• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This book is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the roots, current debates and future development of social theory. It draws together a team of outstanding international scholars, and presents an authoritative and panoramic critical survey of the field. The volume is divided into three parts. The first part examines the classical tradition. Included here are critical discussions of Comte, Spencer, Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, Mead, Freud, Mannheim and classical feminist thought. This part conveys the classical tradition as a living resource in social theory, it demonstrates not only the critical significance of classical writings, but their continuing relevance. The second part moves on t

Karl Mannheim and the Sociology of Knowledge
Karl mannheim and the sociology of knowledge

Max Scheler coined the expression ‘sociology of knowledge’ [Wissenssoziologie] in 1924, and Karl Mannheim appropriated it almost immediately, in 1925, applying the term to his own proposed alternative to Scheler's approach (Mannheim, [1925] 1993; Scheler 1924). The critical differences between them carry forward to present-day disputes about the point of uncovering ‘the relations between knowledge and other existential factors in the society and culture’ (Merton, [1945] 1957).1 For Scheler, the sociology of knowledge bears on the ‘knowledge’ it studies only insofar as it explains the time and circumstances of its emergence, acceptance, or obscuration. Its sad lesson is the ‘impotence of the human spirit’. Mannheim's sociology of knowledge, in contrast, has a ...

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