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Thinkerl Karl Mannheim
Karl Mannheim's major contribution was in sociology of knowledge which was defined as a theory of existential or social conditioning of thought. He considered that ideological knowledge is often placed within the given social structure and historical process hence such knowledge is situationally relative. The social structure to which ideas are bound are seen mainly in terms of class factors or status groups.
In his book 'Ideology and Utopia' he considers that ideological knowledge or thought is propounded by those benefitting from status quo whereas utopia is rooted in the thoughts of under privileged. Mannheim also stressed on the generational element in his thought,just like social class,one's generation also determines thought. Due to the ideological characteristics of thought he was accused of adopting a position of total relativism, However his central ideas and contribution to sociology was substatntive and not epistemological
Important Books e Ideeology and Utopia e Essays on Sociology of Knowledge o Man and society in an age of reconstruction
Sociology of Knowledge o a direction of theoretical and empirical research that investigates the social nature of knowledge; the socioh istoricalconditionality of knowledge, knowledge acqui sition, and consciousness; and the social aspects of the production,dissemination, and use of various types of knowledge by society as a whole and by specific classes social groups, andorganizations.
e classics of Marxism Leninism have treated the main issues in the sociology of knowle dge: the theory of the socialessence and conditionality of conscio usness, the historical nature of knowledge acquisition, and the methodology forstudying these topics. Marxism Leninism has established the existence of multidimensional vari eties of consciousness,characterized by the presence of various f orms and levels and the degree to which they adequately reflect r eality; it has alsodiscovered the general laws of development and the class roots of ideology, The Marxist- Leninist interpretation of the socialnature of knowledge and kno wledge acquisition contrasts with both a naturalistic interpretati on and vulgar sociologism
Bourgeois sociology of knowledge emerged in the 1920's as a relat ively independent research field through the efforts of M.Scheler and K. Mannheim in Germany and P. Sorokin, F. Znaniecki, T. P arsons, R. Merton, A. Child, C. W. Mills, W. Stark, P.Berger, and T. Luckmann in the USA. Bourgeois sociology of knowledge, whi ch exhibits a great variety of theoretical andmethodological appr oaches, has borrowed from Marxism the concept of the social co nditionality of consciousness. TheMarxist notion is interpreted, however, e ther in a distinctly idealist manner or in the spirit of a narrowly defined determinism(technological, organizational, lin guistic). Bourgeois sociologists ignore the role of sociohistorical Dractice in the formation ofconsciousness and usually exclude kn owledge in the natural sciences from the sphere of social determi nation. Bourgeoissociology of knowledge is to a great extent dire cted against Marxism-Leninism
o In its investigation of the history of thought, types of world view and cultures, and ideas and their originators and exp onents,bourgeois sociology of knowledge views social facto rs mainly as distorting the process of cognition; these facto rs includesocial status, class position, ideology, and values This is related to the tendency, which predominated until t he late 196o's, tosee science and ideology as opposed to eac h other and to "purify" knowledge from value judgments; t his was reflected in theconcepts of "deideologization" andt he "end of ideology" An opposite tendency that has gained considerable influence sincethe late 1960's, particularly in t he USA, stresses the relativism of scientific knowledge and the ideological nature of
science.The empirical investigation of states of consciousness (p ublic sentiments and opinions) among various classes and social occupational, and other groups emphasizes the functional natur e of the interrelations between the individual's consciousnessand his immediate surroundings, Bourgeois sociologists of knowledg e are of various political and ideological orientations andrange fr om open apologists to proponents of bourgeois- democratic ideas. Bourgeois sociology of knowledge as a whole is characterized by a chronic crisis in its philosophic and methodol ogical principles, which is reflected in the constantreplacement of these principles and in sharp internal controversies. On the ot her hand, the empirical findings of bourgeoissociology merit att ention, as do its techniques and procedures for collecting materi al
Marxist sociology of knowledge studies the methodological problems of the sociological approach to consciousness an d thecognitive process, the sociohistorical nature of the acq uisition of knowledge, and the way class and society condit:i on theobjective reflection of reality and its distorted, illuso ry forms "false consciousness." It also critically examines the various concepts of bourgeois sociology of knowledge. In addition, it studies the mechanisms of cognitive activity and theappe arance and functioning of various types of knowledge, sent iments, opinions, and convictions among social groups and collectives. 03
annheim points out social class, location and generation as the greatest determinants of knowledge.4l He feared this could lead to proposed the idea of maintained that the recognition of different perspectives according to differences in time and social location appears arbitrary only to an abstract and disembodied theory of knowledge. relativisnm but elationis as an antidote. To uphold the distinction, he .The list of reviewers of the German Ideology and Utopia includes a remarkable roll call of individuals who became famous in exile, after the rise of Hitler: Hannah Arendt, Max Horkhei G nther Stern (aka r, Herbert Marcuse, Paul Tillich, Hans G nther Anders), Waldemar Gurian, Siegfried eurath ugust Wittfogel , B la Fogarasi, and In the early 1970s, Erich Fromm and Michae ac would later illustrate scientifically the effects of social class and economic structure on personality in their landmark study Social Character in a Mexican Village
e Max Weber and his interpretative social science are strongly present in Geertz's work. Geertz himself argues for a "semiotic" concept of culture: "Believing, with Max Weber, that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun," he states, "I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretative one in search of meaning. It is explication I am after, construing social expression on their surface enigmatical
Geertz argues that to interpret a culture's web of symbols, scholars must first isolate its elements, specifying the internal relationships among those elements and characterize the whole system in some general way according to the core symbols around which it is organized, the underlying structures of which it is a surface expression, or the ideological principles upon which it is based. It was his view that culture is public, because "meaning is," and systems of meanings are what produce culture, because thev are the collective property of a particular people. We cannot discover the culture's import or understand its systems of meaning, when, as Wittgenstein noted, "we cannot find our feet with them."Geertz wants society to appreciate that social actions are larger than themselves; they speak to larger issues, and vice versa, because "they are made to
During Geertz's long career he worked through a variety of theoretical phases and schools of thought. In his essay "Ethos, Worldview and the Analysis of Sacred Symbols," published in his 1973 book The Interpretation of Cultures, Geertz wrote that "The drive to make sense out of experience, to give it form and order, is evidently as real and pressing as the more familiar biological needs...", a statement that reflects an early leaning toward