Discourse and Knowledge: The Making of Enlightenment by Piet Strydom

By Piet Strydom

Through heavily interpreting the contributions of such theorists as extra, Hobbes, Vico, Montesquieu, Ferguson and Millar to the emergence of sociology in its unique shape, Piet Strydom follows the discursive development of sociology within the context of the society-wide early glossy sensible discourse approximately violence and rights. Parallels with the 19th- and twentieth-century discourse on poverty and justice and the modern discourse of probability and accountability permit the writer to mirror not just at the iteration of data via discourse but in addition at the function that sociology itself performs during this method.

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Additional info for Discourse and Knowledge: The Making of Enlightenment Sociology (Liverpool University Press - Studies in European Regional Cultures)

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39 LUP/Stryd/2 39 16/10/00, 1:53 pm Theory of Discourse and Discourse Analysis Insisting on the indissoluble relation between discourse and power, Foucault (1979, 27–28; 1981, 92–98) now regarded knowledge of all sorts that get articulated in discourses as being thoroughly caught up and enmeshed in the everyday conflicts, the larger struggles and the institutional strategies constituting the social world. 14 In Western society of the past three centuries, accordingly, he discovers various discourses that construct programmes for the constitution or construction of social reality – discourses about science, medicine, the prison, sexuality, and so forth, all of which help to shape and form modern society.

The social scientific endeavour, which is impossible without such events, actions and knowledge, is not to give a purely empirical or ontological realist account of these events and actions as such, which is in principle an unattainable and indeed impossible aim, but rather to construct in its own particular terms knowledge about the knowledge of the reality so constituted. Neither the full description of the events, actions and knowledge 21 LUP/Stryd/1 21 16/10/00, 1:51 pm Discourse and Knowledge constituting reality, nor their full reconstruction, nor their full explanation is possible within the scientific (in this case the social scientific) context.

Introduction sociology can be understood, on the one hand, as referring to the societal problem that becomes collectively defined and, on the other, as being related to the collective solution devised to overcome it. In the latter case, the sociological interest extends beyond the collective actors and the political action they take to resolve the problem to both the cultural and institutional implications of the solution, whether already historically realised or still sought. On the whole, then, sociology as a specific semantic field is suspended, against an increasingly articulable and changeable semantic background, between two major poles: on the one hand, the general socio-political semantics that develops around the principal problem of a given period and, on the other, the more formal and specialised moral-theoretical semantics that crystallises to lend coherence and consistency to and to govern the unfolding of the crisis discourse, thus encapsulating the reference point for identity formation and collective action as well as the institutional solution to the problem.

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