Sociology of Science and the Turn to Social Constructivism
Social Sciences
Volume 3, Issue 2, April 2014, Pages: 59-66
Received: Feb. 17, 2014; Accepted: Apr. 28, 2014; Published: May 10, 2014
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Authors
Ivan Mihailov Chompalov, Department of Sociology, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, 295 Meadville Street, 342 Centennial Hall, Edinboro, PA 16444
Lubomir Savov Popov, School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Bowling Green State University, 309 Johnston Hall, Bowling Green, OH 43403-0059
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Abstract
Knowledge about and reflection on the epistemological developments in sociology of science is an important step towards a critical analysis of the discipline, its present, and its future. The assessment of theoretical and empirical trends within the discipline has a number of beneficial consequences. Thus, spurring a discussion about the relative merits of new trends might contribute to the clarification of the epistemological positions, the methodologies used, and the communicativeness of the arguments that are made. We believe that it is important to periodically initiate discussions on the paradigmatic developments in a particular field of study. Such discussions will increase methodological awareness and reflection and will further the methodological expertise of the scholarly community. Recently, a salient turn from positivist to constructivist approaches has come to dominate the field of sociology of science. We have contextualized the development of social constructivism in sociology of science through a brief historicist foray. This approach allows us to inform the reader about the advent of social constructivism in this domain and to present in a nutshell its claims of contributions, as well as to mention the criticisms levied against it. We have extended our contextualization even further by relating these new developments to the history of humanistic paradigms and the study of cultural phenomena like the world of ideas, knowledge, and science. Our intent has been to provide a platform for reflecting over these developments and to create a system of reference points for orientation in the realm of sociology of science thought. We hope that this article will contribute to the emergent discussion on constructivism in general, on constructivism in sociology of science, as well as on the positioning of constructivist agendas across disciplines. We believe that the present discussion will increase the methodological awareness of practicing scholars and will make them reflect on their own methodological affiliations, preferences, and biases. It is our deep conviction that in such a way we can contribute to the advancement of an epistemologically sophisticated scholarly community that navigates with ease the murky waters of methodological decision-making.
Keywords
Social Constructivism, Sociology of Science, Epistemology, Social Science Methodology
To cite this article
Ivan Mihailov Chompalov, Lubomir Savov Popov, Sociology of Science and the Turn to Social Constructivism, Social Sciences. Vol. 3, No. 2, 2014, pp. 59-66. doi: 10.11648/j.ss.20140302.14
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