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Narrative Foundations of Knowing: Towards a New Perspective in the Sociology of Knowledge

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  • Anna Borisenkova

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Abstract

The article deals with the problem that for a long time has been unnoticed in sociology. Knowledge is one of the primary research objects in social science. However, the existing theories, aimed at the exploration of knowledge, provide certain limitations. Sociological models are intended to explain the social aspects. But they fail to answer a fundamental question: 'What is knowledge?' The article introduces a broad analytical scheme for the sociology of knowledge that is narrative in its foundations. This approach focuses on such inner characteristics of knowledge as meaning, coherence, causality, and discourse. Two aspects of narrative construction of sociological knowledge are considered. The first is making a narrative history of science. The second is the embededness of narrative in the process of sociological explanation. The article then discusses the problem of applicability of narrative to the scientific description of large-scale matters such as macro-history and social change. It provides both criticisms and arguments in favour of narrative research of major issues. It concludes that narrative as an analytical scheme has a universal dimension and that it has to be further developed in the framework of a sociological investigation.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Borisenkova, 2009. "Narrative Foundations of Knowing: Towards a New Perspective in the Sociology of Knowledge," Sociological Research Online, Sociological Research Online, vol. 14(5), pages 1-17.
  • Handle: RePEc:sro:srosro:2009-40-2
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    File URL: http://www.socresonline.org.uk/14/5/17/17.pdf
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