‚Knowing‘ Society. the Making of Sociological Knowledge

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Reiner KELLER, University of Augsburg, Germany
Angelika POFERL, Technical University of Dortmund, Germany
Referring back to the work of Karin Knorr Cetina and Ludwik Fleck, we conceive of epistemic cultures in Sociology as ways of producing and distributing sociological knowledge. The core ‘action problems’ of such an endeavor can be resumed as follows:

  • What concrete dispositions and practices allow for the sociologist’s claim to know something about society, which other people do not know and cannot know? What is the particular sociological way of knowing?
  • Why should third parties (peers, the public, individuals, grant givers) accept what the sociologist knows and presents as ‘sociological knowledge’

Using data and results from a comparative research on qualitative analysis in French and German sociology from the late 1950ies to 2013, we would like to present examples and discuss two different solutions to such challenges: individual inspiration and procedural legitimation. These two different ways of establishing evidence are routinized and stabilized solutions to the core action problems of epistemic cultures. They find their concrete Gestalt via strategies of field work, hermeneutic procedures of textual analysis and other devices of ‘doing knowing’. They shape methodologies and methods beyond surface similarities. They account for the observation that sociologies and sociological knowing and knowledge differ largely between different communities of sociological discourse.