Sociology of knowledge  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The sociology of knowledge is the study of the relationship between human thought and the social context within which it arises, and of the effects prevailing ideas have on societies. (Compare history of ideas.)

The term first came into widespread use in the 1920s, when a number of German-speaking sociologists wrote extensively on it, notably Max Scheler, and Karl Mannheim with Ideology and Utopia. With the dominance of functionalism through the middle years of the 20th century, the sociology of knowledge tended to remain on the periphery of mainstream sociological thought. It was largely reinvented and applied much more closely to everyday life in the 1960s, particularly by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann in The Social Construction of Reality (1966) and is still central for methods dealing with qualitative understanding of human society (compare socially constructed reality).

Although very influential within modern sociology, the sociology of knowledge can claim its most significant impact on science more generally through its contribution to debate and understanding of the nature of science itself, most notably through the work of Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (see also: paradigm).

See also

Sociologists of knowledge




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Sociology of knowledge" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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