Disciplinary Practices As Social Manoeuvers: A Field Theory Alternative To Michael Burawoy’s Typology Of Knowledge
Keywords:Disciplinary practices, Public sociology, Knowledge production, Intellectuals, Experts
AbstractIn his call for more public sociology, Michael Burawoy presents a generic framework to describe disciplinary structures in the social sciences. This model is based on a fourfold typology of knowledge which has been criticized by many. However, alternatives have fallen short of providing a convincing articulation of the social organisation and meaning of the intellectual practices the original typology was trying to describe. The debate on public sociology did not bridge differences in analytical beliefs about knowledge production and thus could not be expected to build a consensual disciplinary orientation. The current paper builds on field theory, organizational sociology, and interview data to frame the practices identified by Burawoy as social manoeuvers (i.e. ways of utilizing and legitimating knowledge) within specific social fields. In so doing, the paper provides a framework that is more flexible, more empirically adequate, and congruent with the sociology of science and the sociology of intellectuals and experts.
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