge, non-scientific and scientific. A theory of this kind has the added advantage that it can be tested by, and can serve as a guide for, empirical studies of sciences and of knowledge generally. Also suggests that discussions about `value-freedom' should be abandoned in favour of enquiries into the use of scientific and non-scientific values in scientific work.

The Sociology of Knowledge as a Tool for Research Into the History of Economic Thought 
By Jon D. Wisman
Hill and Rouse's formulation of Mannheim's framework for the sociology of knowledge as a means of examining the history of economic thought is rejected although it is held that they render an important service to economics by arguing the need for employment of the sociology of knowledge as a research tool. Even Mannheim's authentic formulation of the sociology of knowledge suffered limitations which more recent work enables us to overcome. What is believed to be a superior sociology of knowledge framework for investigating the evolution of economic thought is constructed by joining the Berger-Luckmann model of legitimation with Habermas's philosophical anthropology. The crucial issue is how we can better understand the sociological nature of economic thought, its social functioning, to enable us to formulate our own economic theory so as to maximize human welfare.

Comparing Nations in Mass Communication Research, 1970-97 
A Critical Assessment of How We Know What We Know 
Tsan-Kuo Chang, Pat Pat Berg, Anthony Ying-Him Fung, Kent D. Kedl, Catherine A. Luther, Janet Szuba 
International Communication Gazette, Vol. 63, No. 5, 415-434 (2001) 2001 SAGE Publications
The purpose of this article is to assess critically, within the framework of the sociology of knowledge, how we come to know what we know in comparative international communication research. The point of departure is the collective output of comparative international communication enterprise - the published articles in six major communication journals through which theories, methods and findings have been diffused and the cumulated knowledge made possible during the past three decades.

Intellect, Wisdom, Memory, Knowledge

Intellect: The faculty of knowing and reasoning; power of thought; understanding; analytic intelligence.

Wisdom: The quality of being wise regarding conduct and the choice of means and ends. The combination of experience and knowledge with the ability to apply them judiciously. Practical sense.

Memory: The faculty by which things are remembered; the capacity for retaining, perpetuating, or reviving the thought of things past; an individual's faculty to remember things.

Knowledge: The fact or condition of having information acquired by study or research, or of being instructed. A person's range of information or learning. Knowledge is a store of information (as in a database) available to draw on.

Cleverness: mental skill or agility.

Cunning: selfish cleverness or selfish insight.

Reason: The mental faculty which is characteristic of humankind used in adapting thought or action to some end; the guiding principle of the human mind in the process of thinking.

Rationality: The fact of being based on reason; a rational or reasonable view or practice.