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The Sociology of Knowledge, Citizenship and the Purification of Politics


Donoghue, J and White, RD, The Sociology of Knowledge, Citizenship and the Purification of Politics, Sociology Mind, 3, (1) pp. 16-18. ISSN 2160-083X (2013) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2013 SciRes

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DOI: doi:10.4236/sm.2013.31003


We reinterpret citizenship using Mannheimís classical sociology of knowledge and through a more recent variant on them in Latourís argument that "we have never been modern" (Latour, 1991). On that basis, we understand citizenship as a recursive effect of disputes over belonging and membership (Isin, 2002), where those disputes entail the three forms of political rationality or "thought styles" which Mannheim and Latour variously suggested: the linearly individual rationality of liberalism; dialectically collective socialism; and culturally collective conservatism. Marshall defines citizenship as a "status bestowed on those who are full members of a community" (Marshall, 1973). He presents an image of evolutionary progress, from civil to political rights and finally to the social form, in Britain. We argue that Marshall was entangled in evolutionary and teleological images of citizenship. We reinterpret citizenship using Mannheimís classical sociology of knowledge. We suggest that sociologies of knowledge allow a re-reading of "citizenship" that can accommodate conceptual difficulties. Mannheim called into question the "progress" implied or stated in theories of "stages". He stressed instead the continuing interaction between different ways of knowing social reality, or between what he called "thought styles". We apply Mannheim to "citizenship" in order to lift two "purifications", so that humanity is both natural and political.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Sociology of Knowledge; Citizenship; Purification and Politics
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Social theory
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Civics and citizenship
UTAS Author:Donoghue, J (Dr Jed Donoghue)
UTAS Author:White, RD (Dr Robert White)
ID Code:84323
Year Published:2013
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2013-05-07
Last Modified:2017-08-25

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