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Arne Næss och Ingemar Hedenius som dramatiska intellektuella: Ett förslag till en gemensam plattform för kunskapssociologi och kunskapshistoria

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Henrik Lundberg
Publicerad i Slagmark. Tidsskrift for idéhistorie
Nummer/häfte 81 - Forår 2020
Sidor 115-131
ISSN 0108-8084
Publiceringsår 2020
Publicerad vid Institutionen för sociologi och arbetsvetenskap
Sidor 115-131
Språk sv
Länkar https://tidsskrift.dk/slagmark
Ämnesord Sociology of knowledge History of Knowledge Arne Næss Ingemar Hedenius
Ämneskategorier Sociologi (exklusive socialt arbete, socialpsykologi och socialantropologi), Idé- o lärdomshistoria

Sammanfattning

In terms of their substantive research interests and their epistemological approach, the sociology of knowledge and the history of knowledge show significant enough similarities to allow shared theory development. In this article, I argue that the recent work by Jeffrey C. Alexander on ‘dramatic intellectuals’ can offer a useful point of departure for such an undertaking. Alexander’s interest in the way intellectuals provide meaning-making narratives for their audiences can be seen as not unlike the interest of historians of knowledge in examining how knowledge circulates in society. Indeed, one can go as far as to claim Alexander’s postulates about dramatic intellectuals to constitute a theory of knowledge circulation. To demonstrate the point and the relevance of his work to the sociology and history of knowledge more in general, two brief case studies are presented: that of the Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss and that of the Swedish philosopher Ingemar Hedenius. Many of their activities in the early post-war period, it is shown, can be viewed as attempts at meaning-construction through narratives formulated to help the broader public orient itself in the world in difficult times. The argument is made that the sociology of knowledge and the history of knowledge need, accordingly, to pay more attention to the central category of meaning in the study of intellectuals and their audiences. This can be profitably done by departing from the observation of Alexander’s that what enables knowledge to circulate in society is its dramatic conveyance through well-formulated meaning-making narratives that help social actors make sense of their circumstances.

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