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Karl Mannheim and the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge: Toward a New Agenda

Dick Pels
Sociological Theory
Vol. 14, No. 1 (Mar., 1996), pp. 30-48
DOI: 10.2307/202151
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/202151
Page Count: 19
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Karl Mannheim and the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge: Toward a New Agenda
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Abstract

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."

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