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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1998

Shahid M. Shahidullah

Delves into history to find out if sociological knowledge can be applied successfully to policy making. Explains that society is based on the use of multiple knowledge

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Abstract

Delves into history to find out if sociological knowledge can be applied successfully to policy making. Explains that society is based on the use of multiple knowledge structures and belief systems. Cites examples of centres which were set up in the USA to improve understanding and knowledge in a specific area, which could then contribute towards policy making and, ultimately, improved practice. Discusses the application of knowledge at various points in history, indicating that ruling elites are not motivated by knowledge (intellect) but by sentiment, and that this is still the case today. Refers to various literary works on sociological practice. Advocates that modern social research should be driven by policy issues and that sociologists should seize the opportunity, presented by decentralization, to become policy makers in their own communities.

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International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 22 July 2014

David J. Hess and Scott Frickel

This Introduction gives a historical and theoretical overview of this volume on Fields of Knowledge: Science, Politics and Publics in the Neoliberal Age, which showcases…

Abstract

This Introduction gives a historical and theoretical overview of this volume on Fields of Knowledge: Science, Politics and Publics in the Neoliberal Age, which showcases original research in political sociology of science targeting the changes in scientific and technological policy and practice associated with the rise of neoliberal thought and policies since the 1970s. We argue that an existing family of field theoretic frameworks and empirical field analyses provides a particularly useful set of ideas and approaches for the meso-level understanding of these historical changes in ways that complement as well as challenge other theory traditions in sociology of science, broadly defined. The collected papers exhibit a dual focus on sciences’ interfield relations, connecting science and science policy to political, economic, educational, and other fields and on the institutional logics of scientific fields that pattern expert discourses, practices, and knowledge and shape relations of the scientific field to the rest of the world. By reconceptualizing the central problem for political sociology of science as a problem of field- and inter-field dynamics, and by critically engaging other theory traditions whose assumptions are in some ways undermined by the contemporary history of neoliberalism, we believe these papers collectively chart an important theoretical agenda for future research in the sociology of science.

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Fields of Knowledge: Science, Politics and Publics in the Neoliberal Age
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-668-2

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Book part
Publication date: 11 April 2019

Tammar B. Zilber, John M. Amis and Johanna Mair

In this introduction, the authors outline some critical reflections on the sociology of knowledge within management and organization theory. Based on a review of various…

Abstract

In this introduction, the authors outline some critical reflections on the sociology of knowledge within management and organization theory. Based on a review of various works that form a sociology of organizational knowledge, the authors identify three approaches that have become particularly prominent ways by which scholars explore how knowledge about organizations and management is produced: First, reflective and opinion essays that organization studies scholars offer on the basis of what can be learned from personal experience; second, descriptive craft-guides that are based on more-or-less comprehensive surveys on doing research; third, papers based on systematic research that are built upon rigorous collection and analysis of data about the production of knowledge. Whereas in the studies of organizing the authors prioritize the third approach, that is knowledge produced based on systematic empirical research, in examining our own work the authors tend to privilege the other two types, reflective articles and surveys. In what follows the authors highlight this gap, offer some explanations thereof, and call for a better appreciation of all three ways to offer rich understandings of organizations, work and management as well as a fruitful sociology of knowledge in our field.

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The Production of Managerial Knowledge and Organizational Theory: New Approaches to Writing, Producing and Consuming Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-183-4

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Individualism, Holism and the Central Dilemma of Sociological Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-038-7

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Book part
Publication date: 8 December 2021

Anthony J. Knowles

Drawing from the work of sociologist Niklas Luhmann, this paper analyzes and critiques the ways sociology presents itself as a vehicle for sociological “enlightenment.” It…

Abstract

Drawing from the work of sociologist Niklas Luhmann, this paper analyzes and critiques the ways sociology presents itself as a vehicle for sociological “enlightenment.” It begins with a brief historical account of how sociology has come to describe itself as a science in the name of promoting social justice rooted back to the European Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. Next, the relevant elements of Luhmann's theory of society are explained ground the analysis. Luhmann's critiques of sociology and science are then presented to explain how a Luhmannian understanding of social systems exposes what is missing in sociology's current self-description of itself and its “enlightenment” mission. Building upon Luhmann's observations, a preliminary observational analysis of the communication techniques and technologies of sociology, such as classes, conferences, and publications, is assessed to evaluate the tools sociology uses to engage in communication and “irritate” other social systems. The central question here is, are these tools effective in communicating sociological knowledge in a way that aligns with the aspirational humanistic goals sociology seeks to achieve? The argument then concludes with some remarks about how sociology might potentially overcome its communicative efficacy problem if it takes seriously the insights from a Luhmannian approach to communication and considers alternative forms of communication to reach new audiences. In this way, sociology could perhaps overcome the gap between the facts of its communicational efficacy and its enlightenment norms.

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Book part
Publication date: 12 February 2013

Julian Go

What is “postcolonial sociology”? While the study of postcoloniality has taken on the form of “postcolonial theory” in the humanities, sociology's approach to postcolonial…

Abstract

What is “postcolonial sociology”? While the study of postcoloniality has taken on the form of “postcolonial theory” in the humanities, sociology's approach to postcolonial issues has been comparably muted. This essay considers postcolonial theory in the humanities and its potential utility for reorienting sociological theory and research. After sketching the historical background and context of postcolonial studies, three broad areas of contribution to sociology are highlighted: reconsiderations of agency, the injunction to overcome analytic bifurcations, and a recognition of sociology's imperial standpoint.

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Postcolonial Sociology
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-603-3

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Article
Publication date: 14 August 2017

Sergey B. Kulikov

The purpose of this paper is to represent an epistemological analysis of Russian sociological scholarship.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to represent an epistemological analysis of Russian sociological scholarship.

Design/methodology/approach

The analytical approach that allows reducing the particular representations within the sum of propositions is the methodological base of the paper. Clearing of propositional attitudes explains the basic communications in a thought of researchers. The circle of grounds available to achievement of intuitively noticed purposes defines the preferences of researchers in general.

Findings

The author proves that the theoretical developments in the Russian sociology are possible as a derivative from the development of questions, which are raised nowadays in worldwide science, but possible in a view of original development of questions, which were raised in worldwide science in the past.

Research limitations/implications

The Russian sociology represents a part of the European humanities, which is based on the various forms of theoretical combat or agonality.

Practical implications

The author shows the ways out of the theoretical combat or agonality.

Social implications

The research clarifies the perspectives for increasing of the knowledge-based society in Russia. The author analyzes the concept of Russia as a paradigmatic society, particularly in the context of transition economies.

Originality/value

In general, the author concludes that the pro-argument with respect to theoretical developments is weaker than the contra-argument with respect to theoretical developments. This paper has revealed the model within which extreme positions can be reconciled.

Details

foresight, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1984

Harry H. Bash

The relationship between research pursued in sociology as an academic discipline and sociological research undertaken as a contribution toward social policy formation is a…

Abstract

The relationship between research pursued in sociology as an academic discipline and sociological research undertaken as a contribution toward social policy formation is a somewhat uneasy one in the USA. The author undertakes to examine the evolving relationship between the disciplinary and professional thrusts of the American sociological enterprise.

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International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 12 February 2013

Jeffrey Guhin and Jonathan Wyrtzen

As a fountainhead of postcolonial scholarship, Edward Said has profoundly impacted multiple disciplines. This chapter makes a case for why sociologists should (re)read…

Abstract

As a fountainhead of postcolonial scholarship, Edward Said has profoundly impacted multiple disciplines. This chapter makes a case for why sociologists should (re)read Edward Said, paying specific attention to his warning about the inevitably violent interactions between knowledge and power in historic and current imperial contexts. Drawing on Said and other postcolonial theorists, we propose a threefold typology of potential violence associated with the production of knowledge: (1) the violence of essentialization, (2) epistemic violence, and (3) the violence of apprehension. While postcolonial theory and sociological and anthropological writing on reflexivity have highlighted the former two dangers, we urge social scientists to also remain wary of the last. We examine the formation of structures of authoritative knowledge during the French Empire in North Africa, the British Empire in India, and the American interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan during the “Global War on Terror,” paying close attention to how synchronic instances of apprehension (more or less accurate perception or recognition of the “other”) and essentialization interact in the production of diachronic essentialist and epistemic violence. We conclude by calling for a post-orientalist form of reflexivity, namely that sociologists, whether they engage as public intellectuals or not, remain sensitive to the fact that the production and consumption of sociological knowledge within a still palpable imperial framework makes all three violences possible, or even likely.

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Postcolonial Sociology
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-603-3

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Article
Publication date: 19 October 2015

Neil Pollock and Robin Williams

The purpose of this paper is to explore conceptual issues arising in an empirical study of the emergence of a distinctive new form of expertise – of industry analysts and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore conceptual issues arising in an empirical study of the emergence of a distinctive new form of expertise – of industry analysts and in particular the leading firm Gartner Group that exercises enormous influence over the Information Technology (IT) market.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper critically reviews existing analytical frameworks and especially work from the Sociology of Professions. This has largely focused upon groups which have already succeeded in gaining wide acceptance of the effectiveness of their methods and knowledge. For emerging expert groups a key challenge is to create an audience for whom they are expert (Turner, 2001). The study contributes to a “third wave” of studies that shift the focus of enquiry from the operation of professional institutions to the conduct of expert work – and how knowledge is produced, validated and consumed. The paper draws upon an extended ethnographic study of Gartner Inc., and other industry analysts to characterise some key features of their expertise. Data sources include over 100 hours of participant observation of industry analysts and their interactions with vendors and technology adopters at IT industry conferences; interviews with over 20 industry analysts from Gartner (including a telephone interview with its founder Gideon Gartner) and other analyst organisations; a substantial body of interviews with technology vendors and clients (particularly in relation to the Customer Relationship Management technology sector); together with a review of Gartner documentation and reports.

Findings

The paper compares the empirical findings of industry analysts with accounts from current literature on management consultants and other groups such as journalists and financial analysts. Industry analysts, like consultants, have not sought to follow a classical professional model. Thus the brand reputation of big (industry analyst or consultancy) firms provides an alternative warrant of the quality of expertise to professional institutions. However, Gartner analysts identify differences as well as similarities between their work and management consultants. Gartner’s ability to rank the offerings of IT vendors requires them to adopt formal methodologies and internal review procedures to produce defensible knowledge and demonstrate their independence. Industry analysts need to establish cognitive authority over rapidly changing technological fields. This imparts some “public good” elements to their knowledge.

Originality/value

The paper suggests ways forward for analysing new forms of knowledge intermediary in business and accounting, applying perspectives from the “third wave” of studies, and involving detailed study of the “epistemic systems” through which such knowledge is produced, consumed and validated (Knorr Cetina, 2010).

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 28 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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