|The last generation has witnessed the emergence of a special field of sociological inquiry: the sociology of knowledge (Wissenssoziologie). The term "knowledge" must be interpreted very broadly indeed, since studies in this area have dealt with virtually the entire gamut of cultural products (ideas, ideologies, juristic and ethical beliefs, philosophy, science, technology). But whatever the conception of knowledge, the orientation of this discipline remains largely the same: it is primarily concerned with the relations between knowledge and other existential factors in the society or culture....|
PARADIGM FOR THE SOCIOLOGY OF KNOWLEDGE
1. Where is the existential basis of mental productions located?
2. What mental productions are being sociologically anaylzed?
3. How are mental productions related to the existential basis?
4. Why? manifest and latent functions imputed to these existentially conditioned mental productions.
5. When do the imputed relations of the existential base and knowledge obtain?
|Source: Robert K. Merton, "The Sociology of Knowledge," in Social Theory and Social Structure (Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1957), 456, 460-1.|