ABSTRACT

The relationship between disciplinary knowledge and social knowledge is the central issue for the two opposed factions of social realism and social constructivism in the sociology of knowledge. The opposition rests on this question; how does knowledge that is produced in a social context become independent of its creators? For the constructivists in the sociology of knowl- edge, it doesn’t—the knower remains tied to the knowledge which is under- stood to be always subjective and context dependent. In contrast social realists argue, as do realist epistemologists, that knowledge can be independent of its producers and therefore objective. (However, the agreement between the social realists and realist epistemologists does not extend to an agreement about the source of reasoning, a point I discuss later in the chapter).