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A Changing Terrain of Knowledge and Power: A Social Epistemology of Educational Research

A Changing Terrain of Knowledge and Power: A Social Epistemology of Educational Research In the past decade, important struggles about the production of knowledge have taken place in history, the social sciences, and education. These struggles involve more than the “knowledge interests” that Habermas pointed to in the 1970s; instead, they point to important epistemological ruptures in the doctrines of “reason” that have dominated social and political debates since the late 19th century. This questioning reaches into the presuppositions of progress and power underlying intellectual work.This article explores some of the main features of the controversies about knowledge by turning first to certain assumptions that guided social theory at least since the 19th century. The assumptions relate, for example, to the focus on human action (and agents) as purpose or explanation of theory, to the conceptualization of space and time, to the introduction of change as a problem of the administration of time (the control of process and development), and to the inscription of political and social doctrines of progress into science. My interest here, however, is not only in the disciplinary struggles, but also in the changing social conditions that make these debates possible. I look at the systems of reasoning in educational studies as social practices—what I have previously called “a social epistemology.” When we examine current discussions against 19th century assumptions about social theory, we are able to understand that the stakes of educational research are social and political as well as epistemological. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Educational Researcher SAGE

A Changing Terrain of Knowledge and Power: A Social Epistemology of Educational Research

Educational Researcher , Volume 26 (9): 12 – Dec 1, 1997

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References (121)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © by SAGE Publications
ISSN
0013-189X
eISSN
1935-102X
DOI
10.3102/0013189X026009018
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In the past decade, important struggles about the production of knowledge have taken place in history, the social sciences, and education. These struggles involve more than the “knowledge interests” that Habermas pointed to in the 1970s; instead, they point to important epistemological ruptures in the doctrines of “reason” that have dominated social and political debates since the late 19th century. This questioning reaches into the presuppositions of progress and power underlying intellectual work.This article explores some of the main features of the controversies about knowledge by turning first to certain assumptions that guided social theory at least since the 19th century. The assumptions relate, for example, to the focus on human action (and agents) as purpose or explanation of theory, to the conceptualization of space and time, to the introduction of change as a problem of the administration of time (the control of process and development), and to the inscription of political and social doctrines of progress into science. My interest here, however, is not only in the disciplinary struggles, but also in the changing social conditions that make these debates possible. I look at the systems of reasoning in educational studies as social practices—what I have previously called “a social epistemology.” When we examine current discussions against 19th century assumptions about social theory, we are able to understand that the stakes of educational research are social and political as well as epistemological.

Journal

Educational ResearcherSAGE

Published: Dec 1, 1997

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