Sociology emerged in the 19th century as a new scientific endeavor, a discipline fundamentally concerned with questions of knowledge, such as: What happens in societies if religious cosmologies are replaced by scientific worldviews and ’enlightenment‘? What happens when social fields and arenas of practice become the subject of permanent research, change, improvement, reflexive thinking? When today’s truths and best practices are tomorrow’s errors? Since its founding, inquiries into knowledge, sense-making and the ‘meaning of things‘ have been core components of sociological research. Mankind is a species both able and condemned to define the ‘situations‘ and ‘worlds‘ in which he lives. Societies are not structured by their economic configurations, but by systems of meaning or symbolic orders, by complex relationships of knowledge and politics of knowledge. Discourses are one of the main structuring processes organizing flows of knowledge through societies. This presentation discusses the importance of discourses and discursive structurings for the understanding of today’s economies of knowledge. Drawing on examples from different empirical studies (e.g. on waste politics, acid rain or climate change) and the toolbox of the sociology of knowledge approach to discourse (SKAD), it argues for the relevance of discourse research in the study of ongoing transformations.
When: Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 11 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.
Where: Center for Development Research (ZEF), Walter Flex Straße 3, 5311 Bonn, right conference room (ground floor).
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