Knowledge as Culture: The New Sociology of Knowledge by E. Doyle McCarthy

By E. Doyle McCarthy

Drawing upon Marxist, French structuralist, and American pragmatist traditions, this vigorous and available advent to the sociology of data offers to its vintage texts a clean examining, arguing that a number of our bodies of data function inside of tradition to create strong cultural tendencies, meanings, and different types. It seems on the cultural impression of the varieties and pictures of mass media, and examines the authority of technology, drugs, and legislations as our bodies of latest wisdom and perform. eventually, it considers the concept that of “engendered wisdom” via a attention of the complicated and infrequently afflicted dating among girls and science.

The sociology of information has occasionally been marginalized as a slim educational specialization. This lucid research reclaims it as an important instrument for all critical scholars of tradition in all its varieties.

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From our point in history we have glimpsed science’s darkest moments (we may at least hope they are past) in Nazi medicine and in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we have come to understand that for us science can indeed work in the service of human horror and in the name of ideology. Scientific techniques can also be inextricably linked to “colder” and more bureaucratized forms of violence TRUE AND FALSE KNOWLEDGES 31 and of war, and to the state ideologies that accompany them. Indeed, ideology needn’t be either fanatical or irrational; it can be practiced by the most cultivated and dispassionate professional, as much as by petty bureaucrats.

For example, critics of historical materialism from Sombart (1928) and Scheler ([1924] 1980, p. 56) to such contemporary writers as Sahlins (1976) have recognized that its application to premodern or to tribal societies is, at best, problematic, since the distinction of the material and the ideational is not a real distinction for those societies’ inhabitants. In other words, the theory of ideology is closely implicated in particular historical conditions of the industrial capitalist order, and its validity is dependent on particular conditions of social and economic organization, such as the separation and autonomy of economic forces within the social order as a whole.

Idealizations like these, Burke (1989, p. 304) also points out, Jeremy Bentham called “eulogistic coverings” or “fig leaves of the mind,” coverings that hide things from others and, most especially, from ourselves. As these descriptions indicate, at the center of the idea of ideology is the idea of the intermingling of power and deception in the thinking of a class, or what could be called the problem of the politics of representation: how group interests, and especially a group’s will to power, are inscribed in its thoughts, programs, and philosophies in a way that escapes consciousness.

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