On the division of social knowledge and its breakdown

Most social scientists reading this title will think, aha that’s modelled on Émile Durkheim’s De La Division du Travail Social (The Division of Labour in Society) (1893). They ‘know’ that book; at least its title. It’s part of their knowledge repertoire. What’s underneath the title may not go very deep or may be forgotten, as in …

What’s behind the battle of received wisdoms?

This is a guest essay by Ben Pile, a writer for Spiked Online and his own blog Climate Resistance. There is a response by Dana Nuccitelli from the Guardian’s Climate Consensus blog here. Andrew Neil’s interview with Ed Davey on the Sunday Politics show last week caused an eruption of comment. For sceptics, it was a refreshing …

Bring on the Yawns: Time to Expose Science’s “Dirty Little Secret”

Guest post by visiting fellow, Jeff Tamblyn, film maker and director of Kansas vs. Darwin. As a visiting fellow in the “Making Science Public” project, I’ve had a great first week at the University of Nottingham, filled by conversations with social science scholars and capped off with the events of May Fest – a day in …

The language of knowledge: A new tower of Babel?

For some time I have been intrigued by the word ‘knowledge’. The more I hear it being used, the less I understand its meaning. The confusion increases with every ‘compound’ use that I come across (in linguistics a ‘compound’ refers to a combination of two or more words). Most recently I came across the compound …

Knowledge, language and society

Twenty years ago, at the beginning of my academic career, I became interested in pragmatics, the linguistic study of the use of language in society. Twenty years on I have become involved in the study of science in society (or Science and Technology Studies, STS for short), where the topics of knowledge and society have …